Catamounts Open Second Year Under Head Coach Mark Speir

Youth, new faces and potential are the key words for Western Carolina football entering 2013, the second year under head coach Mark Speir. With a roster chocked full of talented young players countered by a hungry group of upperclassmen, the 2013 Catamounts face a very challenging schedule amidst a year of landscape change both in the Southern Conference, but also at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level.

Western Carolina returns 61.4-percent of its all-purpose yards (2,905 of 4,735) from a season ago while also returning a combined 13 starters with six on offense and seven on the defensive side of the ball. Combined, though, WCU brings back 22 players that made an appearance in the starting lineup including 17 that made three-or-more starts.

Offensively, WCU returns a host of talented players and a bulk of its offensive line that begins its second season almost fully intact. The Catamounts also return their top rusher from 2012 in Darius Ramsey who rushed for 503 yards in his rookie campaign. WCU's wide receiving corps is deep, but young in terms of on-field playing experience with the top returning wide out - Karnorris Benson - ranked fourth on the team a season ago (19 catches for 349 yards).

Coming out of its annual spring practice redshirt junior transfer Eddie Sullivan and sophomore signal caller Troy Mitchell were neck-and-neck to earn the starting nod at quarterback. Sullivan made six starts including five-straight in the backfield a year ago while Mitchell started five times including the final three regular season games, seeing action in all 11 games on the year.

Defensively, the Catamounts return six of their Top 10 tacklers from a season ago including linebacker Courtland Carson, who ranked second on the squad, with 97 total hits and safety Sertonuse Harris, who was named to the all-freshman team, with 93 tackles. Adding depth in the secondary is redshirt junior Ace Clark and sophomore Jaleel Lorquet who combined for 132 stops and four interceptions in 2012.

WCU's defensive front will be anchored by a four seniors led by defensive end Brian Johnson (36 tackles in 2012).

Senior punter Clark Sechrest, was listed on the 2013 College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) preseason Punter Award Watch List, and junior placekicker Richard Sigmon highlight WCU's specialists who will key the third facet of the game for Speir and company.

Western Carolina's 2013 season opens prior to the Labor Day holiday and runs through mid-November with the opening round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs slated for Nov. 24. The 12-game schedule features four nonconference games in addition to the eight-game Southern Conference slate. A combined four opponents played in post-season a year ago including three in the FCS playoffs.

Mark Speir

opponents

    Key Returning Players

     9 Eddie Sullivan
    RS Junior
    Quarterback
    6-1 • 200
    Boca Raton, Florida
    Boca Raton High School
    10 Troy Mitchell
    Sophomore
    Quarterback
    6-0 • 200
    Houston, Texas
    Cypress Falls High School
    14 Karnorris Benson
    Junior
    Wide Receiver
    6-1 • 200
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Therrell High School
    20 Darius Ramsey
    Sophomore
    Running Back
    5-8 • 180
    Waco, North Carolina
    Burris High School
    52 Quevalas Murray
    RS Senior
    Offensive Line
    6-2 • 290
    Shelby, North Carolina
    Shelby High School
     2 Jaleel Lorquet
    Sophomore
    Defensive Back
    5-10 • 165
    Jesup, Georgia
    Wayne County High School
     4 Sertonuse Harris
    Sophomore
    Defensive Back
    6-0 • 190
    Mableton, Georgia
    Pebblebrook High School
    28 Ace Clark
    RS Junior
    Defensive Back
    6-3 • 200
    Germantown, Maryland
    Clarksburg High School
    Preseason All-SoCon
    41 Courtland Carson
    Senior
    Linebacker
    6-0 • 210
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Independence High School
    91 Brian Johnson
    RS Senior
    Defensive Line
    6-3 • 240
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Myers Park High School
    36 Richard Sigmon
    Junior
    Kicker
    5-10 • 185
    Mount Holly, North Carolina
    East Gaston High School
    38 Clark Sechrest
    Senior
    Punter
    6-0 • 210
    Cornelius, North Carolina
    North Mecklenburg High School

    2012 Statistical Leaders

    passing
    name comp-att pct yds td / int effic
    Eddie Sullivan 95-176 54.0 979 4 / 6 101.4
    Troy Mitchell 85-142 59.9 862 4 / 4 114.5
    rushing
    Name att yds avg td long
    Darius Ramsey 111 503 4.5 2 35
    Troy Mitchell 112 433 3.9 8 40
    Eddie Sullivan 54 274 5.1 2 28
    receiving
    Name rec yds avg td long
    Jacoby Mitchell 40 400 10.0 3 39
    Spearman Robinson 39 376 9.6 1 47
    Karnorris Benson 19 349 18.4 1 62
    defense
    Name UA-A Tot Sck/TFL INT/PBU FF/FR
    Rock Williams 52-56 108 0.5 / 3.5 0 / 1 4 / 1
    Courtland Carson 42-55 97 1.0 / 6.0 0 / 1 0 / 0
    Sertonuse Harris 48-45 93 2.0 / 3.5 0 / 1 4 / 1
    Ace Clark 42-46 88 0.0 / 2.0 2 / 4 0 / 0
    kicking
    Name FG-FGA Pct Long PAT-PATA Pts
    Richard Sigmon 6-12 50.0 40 23-25 43
    punting
    Name No Yds Avg Long I20
    Clark Sechrest 64 2,684 41.9 58 18
    kick returns
    name No Yds Avg Long TD
    Shaun Warren 19 411 21.6 43 0
    A.J. McKoy 11 215 19.5 31 0
    punt returns
    name No Yds Avg Long TD
    Deja Alexander 9 56 6.2 21 0