Thursday, July 20, 2017

2017 Football Preseason Preview: Wofford


Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2017 football opponents.  For the sixth game of the season, we'll look at the Wofford Terriers.


The Cats remain on the road this week for a trip to Spartanburg, SC for the fourth road game of the season.


In a series that started in 1952, The Cats & Terriers have played a total of 39 times, and Western has won 2 of the last 3 games against the Terriers.




Wofford



When: Saturday, October 7 at 1:30 pm

Where: Gibbs Stadium, Spartanburg, SC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: ESPN3/SoCon Digital Network

The Series: The Cats are 14-25 overall against the Terriers. having won the last two of the last three games played.

The last game played vs. Wofford: Oct. 8, 2016 - Catamount Football Tripped by the Wofford Terriers, 31-19 - Cullowhee, N.C. - Redshirt junior receiver Terryon Robinson tied a school-record with 15 receptions including a pair of touchdown grabs on Saturday night, but it was not enough as Western Carolina dropped a 31-19 decision to the Wofford Terriers in Southern Conference action at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Logan Howard added a pair of field goals as the Catamounts suffered their third-straight defeat of the season. WCU dropped to 1-4 overall, 0-3 in the SoCon while Wofford improved to 4-2 overall, 2-1 in league play.




Head Coach: Mike Ayers - Now entering his 30th season, the leader of the Wofford football program is head coach Mike Ayers. For three decades, Ayers has guided the Terriers from the NAIA and NCAA Division II ranks to Division I and the Southern Conference. Along the way, the team made appearances in the Division II Playoffs in 1990 and 1991, the Division I FCS Playoffs in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016, and claimed Southern Conference titles in 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2012.



Last Season's Record (Wofford): 10-4 overall, 5-1 home, 5-3 away, 6-2 in the SoCon  (lost to Youngstown State in first round of the playoffs in double-overtime, 23-30)

Offensive Formation:  Triple Option

Defensive Formation: Multiple 50

Starters returning/lost:  15 /  10

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6  /  5

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 /  3

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 1  /  2

Lettermen Returning:  50  (23 offense, 26 defense, 1 specialists)

Lettermen Lost:   27  (14 offense, 11 defense, 2 specialists)

Top returnees: Offensive linemen Ross Demmel, Jared Jacon-Duffy and Roo Daniels, wide receiver R.J. Taylor, and quarterback Brandon Goodson. On defense, the eight returners are defensive linemen Miles Brown, Mikel Horton and Tyler Vaughn, safety Malik Rivera, cornerbacks Devin Watson and George Gbesee, plus linebackers Terrance Morris and Datavious Wilson. In addition, long snapper Ross Hammond returns.

In preseason honors, the Terriers had eight players recognized by the coaches, including five on the first team. The SoCon's nine head coaches selected Wofford to win the league championship as did the Sports Media Association.

Leading the Terriers on the first team were offensive lineman Roo Daniels, defensive linemen Tyler Vaughn and Miles Brown, linebacker Datavious Wilson and cornerback Devin Watson. Second team honorees include offensive lineman Ross Demmel, cornerback George Gbesee and tight end Chandler Gouger.


2016 Wofford Statistics
Rushing Offense: 3915 yards
Yards per game: 280
Yards per rush: 5.0 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 189
TDs rushing: 36
Passing Offense: 887 yards or 63 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 7 yrds
Passing 1st downs: 40
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 65-123-4
TDs Passing: 4
Total Offense: 4802 yards or 343 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 20 - 10
3d Down Conversions: 80 of 195 (41%)
4th Down Conversions: 20 of 34  (59%)
Field goal attempts: 17 - 23
PAT-Attempts: 42 of 43  (98%)
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 41 of 51 (80%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 32 of 51  (63%)
Punts - Yards: 57 - 2597 - Avg per punt:  46
Touchdowns scored: 46




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44 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #44 Aubry Payne

It's now 45 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a tight end....

