See related link: Through the Lens: 2017 SoCon Football Media Day
Spartanburg, S.C. - Western Carolina landed five players including three first team selections on the 2017 preseason All-Southern Conference teams unveiled today as a part of the 2017 SoCon Football Media Day held at the Spartanburg Marriott.
Senior all-purpose back Detrez Newsome graced the list twice on the first team as both a running back and as the return specialist. He was joined on the first team by both redshirt senior wide receiver Terryon Robinson and specialist Ian Berryman. Two Catamounts in junior offensive lineman Nathan Dalton and senior defensive back Keion Crossen were dubbed second team preseason all-conference.
The coaches also selected all-conference first and second teams and were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes or teams in the voting process.
Also released on Tuesday, WCU was picked sixth in the preseason polling of the league's coaches and selected seventh by the voting members of the SoCon Sports Media Association (SCSMA).
Newsome, a three-time postseason All-America selection and last year's SoCon Preseason Player of the Year, is coming off of back-to-back, 1,000-yard rushing seasons after recording 1,031 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2016. He finished as the 2016 NCAA FCS Football individual season champion in all-purpose yards, amassing a SoCon-record 2,343 all-purpose yards including twice setting WCU's single-game record.
A native of Raeford, N.C., Newsome was a second team postseason All-SoCon selection a year ago, while also collecting WCU's top male student-athlete award at the year-end awards program.
Robinson, who is a two-time postseason All-SoCon selection, led WCU with a career-high 71 receptions in 2016 -- a mark which ranked the sure-handed wide out third in the conference and ranks fourth in the school's seasonal ledgers. The Decatur, Ga., product is coming off of a six touchdown season giving him nine in his career. Entering his final season, the fifth-year senior ranks fifth in program history with 168 career catches, just 29 shy of the school's all-time leader, Gerald Harp (197, 1977-80).
Berryman, a redshirt junior punter who has been dubbed preseason All-America by several publications, enters his third season on the heels of averaging a school-record 44.9 yards per punt a season ago -- a mark which ranked him second in the SoCon and fourth in the nation. A strong defensive weapon in the special teams, the Marietta, Ga., native boomed 19 punts of 50-or-more yards and downed 18 inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
Crossen has played in 34 career games in the WCU defensive secondary, and looks to lead a resurgent defensive unit under veteran first-year coordinator John Wiley. The Garysburg, N.C., native collected a career-best 61 tackles a season ago including 43 solo stops while also pulling down his third career interception and scoring on a scoped fumble in a home victory over VMI. Crossen twice posted double-digit tackles a year ago including a career-high 12 against Mercer. A two-sport athlete, Crossen won the men's 100-meter dash at the 2017 SoCon Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Starting all 11 games a year ago, third-year offensive lineman Nathan Dalton earned second team plaudits on a veteran front five. The East Flat Rock, N.C., product was part of a WCU offensive line that paved the way for a back-to-back, 1,000-yard rusher. Dalton, who was also a preseason second team selection a year ago, is a two-time SoCon Academic Honor Roll recipient and was selected to the 2016 Fall Academic All-SoCon team.
Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges was named the SoCon Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while The Citadel defensive back Kailik Williams was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year in preseason voting by the league's nine head coaches. Wofford, a national quarterfinalist a season ago, was picked the favorite to win the SoCon in both of the annual predictive polls, just ahead of two-time defending champion, The Citadel.
Chattanooga led all teams with 10 preseason all-conference selections, putting four on the first team and a league-best six on the second team. Wofford and Samford shared league-high honors with five each on the first team, with the Terriers boasting eight total selections and Samford six. The Citadel also had six total selections, with three first-team and three second-team preseason all-conference picks. Due to ties in the voting, there was an extra linebacker on the first team and an extra defensive lineman and defensive back on the second team.
Season tickets for all five home dates of Western Carolina's 2017 football season are on sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center and online at CatamountSports.com. Fans can also call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401. Season tickets are trending ahead of last year, so don't miss your opportunity to secure your seats.
WCU's football student-athletes officially report to campus for the 2017 fall camp on Monday, July 31 with practice opening on Tuesday, Aug. 1 with the first of two acclimation period, helmet-only sessions. The first day in full pads for the Catamount football team this the fall is slated for Saturday, Aug. 5.
Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Football:
Monday, July 31 -- Catamount Football Student-Athletes Report
Tuesday, Aug. 1 -- First scheduled practice of 2017 preseason (helmet only); single-game football tickets on-sale to Catamount Club and season ticket holders only
Saturday, Aug. 5 -- First scheduled practice in full pads
Sunday, Aug. 6 -- Western Carolina's on-campus Media / Photo Day
Tuesday, Aug. 8 -- Single-game home football tickets on sale to general public
Friday, Aug. 18 -- Western Carolina University Freshman Move-In Day
Monday, Aug. 21 -- First day of classes for the fall semester
Saturday, Sept. 2 -- 2017 Catamount Football season-opener at Hawai'i
Friday, Sept. 8 -- 13th annual Bob Waters Memorial Golf Tournament at The Maggie Valley Club
Saturday, Sept. 9 -- 2017 Catamount Football home-opener vs. Davidson in Cullowhee, N.C.
Friday, Oct. 27 -- "The Mutt" Catamount Football Golf Classic at the Laurel Ridge Country Club
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).