Nov. 22, 2011
2011 SoCon All-Freshman Team
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Western Carolina first-year running back Shaun Warren and redshirt freshman defensive back Ace Clark were today selected to the Southern Conference's All-Freshman team as voted on by the league's head coaches and released by the conference office. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players in the voting process.
A combined 25 freshmen were honored by the SoCon including seven Chattanooga players, followed by three each from Appalachian State, Furman and Georgia Southern. The Citadel, Elon, Samford and WCU each had two players garner all-freshman honors while Wofford had one honoree.
Splitting time with three other running backs at the beginning of the season, Warren paced the Catamounts with 454 rushing yards on the year, averaging five yards per carry while seeing action in 10 of the 11 seasonal games with three starts. He added two receptions out of the backfield for 15 yards for WCU. Warren finished tied for second on the team with 30 points, five rushing touchdowns.
In his first collegiate start, Warren stood out with a career-best 203 yard rushing performance in the home win over Mars Hill. The China Grove, N.C., native averaged 9.7 yards per rush in the winning effort in becoming the eighth different Catamount to record 200-or-more rushing yards in a single-game. It was also the 11th-different time in school history that a WCU running back had 200-or-more yards on the ground.
Warren is the fifth different first-year Catamount to record a 200-yard rushing effort, and the first since Quan Warley - then a redshirt freshman - toted the ball for 202 yards in a road win over Presbyterian back in 2008. Warren joined Darryl Jackson (200 yards vs. Mars Hill in 1987), Darius Hooks (203 yards vs. Wofford in 1996) and Fred Boateng (vs. Georgia Southern in 2000), all of which reached the 200-yard rushing plateau as true freshmen.
Warren matched two school records during the victory over the Lions, running for three first half touchdowns to match a mark held by seven other Catamounts - but had not been accomplished since Anthony James rushed for three TDs in a half against Marshall in 1981. Warren also set a school benchmark with four rushing scores in a game, matching David Mayfield (vs. ETSU, 1986) and Brad Hoover (vs. VMI, 1998).
On the defensive side of the ball for WCU, redshirt freshman Ace Clark also picked up all-freshman honors following the season. Clark finished this season with 90 tackles including 50 solo stops to rank second on the squad and eighth in the SoCon - the top ranked freshman. The defensive back recorded three pass break-ups on the season, making 10 appearances in the starting lineup.
A native of Germantown, Md., Clark posted six-or-more tackles in his 11 games including twice recording double-digit stops. Clark finished with a career-high 13 tackles with seven solo stops against nationally-ranked Appalachian State, matching secondary classmate Christon Gill for the team lead against the Mountaineers.
Clark also recorded 11 tackles against The Citadel and recovered a fumble against Mars Hill in the home victory.