#44 Aubry Payne






Class: Freshman
Hometown: Locust Grove, Ga.
High School: Locust Grove HS
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 255
Position: TE

2016 (Freshman): Played in 10 of the team’s 11 games with six starts, five coming in the final six games of the season … Recorded 14 receptions for 123 yards … Made his first collegiate reception against ETSU (Sept. 17) in a game played at the Bristol Motor Speedway … Caught a career-best six passes for a career-high 44 yards at Mercer (Oct. 15) … Scored his first two career points on a two-point conversion against Chattanooga (Oct. 28) … Added two solo tackles … Named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team on offense … Pulled down a team-best six catches for 60 yards and a five-yard touchdown reception in WCU’s annual Spring Game.

Prior to Western Carolina: Two-time first team all-region selection ... Received second team Class AAAA All-State honors from the Georgia Sports Writers Association, as well as first team All-Metro ... Had 30 receptions for 575 yards and five TDs as a senior ... Was a five-time player of the week selection including three as a senior ... As a junior, caught 15 passes for 209 yards with an average of 13.9 yards per reception with five touchdowns ... Also had 21 tackles with a sack as a defensive end ... Listed as a two-star athlete by both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com ... High school coach was Clint Satterfield.

Personal: Full name is Aubry William Payne ... Is the son of Scott Payne and Jennifer Prater ... Has four siblings; Ashtin Prater, Triston Payne, Robbie Prater and Mitchell Prater.



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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Catamounts at SoCon Media Day 2017

45 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #45 James Foushee

It's now 45 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. 

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a running back....

#45 James Foushee











Class: RS Sophomore
Hometown: Sanford, N.C.
High School: Lee County HS
Last College: Guilford College
Height / Weight: 5-9 / 205
Position: RB

2016 (Redshirt Sophomore): Played in 10 of the team’s 11 games on offense and mostly on special teams … Made his WCU debut in the home win over Gardner-Webb (Sept. 10) … Did not record any official statistics during the year … Rushed nine times for 38 yards in WCU’s annual Spring Game.

2015 (Sophomore): Transferred to Western Carolina from Guilford College ... Sat out the season due to NCAA transfer rules ... Rushed 14 times for a team-best 86 yards and a touchdown during WCU's annual Spring Game.

Prior to Western Carolina: Lettered two seasons at Lee County High for head coach Burton Cates ... Was an All-Tri 9 Conference selection ... Earned the team's Most Improved Player award ... In 2012, rushed for over 1,200 yards and 23 touchdowns in helping the Yellow Jackets to their best record (8-4) in 30 yeards ... Was an academic all-conference honoree ... Named Most Valuable Sprinter on Lee County's indoor track and field teams in 2012 and 2013 ... Also participated in Lee County's DECA and FCA clubs.

Personal: Is the son of James and Kasandra Foushee ... His sister, Jasmine, is a member of Campbell University's track and field team.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

46 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #46 Austin Phillips

It's now 46 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the tight ends squad...

#46 Austin Phillips








Class: Sophomore
Hometown: Banner Elk, N.C.
High School: Avery County HS
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 220
Position: TE

2016 (Freshman): Saw action in five games on the season, each coming in the final six games of the season … Saw his most extensive action on special teams … Did not record any season statistics.

Prior to Western Carolina: Was a three-year varsity letter winner that played fullback and linebacker at Avery County High ... Two-time 1A/2A Western Highlands All-Conference both as a junior and senior ... Rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns ... Added 451 career receiving yards and five TDs ... Recorded 340 career tackles including 199 solo stops ... Recorded a pair of interceptions, forced three fumbles and recovered four during his prep career ... Also played basketball as a prep.

