Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina redshirt junior punter Ian Berryman was today selected to the 20th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star team. He is the sixth Catamount all-time to earn the selection and WCU's first since 2013 giving the Catamounts a combined seven honors all-time.
Berryman was one of 49 players nationally including just three in the Southern to grace the organizations honorary team which was selected out of 115 total nominees. He was joined on the squad by fellow SoCon players in senior Myles Pierce from The Citadel and senior Jared Jacon-Duffy from Wofford.
"One of the most important responsibilities that the FCS ADA has is the selection of the Annual Academic All Star Team," stated FCS ADA President Thorr Bjorn, director of athletics at University of Rhode Island. "The 49 young men selected this year are truly impressive. They have been leaders on their individual campuses and have excelled in the classroom, their communities as well as on the football field. They represent the best and the brightest within FCS football and now we have the honor of naming them to the 2017 Academic All Star Team."
Football players from all Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) institutions are eligible for the award. Each of the nominees were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player with legitimate athletics credentials. He must have reached his second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution. He must also have participated in 50 percent of the games played at his designated position.
Berryman adds the FCS ADA Academic All-Star team selection to his litany of postseason accolades following the 2017 season. A first team All-Southern Conference selection from both the league's head coaches and voting media, Berryman was a second team All-America selection from the Associated Press, adding second team All-America plaudits from both Phil Steele and College Sports Madness. He was also a third-team All-America selection from HERO Sports.
A product of Marietta, Ga., Berryman ranked second in the Southern Conference in punting average in 2017, boasting a 44.45 yard per punt average coming on 58 total punts. His performance was the third-best, single-season average in WCU program history. For a second-straight season, Berryman finished among the national leaders in punt average, placing among the national top five for the second time in as many seasons, finishing fifth in the NCAA FCS.
Last season, Berryman boomed 17 kicks of over 50 yards including a season-long of 62 yards twice -- in the home win against ETSU and amidst adverse weather conditions at home against Furman. He also managed to down a career-best 26 punts inside an opponents' 20-yard line with just six touchbacks.
Berryman enters his final season in Cullowhee ranked eighth in WCU program history with 168 career punts including 50 of 50-or-more yards over the last three seasons. He has averaged 44.33 yards per punt, the top average in program history.
Berryman boasts a cumulative grade point average of 3.528 while majoring in communication with a concentration in broadcasting, adding a minor in sport management.
A special Review Committee of Football Championship Subdivision athletics directors was responsible for selecting the all-star team and scholarship finalists. Completing this task were Bjorn (chair); Bruce McCutcheon, Lafayette; Bill Smith, Bryant; and Nathan Pine, Holy Cross.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference led all leagues with 9 student-athletes named to the All-Star Team, and the Ivy League followed with eight award winners from their member institutions.
Western Carolina's FCS ADA All-Star Team Selections:
2017 - Ian Berryman, punter
2013 - Richard Sigmon, placekicker
2012 - Conner Orr, tight end & Rock Williams, linebacker
2003 - Jason Whaley, offensive line; Finalist for Division I ADA Postgraduate Scholarship
2002 - Jason Whaley, offensive line
2000 - Caesar Campana, wide receiver