no avatar

SW Va., NET athletes making marks in Division I ranks

Jeff Birchfield • Dec 2, 2019 at 10:33 PM

Three local standouts have stood out on the national stage recently playing at Power Five football and Power Six basketball schools. Several others also are currently making their mark in Division I basketball.

Virginia Tech tight end James Mitchell was awarded the honorary No. 25 jersey before the Pittsburgh game, and he made the most of the opportunity.

Legendary Hokies coach Frank Beamer wore No. 25 during his playing days and, since 2016, a Virginia Tech player is given the honor of wearing the jersey.

Mitchell, a sophomore who normally wears No. 82, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, one of the former Union star’s four rushing touchdowns this season.

Besides being a powerhouse in short-yardage situations, Mitchell has caught 18 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. His best game came in the Hokies’ 45-0 Atlantic Coast Conference win at Georgia Tech. He had four receptions for 90 yards, including a 7-yard TD reception, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.


John Fulkerson, Tennessee

Fulkerson, a redshirt junior from Kingsport, led the Vols with 17 points in a 72-69 win over VCU on Saturday. He had 12 points and six rebounds in another win over a ranked opponent, Washington, on Nov. 16.

Playing a much bigger role this season at 27.1 minutes per game, Fulkerson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.9 rebounds. He ranks second on the team in rebounds and blocked shots.

Mac McClung, Georgetown

The 6-foot-2 sophomore guard is averaging 11.9 points per game for the Hoyas following back-to-back games of 25 and 19 points in wins over Georgia State and Texas.

McClung has struggled in Georgetown’s last two games, losses against then-No. 1 Duke and UNC Greensboro. The Gate City star averaged 13.1 points last season when he made the All-Big East Conference freshman team.

Patrick Good, ETSU

After going through offseason hip surgery, the 6-foot redshirt junior is averaging 8.8 points per game. Good’s best game came in East Tennessee State’s 92-75 win over UT Martin when he went 7-for-8 from 3-point range and scored a game-high 24 points.

The former David Crockett standout is tied with Tray Boyd III with 20 made 3-point goals. Last season, Good set an ETSU single-game record by hitting 11 3-pointers in a win at Western Carolina. He scored a career-high 35 points in that 91-69 victory.

Matt Halvorsen, Western Carolina

The 6-foot-1 junior guard from Kingsport has started all seven games for the Catamounts. He is averaging 10.4 points per game and hitting 38.5 percent from 3-point range.

This comes on the heels of a standout sophomore campaign where Halvorsen started 31 games and averaged 11.6 points per game.

Makale Foreman, Stony Brook

Foreman, a redshirt junior for the Seawolves, is making up for lost time after transferring from Chattanooga.

The 6-foot guard from Kingsport is averaging 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Entering Monday night’s game against Manhattan, he had scored in double figures in seven of eight games this season with a season-high 23 points in Stony Brook’s 87-84 win over Wagner.

Zac Ervin, Elon

The 6-5 freshman from Gate City has played in every game for the Phoenix this season, including against North Carolina and Georgia Tech. He was averaging 17.3 minutes and 6.5 points per game entering Monday night’s contest with Kennesaw State. His high game was 14 points in a 95-54 win over Milligan.

Luke Lawson, UNC Asheville

The former Eastside star played in all 31 games for the Bulldogs his freshman season, scoring 14 points on two occasions. Now a 6-7 sophomore, Lawson has appeared in five contests, including losses at Tennessee and Wake Forest, and averaged three points a game.


Courtney Whitson, Middle Tennessee

The 6-foot freshman from Dobyns-Bennett is off to a strong start for the Lady Raiders, scoring 15 points against East Carolina and 14 against Furman.

She is averaging 6.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She had double-digit rebounds of 14 against Tennessee Tech and 10 against Arizona State.

Emily Schubert, Duke

Schubert, a 6-4 center, is one of three senior captains for the Lady Blue Devils. The former Elizabethton standout has played in three games, grabbing two rebounds in limited action against High Point.

Macie Culbertson, Belmont

Culbertson, a 5-11 sophomore out of Daniel Boone, had five rebounds in the Lady Bruins’ 62-45 win over Northern Kentucky. Last season, she helped Belmont advance to the NCAA tournament. She appeared in 17 games, including a six-point, seven-rebound game against Tennessee.

Shy Tuelle, Campbell

The 5-10 sophomore guard from Hampton is averaging 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds through the Lady Camels’ first five games, including a 15-point effort against St. Andrews. Last year, Tuelle made the All-Big South Conference freshman team after tying for the team lead with an average of 9.1 points a game.