Oct. 15, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina senior linebacker Rock Williams was today named the Southern Conference's Defensive Player of the Week as selected and released by the league office. Williams tallied a career-high 24 tackles while also forcing and recovering a fumble on the same play to set-up a go-ahead WCU score in the third quarter of Saturday's game at The Citadel.
The honor is the second for a Catamount from the conference office this season as quarterback Troy Mitchell garnered the SoCon's Freshman of the Week honors back on Sept. 3 after the season-opening victory. On Sunday, Williams was named the top defensive player by SouthernPigskin.com, while also garnering honorable mention plaudits from the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) and the Beyond Sports College Network (BSN) on Monday morning.
Both tallies by Williams of 24 total tackles and 17 solo stops rank as the most by a player in a single-game in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) this season. His tallies also match Boston College's Nick Clancy at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) who had 24 combined hits against Northwestern back on Sept while his 17 solo stops are tied with LSU's Kevin Minter who was also credited with 17 solo stops at the FBS level in a loss at Florida on Oct. 6.
Williams' 24 tackles tied for the 10th-highest single-game total in league history and were the most since Appalachian State's Corey Weaver tallied 25 stops against Elon in 2006. It was just the second time since 2000 that a WCU defender had 20-or-more tackles in a single game, joining former linebacker Quintin Phillips who had 20 tackles, also against The Citadel, during the 2007 season.
The 24 stops are the most for a Catamount since Marcus Bradley - who is WCU's single-season leader for tackles with 145 - had 24 total hits against Georgia Southern in the record-setting 1997 season.
A native of Howell, Mich., Williams leads the Catamounts with 69 tackles this year coming in just five games - an average of 13.8 tackles per game. He has recorded double-digit tackles in four of his five starts this season. Williams is also tied for the team lead with freshman defensive back Sertonuse Harris with three forced fumbles after his theft of Dupree last Saturday.
With 280 career tackles, Williams is just 26 hits shy of 10th place in the Catamounts' career record books currently held by WCU Hall of Famer, Steve Yates (306, 1971-74).
Western Carolina (1-6, 0-5) remains on the road next Saturday as it travels to Elon, N.C., to face the Phoenix (2-4, 0-3 SoCon), which was idle this week. The Catamounts look to snap a six-game slide in the series with Elon, seeking their first road win in the series since 2004.