Linebacker joins running back Taiwan Jones and defensive lineman Renard Williams on Big Sky preseason All-Conference team
Eastern Washington University senior linebacker J.C. Sherritt has been selected as the 2010 Big Sky Conference preseason defensive player of the year as three Eagles were selected Monday (July 19) to the league’s preseason All-Conference team as chosen by a panel of media and sports information directors.
Sherritt, a 2006 graduate of Pullman (Wash.) High School, averaged 14.17 tackles per game as a junior in 2009 to lead the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. He was joined on the preseason team by junior running back Taiwan Jones and junior defensive lineman Renard Williams. All three players earned first team All-Big Sky honors a year ago.
Sherritt finished second in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in FCS after earning a clean sweep as a member of all six post-season All-America teams. The only other Eagles to earn five first team All-America honors in the same year were offensive tackle Jim Buzzard in 1997 and Greg Peach in 2008 on his way to winning the Buck Buchanan Award.
Since 2000 when the Big Sky and FCS began keeping statistics as a record, Sherritt’s total was a league record and the seventh-most in FCS, and his average of 14.17 was also a league record and 13th in FCS history. Besides his 170 tackles, Sherritt had 14 tackles for loss, four passes broken up, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and an interception he returned for a touchdown.
Jones, who averaged an impressive 7.5 yards per carry as a sophomore, is the top player from the offense returning after a 1,000-yard season helped him earn All-America honors. His talent should also be augmented by the addition of a synthetic turf surface at Woodward Field, which will be re-named Roos Field upon project completion. The red turf is being installed this summer in time for the 2010 season.
Jones started and ended his season with a 100-yard game, finishing with a total of six for the season to earn first team All-Big Sky Conference honors. He was a third team selection on The Sports Network’s NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America Football Team, and was a third team choice as an all-purpose back on the Associated Press All-America squad.
Jones, who is from Antioch, Calif., and graduated from Deer Valley High School in 2007, finished with 1,213 rushing yards in 2009 to rank as the sixth-most in school history. He ranked in the top 10 in FCS in rushing (ninth, 101.1 per game), scoring (sixth, 9.50 per game) and all-purpose yards per game (second, 195.4). His 2,345 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving, returns) were the second-most in school history, and his 19 touchdowns and 114 total points both rank fourth.
In all, Jones had 14 plays (seven rushes, three receptions and four kickoff returns) of at least 38 yards in 2009, including nine of at least 50. Besides an 87-yard touchdown run on his first career carry, he had a school-record 96-yard touchdown run versus Idaho State and an 80-yard reception for a TD versus Northern Arizona.
Jones averaged 6.1 yards per carry at home on the grass surface of Woodward Field, but that was boosted to 8.2 in EWU’s other eight games on fields that featured seven artificial surfaces as well as one grass field at Sacramento State with excellent footing.
Williams had 35 tackles as a sophomore, including 9 1/2 sacks and 16 total tackles for loss. He is a 2007 graduate of South Kitsap High School and is from Port Orchard, Wash.