Over the next couple of weeks, CatamountSports.com will feature positional previews of the 2014 Catamount football team including the write-ups from the 2014 Western Carolina media guide, and Catamount Sports Network video features.
Anchored by two junior defensive ends in Caleb Hawkins and John McBeth, the Catamount defensive line returns eight players that saw action in 2013. The duo of ends represents WCU's two most experienced linemen - McBeth has played in 23 games with 16 starts while Hawkins has appeared in 22 games with 17 starts. The two are also WCU's top returning defensive linemen, combining for 83 tackles a year ago.
At the tackle positions, returning redshirt sophomore Helva Matungulu and sophomore Kelvin Ume both played in 11 games with three starts in 2013. Ume recorded 21 tackles while Matungulu has eight stops a year ago, combining for 3.5 tackles for loss including a pair of sacks.
Other returners such as sophomore Andrew Mayton (10 games), sophomore Fred Mooring (11 games, one start), sophomore Daniel Nash (11 games) and redshirt sophomore Dylan Sluder (11 games) will factor into playing time.
Two linemen - Sheldon Kinard and Tahjai Watt - both took redshirts a season ago but will be in a position to battle for playing time this season. WCU's newcomers will add much needed depth to the defensive line position. Zachary Greene (Randleman, N.C.), Tyler Junis (Winder, Ga.), Ezavian Dunn (Carrboro, N.C.), Derrick Davis (Lexington, N.C.) and Phillips Marshall (Charleston, S.C.) each will push the returning players and should challenge for playing time in 2014.
DEFENSIVE LINE NOTES:
Western Carolina ranked fifth in the SoCon with 14 sacks in 2013 ... 11 of WCU's 14 sacks in 2013 were made by defensive linemen while 28 of the 47 tackles for loss came from the front push;
WCU returns 5.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss along its defensive line.
WCU Football 2014 Position-by-Position Preview:
Offensive Line - WATCH
Defensive Line - ABOVE
Wide Receivers - Aug. 12
Linebackers - Aug. 13
Running Backs - Aug. 15
Defensive Backs - Aug. 18
Tight Ends - Aug. 19
Special Teams - Aug. 20
Quarterbacks - Aug. 21