Personal: Full name is Jack Austin Phillips ... Is the son of Alison and John Phillips.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Monday, July 17, 2017

SoCon Football Media Day (7-18-17)

SoCon live stream hosted by Pete Yanity 

schedule:
1:10 p.m. – Live stream begins
1:15 p.m. – VMI
1:30 p.m. – Samford
1:45 p.m. – Chattanooga
2:00 p.m. – Mercer
2:15 p.m. – The Citadel
2:30 p.m. – ETSU
2:45 p.m. – Western Carolina
3:00 p.m. – Furman
3:15 p.m. – Wofford
3:30 p.m. – SoCon Commissioner John Iamarino

 Stream link: www.socondigitalnetwork.com/socon/schedule





47 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #47 Kyle Vails

It's now 47 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the linebackers...

#47 Kyle Vails







Class: RS Senior
Hometown: Richlands, N.C.
High School: Richlands HS
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 210
Position: LB

2016 (Redshirt Junior): Did not see game action ... Credited with two tackles, both for loss that totaled nine yards, in WCU's annual Spring Game.

Prior to Western Carolina: Was an honorable mention All-Area selection in 2011 for Richlands High ... Also ran track & field as a prep.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

48 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #48 Mitchell Chancey

It's now 48 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the linebackers...

#48 Mitchell Chancey









Class: Sophomore
Hometown: Asheville, N.C.
High School: Erwin HS
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 220
Position: LB

2016 (Sophomore): Saw action in 10 of the team’s 11 games, mostly as a defensive reserve and on special teams … Recorded five total tackles spread over four games including a career-high two stops in the home win over Gardner-Webb (Sept. 10) ... Finished with three solo stops … Credited with four tackles and a quarterback hurry in WCU’s annual Spring Game. 2015 (Freshman): Played in eight games, mostly on special teams and as a defensive reserve ... Credited with three tackles including a solo stop ... Made his collegiate debut in the season-opener against Mars Hill (Sept. 5) ... Tallied his first career tackle at The Citadel (Sept. 12) ... Credited with eight stops in WCU's annual Spring Game.

Prior to Western Carolina: Played both running back and linebacker in high school ... Was the 2014 Mountain Athletic Conference (MAC) Defensive Player of the Year and an Asheville Citizen-Times All-Western North Carolina selection ... Recorded 159 tackles including 11 tackles for loss in his final season ... Set a school single-game record for tackles with 26 in a 27-24 win at Reynolds on Sept. 25, 2014 ... Also participated in the shot put in track & field as a prep ... High school coach was Mike Sexton.

Personal: Full name is Mitchell Aaron Chancey ... Is the son of Debbie Chancey ... Has an older brother, Matthew.




Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

49 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #49 Nate Link

It's now 49 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the offensive line...


#49 Nate Link








Class: Junior
Hometown: Crowley, La.
High School: Notre Dame H
Last College: UL-Monroe
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 250
Position: DL

Prior to Western Carolina: Transferred to WCU from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) ... Redshirted as a true freshman in 2015 ... Played in nine games as a redshirt freshman in 2016 recording five tackles including one solo stop; At Notre Dame HS: Earned first team All-Parish, first team All-District, first team All-Acadiana, first team All-State, and first team Coach's All-State as a junior in 2013 ... Tallied 65 tackles as a senior in 2014, including 22 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and 30 QB hurries ... Earned Defensive MVP honors on both the All-Parish and All-District teams ... Was again named first team All-Acadiana and first team All-State in 2014 ... Selected to play in the 2014 LHSA East-West All-Star Game, collecting MVP honors ... Was a two-star recruit out of high school by both Scout.com and 247Sports.com ... High school head coach was Lewis Cook.

Personal: Full name is Nathaniel Joseph Link ... Is the son of Kerry and Jeanette Link ... Has three siblings; brother Jackson and two sisters, Amalie and Helen.




Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Friday, July 14, 2017

50 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #50 Walker Lanning

Halftime !!!!!!

It's now 50 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the offensive line.....

#50 Walker Lanning















Class: RS Freshman
Hometown: Hendersonville, N.C.
High School: Christ School
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 295
Position: OL

2016 (Redshirt Freshman): Started all 11 games in which he saw action along the offensive line, making four starts at right tackle and seven at right guard … Was a part of the offensive line unit that paved the way for Detrez Newsome’s second-straight, 1,000-yard rushing season … Named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team.

