College football: Catawba picked 11th in SAC

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

From Catawba sports information

The Catawba College football team was picked 11th in the South Atlantic Conference preseason coaches’ poll released on Friday.

Junior Kujuan Pryor earned All-Piedmont Division honors as a return specialist.

Newberry finished first in the poll with 114 points and six first-place votes, while Wingate was a close second with 109 points and four first-place votes. Lenoir-Rhyne and Limestone each received a first-place vote, finishing third and fourth in the poll, respectively. Mars Hill, Tusculum, Carson-Newman and Barton rounded out the top eight of the poll, while Emory & Henry and UVA Wise finished just ahead of Catawba in the poll. Erskine rounded out the 12-team poll.

First-year head coach Tyler Haines leads the Catawba program into a new season following a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Shepherd University in West Virginia.

Pryor, a redshirt junior from Cherryville, ranked third in the country in 2022, averaging 33.3 yards per kickoff return while taking two kicks back for  touchdowns. In addition to earning First Team All-Piedmont Division at return specialist following the 2022 season, Pryor was a Second Team All-Division wide receiver, hauling in 35 catches for 273 yards and two touchdowns.

Along with Pryor, Catawba returns four of its five leading rushers.

Catawba opens its season Sep. 2, traveling to Elizabeth City State to face the Vikings for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The team returns to Salisbury the following week for the home opener, hosting crosstown rival Livingstone at 6 p.m. for Community Day.

The Catawba Indians then move to the toughest conference schedule in the SAC, facing each of the top nine teams in the preseason poll including home games versus Mountain Division champions Mars Hill on Sep. 16 and national quarterfinalists from a season ago in Wingate on Oct. 7. Homecoming is set for Oct. 28 vs. Barton at 4 p.m.

Season tickets are still available, but selling quickly. Go to to purchase your spot in Shuford Stadium in the first year of the Haines era.

Full poll and preseason all-conference teams: