Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina head football coach Mark Speir and his staff announced the signing of five high school student-athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLI) including four on Wednesday, the first day in the inaugural Early National Signing Period for football, and one on the final day of the early period.
Combined, the Catamounts added three offensive skill players with a quarterback, running back, and a wide receiver, as well as two defensive linebackers in the early signing period. Three of the five early signees received rankings from 247Sports and/or Rivals including a three-star rating for QB A.J. Curry, while RB D.J. Atkins and WR Mahari Stribling are both listed as a two-star recruits.
Complete list, roster information, and bios listed below.
"This was a great start to our 2018 signing class," said Speir, who is entering his seventh season at the helm in Cullowhee. "Many people around the country weren't sure what would take place on this first early signing day period, but I feel like we were very successful with the four newcomers we were able to officially sign. Our coaching staff has set the bar high for what we're looking for in prospects to come be Catamounts, and today, we raised that bar."
Following the early signing period, which spanned Dec. 20-22, Speir and his staff look to complete their 2018 incoming class on National Signing Day slated for the first Wednesday of February - Feb. 7, 2018. All told, the Catamount coaching staff looks to sign around 15 more student-athletes in February with the class expected to be completed around 20.
Western Carolina is coming off of its third, seven-win season over the past four years under Speir's tutelage, compiling one of the nation's larger turnarounds from a 2-9 record in 2016. The Catamounts returned to the national NCAA FCS rankings during the 2017 season for the first time since 2006 behind a much improved, opportunistic defense and an offensive unit that shattered school records for points (389) and rushing yards (2,772 yds), finishing with the second-most offensive production in program history with 5,287 total yards.
Last Updated: Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 - 12:15 pm
2018 Catamount Football Incoming Class:
|Time||Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Hometown (Previous School)|
|8:23 am||Chris Campbell||OLB||6-1||225 lbs.||Vanceboro, N.C. (West Craven HS)|
|9:33 am||Devlin Olawumi Jr.||OLB||6-0||195 lbs.||Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake HS)|
|9:42 am||D.J. Atkins||RB||5-9||160 lbs.||Hogansville, Ga. (Callaway HS)|
|9:42 am||A.J. Curry||QB||6-5||205 lbs.||Mt. Airy, Ga. (Habersham Central HS)|
|Dec. 22||Mahari Stribling||WR||6-3||180 lbs.||Loganville, Ga. (Grayson HS)|
RB - 5-9 - 160 lbs. - Fr.
Hogansville, Ga. (Callaway HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Listed as a two-star recruit from Rivals.com ... Versatile player that can play in the backfield or in the slot on offense, as well as in the return game on special teams ... One of the top rushers in the state of Georgia in 2016, finishing with over 2,300 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground as a junior ... Two-time All-Region team for 5-AA selection as a junior and senior ... Was tabbed as the 5-AA Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 ... First team All-State and first team All-Region in Georgia ... Also runs track as a prep.
Personal: Is the son of Shameka Stubblefield and Reggie Atkins.
Note: High school coach was Pete Wiggins ... Was recruited by Zac Etheridge.
OLB - 6-1 - 225 lbs. - Fr.
Vanceboro, N.C. (West Craven HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Played linebacker and defensive end as a prep, three-year varsity letter winner ... Started working on offense as a senior ... Took part in the Blue-Grey All-American Combine in Richmond, Va., in the summer of 2017 prior to his senior year where he was "without peer" and "nearly stole the show" ... Also played basketball as a prep ... Is expected to be an early enrollee, coming to Cullowhee in January.
Personal: Is the son of Ashley Sontag and Kenyatta Campbell.
Note: High school coach was Michael Twichell ... Was recruited by John Wiley.
QB - 6-5 - 205 lbs. - Fr.
Mt. Airy, Ga. (Habersham Central HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Dual-threat QB that is listed as a three-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports ... Named Georgia 8-AAAAAA All-Region at QB ... Converted to QB prior to his senior prep season after playing mostly as a wide receiver despite playing the position growing up ... Threw for nearly 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 800 yards and 13 TDs on the ground as a senior, averaging 329.5 yards per game in his final year as a prep.
Personal: Is the son of Aviean and Felicia Curry.
Note: High school coach was Benji Harrison ... Was recruited by Brad Glenn.
Devlin Olawumi Jr.
OLB - 6-0 - 195 lbs. - Fr.
Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Was a two-time Georgia 2-7A All-Region first team defense selection following both his junior and senior years ... As a junior in 2016, recorded 95 tackles including 60 solo stops and 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks ... Also runs track as a prep.
Personal: Is the son of Turi Smith Olawumi and Devlin Olawumi, Sr., and Felicia Hicks.
Note: High school coach was Kareem Reid ... Was recruited by Blake Gideon.
WR - 6-3 - 180 lbs. - Fr.
Loganville, Ga. (Grayson HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Listed as a two-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports ... Was a listed as a top wide receiver at the Showdown ATL Regional ... Selected as an honorable mention All-Region 8-7A ... Played both WR and CB as a prep.
Personal: Is the son of Sonja and Dennis Stribling ... His brother, Channing Stribling, played collegiate football at Michigan and plays for the San Francisco 49ers.
Note: High school coach was Christian Hunnicutt ... Was recruited by Tyler Carlton.
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