2015 (Freshman):  Enrolled at Western Carolina in the spring, 2015 semester and participated in spring drills ... Redshirted.

Prior to Western Carolina: Was a two-time all-area and all-conference lineman, playing both on both sides of the football ... Was also a two-time NCISAA Division II All-State selection ... Recorded a team-high 89 tackles as a senior ... Started his prep career at East Henderson before playing his final two years at Christ School ... Finished the 2012 season as East Henderson's leading tackler with 58 stops including eight for loss, earning All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference accolades for the conference championship team ... Listed as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com ... High school coach was Mark Moroz.

Personal: Full name is Randall Walker Lanning ... Is the son of Randy Lanning and Tonya Hensley ... Has one sibling, Weston.


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

2017 Football Preseason Preview: Chattanooga


Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2017 football opponents.

For the fifth game of the season, we'll look at the Chattanooga Mocs. The Cats travel to Chattanooga, TN for what will be the third away game of the young season.

The Cats last won against the Mocs in Chattanooga back in 2005, with a 38-20 victory. The Cats are currently on an eight-game losing streak against the Mocs.



Chattanooga


When: Saturday, September 30 - Time 6:00 pm ET

Where: Finely Stadium, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV/video:  ESPN3

Games that will be played by the Mocs this season prior to the WCU contest:  (4)  Jacksonville State in Montgomery, AL - @ LSU in Baton Rouge, LA - UT-Martin (home) -  @ VMI in Lexington, VA.

The Series: The Cats own a 16-27-0 all time record against the Mocs, having first played in 1973. Currently the Mocs have an 8 game win streak going against Western, as the Cats last won against the Mocs in Cullowhee in 2008.

The last game played vs. Chattanooga: Oct. 29, 2016 - Newsome Breaks School-Record in 38-25 Loss to #8 Chattanooga - Western Carolina junior tailback Detrez Newsome rushed for a school-record 277 yards and two lengthy touchdowns, but it was not enough to derail the eighth-ranked Chattanooga Mocs. UTC’s Ricarde Bagley scored three touchdowns including two on the ground as the Mocs downed the upset-minded Catamounts, 38-25, on Homecoming at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.



Head Coach: Tom Arth - 1st season as HC of Chattanooga -  Tom Arth is the 23rd head coach of the Chattanooga Mocs football team, announced on Dec. 20, 2016. Arth is the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. A former NFL quarterback, Arth (35) owns a 40-8 overall record in four seasons at his alma mater. His building of the John Carroll program was highlighted by this year's road victories over two No. 1 ranked opponents in Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater. The 2016 Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year guided the Blue Streaks to the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the third time in his four-year tenure.


Last Season's Record (Chattanooga):  9-4 overall,  6-1 home, 3-3 away,  6-2 in the SoCon

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  5   /  6

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  5   /  6

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  3   /   3

Key losses: Offense - LG Corey Levin,   C.J. Board, Xavier Borishade, Derrick Craine, kicker Henrique Eibeiro, Defense - DE Vantrel McMillian, DE Keionta Davis (Def POY), Tackle Justin King, Nakevion Leslie, safety Cedric Nettles,

Top returnees: QB Alejandro Bennifield, center Jacob Revis,  punter Colin Brewer, long snapper Emory Norred

Chattanooga has been preseason ranked as high as #11 by the websites and magazines who cover the FCS. The Mocs return 48 lettermen from last year's team that went 9-4 and advanced to the second round of the FCS Playoffs and finished with a No. 10 final national ranking.

Lindy's has the Mocs at No. 11, and  SouthernPigskin.com ranked UTC No. 13 in it's top 25. Athlon's Preseason Top-25 has the Mocs at No. 15, Street & Smith has the Mocs at No. 18.

