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  • Daniel Hooker

Three Catamounts Sign as NFL Undrafted Free Agents



Following last weekend’s three-day, seven-round, and 257-pick 2024 National Football League (NFL) Draft, three Catamount football seniors signed as undrafted free agents (UDFA) this week. Defensive back Rod Gattison signed with the Tennessee Titans, fifth-year offensive lineman Tyler Smith signed with the Los Angeles Chargers, and wide receiver David White Jr., signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

 

WCU’s trio of undrafted free agent signings following the draft are the most for the Catamount program in recent years. Five WCU players since 2020 have signed as undrafted free agents – four coming under head coach Kerwin Bell.

 

Beginning his collegiate career after a season at Georgia Military College back in 2019, Gattison played for the Catamounts for four years between 2020 and 2023. A product of Hartsville, S.C., Gattison played 37 games at WCU with 121 total tackles including 85 solo stops and eight tackles for loss with three sacks. His two most productive seasons came in 2022 and 2023, posting 37 and 38 total tackles, respectively. He finished his WCU career with five interceptions – capping his career with an interception in his final game at VMI back on Nov. 18, 2023. Gattison recorded over 20 total passes defended and was also credited with forcing a pair of fumbles.

 

Gattison improved his status with the League following the 2023 season by accepting an invitation to play in January’s Tropical Bowl.

 

Smith was a staple along the Western Carolina offensive line for the better part of six seasons, beginning with four games as a reserve as a true freshman in 2018 that kept his redshirt intact. Between 2019 and 2023, the Laurinburg, N.C., product started a program-record 54 consecutive games among his 58 career games on the offensive line. He was dubbed an honorable mention for HERO Sports Freshman All-America honors in ’19. Smith was a two-time All-SoCon selection from the league’s head coaches, collecting second-team honors in 2022 and first-team plaudits from the coaches and media following the 2023 season, adding second-team All-America accolades from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in late December.

 

With Smith helping pave the way, the Catamount offense broke its school record for total offense in back-to-back seasons in 2022 and 2023. Last fall, WCU amassed a school record of 5,545 yards with an NCAA FCS-leading 504.1 yards of total offense per game.

 

A two-year standout at Valdosta State that included 25 games played and 19 starts, White Jr. spent two seasons in the Purple & Gold in Cullowhee. Over those two years in a Catamount uniform, he caught 54 passes for 903 receiving yards with 11 touchdown receptions. White Jr. caught 20 passes for 384 yards and five touchdowns as a junior and 34 receptions for 519 yards with six scores as a senior in 2023. All told over his four collegiate seasons, White Jr. recorded 94 receptions for 1,442 career yards with 19 touchdowns.

 

Originally from Jacksonville, Fla., White Jr. makes the return home as he was signed by the Jaguars following the Draft. The prototypical 6-4 receiver improved his stats with the League after accepting invitations and participating in a pair of postseason bowl games, playing in the 2024 Hula Bowl and the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl

 

Season tickets for Western Carolina’s 2024 season are on sale now both online at CatamountSports.com, by phone at (828) 227-2401, and through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center. Ticket options include general admission, reserved bleacher bench, and chairback seats, with a Family Zone four-pack in Section FF. A $10 transaction fee will be charged for all season ticket orders including credit card, cash, and check.

 

The renewal deadline for returning Catamount football season ticket holders is Saturday, June 1, 2024. Everyone is encouraged to join the Catamount Club and current Catamount Club members are also reminded to renew their memberships before the end of June. WCU opens the 2024 season on a Thursday night (Aug. 29), visiting the state capital to face the NC State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium. The five-game home schedule celebrating 50 Years at E.J. Whitmire Stadium opens with the first-ever meeting with instate foe Campbell on Sat., Sept. 7, in #CatamountCountry.

 

Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/CatamountSports), Twitter (@Catamounts, @CatamountsFB), and Instagram (wcu_catamounts).

 

Recent Catamounts Signing UDFA Contracts:

2024 – Rod Gattison, DB – Tennessee Titans

2024 – Tyler Smith, OL – Los Angeles Chargers

2024 – David White Jr., WR – Jacksonville Jaguars

2023 – Cameron McCutcheon, LA Rams

2020 – John Brannon, LA Chargers

2019 – Ian Berryman, Pittsburgh Steelers

2018 – Detrez Newsome, LA Chargers

2016 – Helva Matungulu, NY Jets

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