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Western Carolina's Karnorris Benson on 2014 CFPA Watch List

Karnorris Benson caught his single-season, school record-tying 12th touchdown pass against archrival Appalachian State in the 2013 season finale. (Photo by Mark Haskett)

June 23, 2014

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina's Karnorris Benson has been named to the College Football Performance (CFPA) Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Wide Receiver Award Watch List for 2014. According to the CFPA's data index, Benson returns for the 2014 season as the Southern Conference's top performing wide receiver.

Benson is one of two receivers from the Southern Conference recognized on its initial watch list, joined by Samford's Karel Hamilton (38 catches, 657 yds, 7 TDs). WCU will also see wide receiver watch list selection, Tobi Antigha, from Presbyterian in the nonconference meeting with the Blue Hose on Oct. 4.

Including returning winner, Cooper Kupp from Eastern Washington, the CFPA initial watch list includes 38 returning performers vying for the top wide receiver award in the FCS. All players are eligible for awards at their respective positions; players are not preemptively eliminated from consideration.

Benson started all 12 games at wide out last season, pacing the Catamounts with 51 catches for 834 yards, averaging 69.5 receiving yards per game to rank second in the SoCon while his 4.2 receptions per game ranked him fifth. He recorded four, 100-yard receiving games in his second full season for the WCU offense.

A first team All-SoCon selection, Benson matched WCU's 30-year old single-season record for touchdown catches in a year in 2013, tying Eric Rasheed's benchmark of 12 TD receptions established back in 1983. A product of Atlanta, Ga., he was the highest-scoring wide receiver in the SoCon last fall with 72 points - the most by a Catamount since running back Fred Boateng tallied 74 points back in 2001.

Benson garnered two weekly honorable mention plaudits by CFPA in 2013 coming after he tallied a career-best 212 yards receiving and three TDs against Mars Hill and again catching a pair of scoring strikes with 80 total yards in WCU's overtime win over Elon.



Entering the 2014 season, Benson has played in 21 games, recorded 70 career catches for 1,183 yards - an average of 16.9 yards per reception and 56.3 yards per game. Including his record-tying dozen TDs a season ago, he has 13 career touchdown receptions - just two shy of a six-way tie for seventh in WCU's career record books and 13 shy of Gerald Harp's school-record of 26 set between 1977-80.

The goal of College Football Performance Awards ( is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. Recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. Twenty-eight CFPA winners have been first-round NFL Draft selections.

CFPA is now in its seventh season of recognition, utilizing objective rankings of player and team performance from its data index since 2008. The full list of 2014 CFPA winners will be announced January 14, 2015.

Benson and the Catamounts open the 2014 season by visiting the South Florida (USF) Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 30 in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3. WCU fans can purchase tickets for the game in Tampa through the WCU Athletic Ticket office for just $26. Catamount Club members are eligible to travel with WCU Athletics for the game in Tampa with lodging at the Westin Tampa Harbour Island. Contact Julie Miller with the Catamount Club at (828) 227-3084 or for more information.

Season tickets for all six of WCU's home games in 2014 are on-sale through the Catamount Athletic Ticket Office and online at Returning season ticket holders have the first opportunity to renew their same seats for the 2014 season before the entire stadium will be released to the general public. The rapidly approaching season ticket renewal deadline is June 30.

Purchasing season tickets also allows fans to secure tickets before single-game sales begin on August 25.

With Western Carolina University celebrating its 125th anniversary, fans can purchase a reserved adult season ticket for all six home games for just $125 with youth reserved starting at $65.

For more information or to purchase 2014 Catamount football season tickets, contact Director of Ticket Operations Michael Lee by calling (828) 227-2401 or toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU, or via E-mail at

Important Upcoming Dates to Remember:
Mon., June 30 - Catamount Football Season Ticket renewal deadline
Mon., June 30 - Renew your membership or Join the Catamount Club
Mon., July 7 - 2nd session of summer school begins
Fri., July 11 - The Great Smokies Invitational golf tournament; The Ridges Golf Club in Hayesville, N.C.
Wed., July 23 - Southern Conference Football Media Day in Spartanburg, S.C.
Thurs., July 31 - 2014 Catamount football student-athletes report for camp
Fri., August 1 - First scheduled football practice of the 2014 preseason (helmet only)
Tues., August 5 - First scheduled football practice in full pads
Wed., August 6 - First scheduled two-a-day practice sessions
Sat., August 9 - Catamount Football Intrasquad scrimmage
Sat., August 9 - Catamount Tailgate Kickoff (Catamount Club members)
Wed., August 13 - Catamount women's soccer vs. Winthrop (exhibition), 6 pm
Fri., August 15 - Catamount women's soccer vs. UNC Asheville (exhibition), 7 pm
Sat., August 16 - Catamount Football Intrasquad scrimmage
Mon., August 18 - First day of fall classes at WCU
Fri., August 22 - Catamount women's soccer vs. Eastern Kentucky (2014 home opener), 7 pm
Sun., August 24 - Catamount women's soccer vs. East Carolina, 2 pm
Mon., August 25 - Catamount Football single-game tickets go on sale
Fri., August 29 - Catamount cross country hosts the Western Carolina Invitational, 6:30 pm
Sat., August 30 - 2014 Catamount Football season opener at USF in Tampa, Fla.
Fri., Sept. 5 - 10th Annual Bob Waters Memorial golf tournament; Maggie Valley Club, Maggie Valley, N.C.
Sat., Sept. 6 - 2014 Catamount Football home opener vs. Brevard in Cullowhee
Fri., Sept. 26 - The Upstate Classic golf tournament; The Preserve at Verdae in Greenville, S.C.