SouthernPigskin.com also released a preseason All-SoCon team that included OL Josh Cardiello, DT Isaiah Mack, LB Dale Warren and DB Lucas Webb.

Chattanooga put a league-high 10 student-athletes on the preseason All-Southern Conference Football Teams. Senior defensive back Lucas Webb is joined by junior defensive lineman Isaiah Mack, senior linebacker Dale Warren and senior offensive lineman Josh Cardiello on offense. Senior quarterback Alejandro Bennifield, senior running back Richardre Bagley, sophomore offensive lineman Malcolm White and senior wide receiver James Stovall were all named to the second team offense. Senior defensive lineman Taylor Reynolds and senior defensive back Trevor Wright earned second team defense honors. The Mocs were picked to finish fourth by the coaches and media.

2016 Chattanooga Statistics
Rushing Offense: 3008 yards
Yards per game: 206
Yards per rush: 5.1 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 136
TDs rushing: 29
Passing Offense: 2681 yards or 206 yards per game
Avg. per pass:  8 yrds
Passing 1st downs: 114
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 220-342-7
TDs Passing: 26
Total Offense: 5363 yards or 413 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 15 - 6
3d Down Conversions: 64 of 166
4th Down Conversions: 11 of 19
Field goal attempts: 12 - 15
PAT-Attempts: 55 of 58
On-side kicks:  0-0
Field goal - attempts:  12-15
Red Zone Scores: 41 of 50
Red Zone Touchdowns: 35 of 50
Punts - Yards: 62 - 2420 - Avg per punt: 39
Touchdowns scored:  59



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51 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #51 Matthew Bair

It's now 51 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the offensive line.....

#51 Matthew Bair








Class: RS Freshman
Hometown: Anderson, S.C.
High School: T.L. Hanna HS
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 260
Position: OL

2016 (Freshman): Did not see game action; expected to take a redshirt. Named to the 2016-17 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll

Prior to Western Carolina: Named to the High School Sports Report (HSSR) South Carolina Division II AAAA All-State team as an offensive lineman following his senior year ... Also garnered all-region plaudits ... Graded out at 90 percent with 78 pancake blocks and scored a touchdown as a senior ... Was a two-time Offensive Lineman of the Week from the Anderson Area Touchdown Club ... Twice named T.L. Hanna's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman (2014, 2015) and received the Captain's Award in 2015 ... ... High school coach was Bruce Ollis.

Personal: Full name is Matthew David Bair ... Is the son of David and Sonya Bair.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Football Gameplan's 2017 SoCon Season Preview


52 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #52 Grady Thomas

It's now 52 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the offensive line.....


#52 Grady Thomas












Class: Freshman
Hometown: Spartanburg, S.C.
High School: Spartanburg HS
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 285
Position: OL

Prior to Western Carolina: Named to the first team All-USA South Carolina football team and to the Herald-Journal All-Area team ... Selected to play in the 80th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas ... High school head coach was Chris Miller ... According to SCMat.com, listed as the No. 5 wrestler in the state of South Carolina at the 5-A classification ... He also won the county championship in wrestling in 2017.

Personal: Full name is Grady Maguire Thomas ... Is the son of Tammy Thomas ... Is originally from Laconia, N.H.


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

SoCon Media Day - July 18 Spartanburg Marriott


53 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #53 Abe Noland

It's now 53 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight a player from the offensive line.....

#53 Abe Noland








Class: Freshman
Hometown: Watkinsville, Ga.
High School: Oconee County HS
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 255
Position: OL

Prior to Western Carolina: Recovered from a broken vertabrae in his back suffered prior to his sophomore season to return to the football field ... Was among the Terrific 32 from NE Georgia Recruits.

Personal: Is the son of Travis and Julie Noland ... His father, Travis, is the football coach at OCHS and played collegiate football at Appalachian State ... Travis coached prep football across Western North Carolina at Cherokee HS, Pisgah HS, A.C. Reynolds HS, Erwin HS and Tuscola HS, serving as the head coach at the final two stops ... Has two brothers - older brother, Zeb, is a quarterback at Iowa State, and younger brother, Ben.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Monday, July 10, 2017

54 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #54 is Retired (Art Byrd)

It's now 54 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Art Byrd's #54 is retired, Art's jersey and number - 54- was the first to be retired in Western Carolina's athletic history.


