Western Carolina head football coach Dennis Wagner announced last week the signing of five additional student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to round out the Catamounts’ incoming class for the fall of 2009.
Defensive backs Mike Anderson (Fort Myers, Fla.), Willie Kennedy (Gastonia, N.C.) and Jideofo Okwudiri (Tracy, Calif.), linebacker Jordan “Rock” Williams (Howell, Mich.) and lineman Vince Williams (Edina, Minn.) join the 20 inked to NLI’s back on National Signing Day on Feb. 4.
Spring practice for the 2009 season – which will be closed to the public unless advance approval is granted by Wagner – is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, Mar. 29. The NCAA-mandated 15 practice sessions will culminate with the annual Spring Game which is set for Saturday, April 25 with a 1:00 pm kickoff.
Also, Season ticket information for the upcoming season will be announced in late-March with the start of spring drills.
Profiles of the five athletes signed last week are below. A two-page spread was printed in the Western Carolinian on Feb. 20 profiling the 20 other football players signed.
Mike Anderson?5-9, 160 lbs., DB?Fort Myers, Fla. (Ida Baker HS)?
Prior to Western: Played one season for head coach Brian Conn at Baker HS … Was named All News-Press, All-Area and first team All-Lee County Athletic Conference … He was additionally selected to the third team All-State … Finished his senior season with 34 total hits, including 33 solo tackles, six pass deflections and four interceptions … Set a school record with three fumbles returned for touchdowns during his senior season, including a 74-yard return for the longest ever in program … Is the first student-athlete in Baker HS history to sign a four-year athletic scholarship to a Division I school.
Personal: Full name is Michael Lee Anderson … Is the son of Michael Anderson, Sr., and Vanessa Alexander … Has eight siblings.
Jideofo Okwudiri?5-9, 170 lbs., CB, Jr.?Tracy, Calif. (San Joaquin Delta College / Merrill West HS)?
Prior to Western: Played two seasons at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., for head coach Gary Barlow … Helped the Mustangs win the 2008 Hawaiian Punch Bowl … Recorded 52 tackles, including 25 solo stops, as a sophomore with a team-best five interceptions – four coming in one game alone … Listed as a three-star prospect out of San Joaquin Delta College by Rivals.com … Was named honorable mention All-Valley Conference and Northern California Junior College All-Conference team in 2008 … Played in four games as a true freshman, making five total tackles including three solo stops … Played football and basketball as a prep at Merrill West HS.
Personal: Full name is Jideofo Rashaad Okwudiri … Is the son of Cynthia Okwudiri.
Willie Kennedy?6-0, 190 lbs., DB?Gastonia, N.C. (Ashbrook HS)?Prior to Western: Was a defensive starter and kick returner at Ashbrook HS for head coach Mike Briggs … Started every game played in football from his freshman season through his final year … Was listed as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com out of high school … Named Big South 3A/4A Defensive Player of the Year and first team all-conference as a senior … Amassed 278 career tackles in his four-year career, including a career-best 89 total hits as a junior … Finished with eight career interceptions … Was also a back-up quarterback his freshman season behind current UNC-Chapel Hill QB, A.J. Blue while attending North Gaston HS … Also ran track and played boys basketball as a prep, earning most improved honors on the hardwood and track MVP honors his first two years.
Personal: Full name is Willie Lamar Kennedy, Jr. … Is the son of Willie, Sr., and Rita Kennedy … Has one older sister, Lashana … His cousin, Josh Jackson, plays football at rival Appalachian State.
Jordan “Rock” Williams?6-2, 210 lbs., LB?Howell, Mich. (Howell HS)
?Prior to Western: Played varsity football at Howell HS under head coach Aaron Metz for two seasons, amassing 108 career tackles including 67 solo stops and three sacks … Also had one interception as a senior … Set a team and Kensington Lakes Athletic Association (KLAA) record with 97 total tackles in his final season, tallying a career-best 17 in a playoff game against Hartland … Named first team All-KLAA, All-County and Defensive MVP as a senior … Also garnered Ann Arbor News All-Area second team plaudits.
Personal: Full name is Jordan “Rock” Williams … Was born in Columbia, S.C. … Is the son of Robert “Kent” and Karen Williams … Has three siblings; Luke, Sierra and Sky … His brother Luke plays tight end at Louisburg Junior College … His father, Robert “Kent” Williams, was a defensive tackle at Furman where he finished with 108 total tackles in two seasons and was a part of four-straight SoCon Championship teams (1980-83).
Vince Williams?6-5, 240 lbs., OL/DL?Edina, Minn. (Edina HS)?
Prior to Western: Was a two-year varsity letter-winner at Edina HS for head coach Kim Nelson … Helped Edina go 16-4 over his final two seasons as a prep, including a 10-1 record and conference championship as a junior … Named All-Classic Lake Conference as a senior, while also tallying team “Best Offensive Lineman” accolades.
Personal: Full name is Vince Wayne Williams … Is the son of Thomas Williams and Gail Hayden … His grandfather, Red Williams, was a four-year football letter winner and team captain at Minnesota from 1942-45; His uncle, John Rajala, was a defensive end for the Gophers from 1963-65; and his father, Thomas, played collegiate hockey at Minnesota from 1967-71.