Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina seniors Ian Berryman and Marvin Tillman were among the 95 football players recognized on Tuesday by earning a selection to the 2018 HERO Sports FCS Football All-America Team. Tillman was a first-team honoree as a defensive back while Berryman, who collected similar honors a season ago, was dubbed a second-team specialist as a punter.
Tillman collected second-team FCS All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) following his 2017 season that saw the junior amass a career-high 96 tackles – ranked second on last year’s squad and as the top returning defensive player in 2018. He finished third in the Southern Conference with an average of 9.6 tackles per game and was second on the WCU defense with 53 solo stops. Tillman was a first-team All-Southern Conference selection as a defensive back, collecting the honor from both the league’s head coaches and the voting media.
A native of Durham, N.C., Tillman led the SoCon with five interceptions a season ago, tied atop the heap in the league – the most by a Catamount since 2014 that gives him six picks through his first three seasons. With 31 games played, Tillman enters his senior season in 2018 with 203 career tackles including 110 solo stops.
Berryman was a four-time All-America selection at the end of his redshirt junior season while also collecting FCS ADA Academic All-Star team plaudits. He earned second-team recognition from the Associated Press (AP), Phil Steel, and College Sports Madness while tallying a third-team nod from HERO Sports. Like Tillman, the Marietta, Ga., native was also a consensus first-team All-SoCon selection.
Berryman ranked second in the SoCon with a 44.45 yard per punt average last season coming on 58 total punts – the third-best, single-season average in WCU program history. For a second-consecutive season, he finished among the national leaders in punt average, placing among the national top five for the second time in as many tries by finishing fifth in the NCAA FCS. Berryman boomed 17 kicks over 50-yards including a season-long of 62 yards twice. He also managed to down a career-best 26 punts inside an opponents’ 20-yard line with just six touchbacks.
Entering his final season in Cullowhee, Berryman ranks 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.
Combined, eight Southern Conference players earned preseason All-America nods. Samford landed a SoCon-best three on the HERO Sports preseason All-America with senior QB Devlin Hodges (1st), senior WR Kelvin McKnight (2nd), and senior DL Ahmad Gooden (1st); The Citadel also put a pair on the team in senior OL Tyler Davis (2nd) and DB Aron Spann (3rd); and Wofford landing one selection in senior DL Miles Brown (2nd).
Season tickets for all five home dates in 2018 are on-sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center. Returning season ticket holders must renew their season tickets to secure the same seats by June 29, 2018. A reminder that the Catamount Club membership and renewal deadline for the fiscal year is fast approaching -- members are reminded to renew or to join by the same Friday, June 29 deadline to take advantage of the many perks surrounding home football weekends.
WCU has announced several game-day promotions including post-game fireworks, presented by Ingles and iHeartRadio partners 99.9 FM Kiss Country and Star 104.3, following the Sept. 1 home-opener. The Sept. 22 SoCon-opener against VMI is WCU’s Family Weekend while the Nov. 3 meeting with The Citadel is the University’s annual Homecoming game.
Fans can call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or locally at (828) 227-2401, or purchase tickets online at CatamountSports.com. General admission season tickets for adults begin at just $75 with additional Purple and Gold Reserved and options in the Western Builders Inc., Family Zone seating options also available. A limited number of chairback season tickets are still available priced at just $125 for adults and $65 for youth (ages 3-12).
Purchasing season tickets allow fans to lock-in their seats before single-game tickets for individual home games go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018.
Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports) and Twitter (@catamounts, @WCU_FB), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).
Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Athletics / Catamount Football:
Friday, June 29 -- Catamount Football season ticket renewal deadline; Catamount Club fiscal year renewal deadline
Friday, July 13 -- The WCU Great Smokies Invitational at The Ridges Golf Club
Friday, August 3 -- Catamount Football Student-Athletes Report for fall camp
Saturday, Aug. 4 -- First scheduled practice of 2018 preseason (helmet only)
Friday, Aug. 17 -- Western Carolina University Freshman Move-In Day
Monday, Aug. 20 -- First day of classes for the fall semester; single-game football tickets on-sale
Friday, August 31 -- 14th annual Bob Waters Memorial Golf Tournament at The Maggie Valley Club
Saturday, Sept. 1 -- 2018 Catamount Football season and home-opener vs. Newberry -- Fireworks Night
Friday, Oct. 12 -- "The Mutt" Catamount Football Golf Classic at the Laurel Ridge Country Club