#54 Art Byrd
















Art Byrd was Western Carolina's first football All-American Selection in 1949 when he helped lead the Catamounts to the North State Conference championship, the school's first football title. He was a two-way player as an offensive and defensive lineman who amazingly was in on every play of every game in the 1948 season. Helped the Catamounts to an 8-2 regular season mark in 1949 and their first North State Conference title. That team additionally holds the distinction of being WCU's first to earn a postseason bid, playing in the Smoky Mountain Bowl in Bristol, Va.

According to his head coach, Tom Young, Byrd "epitomized the spirit of those fine football teams that put us on the map." Byrd was a catalyst of three winning records in his four seasons (1946-49).   Byrd ss the first Western Carolina student-athlete to have their jersey retired, and he was inducted into the Western Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990, WCU's first-ever induction class.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

55 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #55 Andrew Birkmire

It's now 55 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight another linebacker.....

#55 Andrew Birkmire








Class: RS Freshman
Hometown: Oviedo, Fla.
High School: Oviedo HS
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 215
Position: LB

2016 (Freshman): Did not see game action ... Named to the 2016-17 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll.2016 (Freshman) Did not see game action ... Named to the 2016-17 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll.

Prior to Western Carolina: Played both offensive tight end and defensive end, as well as on special teams as a prep ... Started playing at a private school before transferring to Oviedo High ... Was involved in starting a team Bible study and was involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) ... High school coach was Wes Allen.

Personal: Is the son of Rex and Ann Birkmire ... Has an older brother, Jon.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

56 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #56 Jerod Walls

It's now 56 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight another linebacker.....

#56 Jerod Walls















Class: RS Sophomore
Hometown: Lexington, N.C.
High School: Central Davidson HS
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 210
Position: LB

2016 (Redshirt Freshman): Appeared in 10 games as a defensive reserve and on special teams ... Recorded four tackles on the year with two solo stops ... Recorded his first career tackle in the home win over Gardner-Webb (Sept. 10) ... Tallied a career-high two tackles against Chattanooga (Oct. 28) ... Selected to the 2016 Fall Academic All-Southern Conference team and Named to the 2016-17 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll.... Credited with three tackles in WCU's annual Spring Game.

2015 (Freshman): Redshirted ... Named to the 2015-16 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll.

Prior to Western Carolina: Named All-Mid-Piedmont Conference as a senior ... Was also a Lexington Dispatch All-County selection in his final season, finishing with 133 tackles, three sacks, an interception and two blocked kicks ... Also played basketball as a prep, earning Athlete of the Week honors during his career, and competed in swimming ... Was named the Edward Jones Athlete of the Month in March of 2015.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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Friday, July 7, 2017

57 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #57 Alan Harris

It's now 57 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on September 2, 2017, in Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

To help pass those long summer days until football season starts, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff.

Today we'll highlight another linebacker.....

#57 Alan Harris








Class: Freshman
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
High School: Mt. Vernon Presbyterian
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 225
Position: LB

Prior to Western Carolina: Over his four-year prep career, recorded 458 career tackles including 200 solo stops and 29 sacks ... Was a three-year all-region selection ... Named the 5-A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after collecting a career-high 130 season tackles ... Was an honorable mention Class A-Private All-State selection ... Credited with the most tackles by a freshman in his first year as a prep ... High school head coach was Wayne Dabbs ... Was an honor roll student and was selected to the Dean's List as a senior ... Also participated in field events, setting a school-record and finishing fourth in the state in the discus as a junior.

Personal: Full name is Alan Micah Harris ... Is the son of Daisy and Andre' Harris ... Has two siblings.


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

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