WCU’s Reid Named SoCon Offensive Player of the Month
Stemming from his play over the first month of the 2023 regular season, Western Carolina sophomore running back Desmond Reid was today named the Southern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Month for September as the league announced its monthly award winners. Selections are made and announced by the conference office from nominations submitted by the communications or media relations representatives from each of the nine member institutions.
Reid is just the fourth different Catamount to earn SoCon Offensive Player of the Month plaudits since 2003 – and the first since QB Rogan Wells collected honors in November 2021. Of the three previous Catamount award winners, Reid is WCU’s first that wasn’t a quarterback as he joins Wells, three-time monthly honoree Tyrie Adams, and Brian Gaither.
Reid was twice named the SoCon’s top offensive player of the week in September as of the five weekly award winners, WCU landed three. In addition to Reid’s two awards, classmate quarterback Cole Gonzales earned the other weekly accolade. Reid also garnered a pair of honorable mentions for national awards during the month including the FedEx Ground FCS National Offensive Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) National Performer of the Week.
Desmond Reid led the Southern Conference in rushing during September, collecting 636 yards on 98 carries through the season's first month, averaging 6.5 yards per rush and a league-best 127.2 yards per game. He was the only SoCon back to average over 100 yards in September. His rushing totals rank him fourth in the NCAA FCS national statistics.
Reid’s FCS-leading 10 rushing touchdowns and his 60 points scored are both the most in the conference to date and include a school single-game record of five rushing TDs in the first half of the road win at The Citadel, matching the league’s record for TDs in a half. Dating back to the upset of then No. 15 Chattanooga in the 2022 regular-season finale, Reid has scored a rushing touchdown in six consecutive games including all five in 2023.
Reid eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in four of the five games in September and went over 150 yards thrice on the ground. He ran for 170 yards and a touchdown in the upset victory over then No. 7/8 Samford back on Sept. 9 in Cullowhee. The Miami Gardens, Fla., product eclipsed that performance with a career-best 177 yards and a score in the road victory at Eastern Kentucky before scoring twice on just 13 carries and 111 yards against Charleston Southern, averaging over eight yards per rush. Most recently in just two quarters of action at league-foe The Citadel, Reid rushed for 167 yards and five touchdowns on 18 carries for an average of 9.3 yards per touch.
Adding 13 receptions for 143 yards in September, Reid averaged a team-best 155.8 all-purpose yards per game to rank second in the SoCon, amassing 779 yards in September.
Behind Reid, the Catamount offense averaged an NCAA-leading 528.0 yards of total offense in September, racking up a nation-leading 144 first downs and a league-best 39.2 points per game, tied for the sixth-most in the NCAA FCS. WCU also led the SoCon in both rushing offense (211.4 yds/gm) and rushing defense (111.6 yds/gm).
No. 17/11 Western Carolina travels to No. 20/24 Chattanooga in a crucial Southern Conference match-up of nationally-ranked squads on Saturday at Finley Stadium. The high-powered Catamount offense squares off with a vaunted Mocs defense that is holding opponents to a SoCon-low 20.2 points (21st) and just 345 yards of total offense, second in the league. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live audio from the Catamount Sports Network beginning at 3 p.m.