Trio of Eagle Defenders Earn Preseason All-Big Sky Conference Honors
Safety Allen Brown, cornerback T.J. Lee III and linebacker Ronnie Hamlin selected to squad after combining for 317 tackles in 2012
Senior safety Allen Brown (pictured), who is Eastern’s player representative in Park City, was named to the 15-member defensive squad. Brown, a 2009 graduate of Foss High School in Tacoma, Wash., was a second team All-Big Sky choice in 2012.
The other two players selected to the defensive squad were senior All-America cornerback T.J. Lee III and senior All-America linebacker Ronnie Hamlin. Lee is a two-time first team All-Big Sky selection who graduated from West Seattle High School in 2009. Hamlin earned first team All-BSC honors a year ago and is a 2009 graduate of Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash.
Despite having seven starters returning on offense, no Eagles were selected among the 16 players selected to the All-BSC team on that side of the ball.
Brown has played in 39 games in his career, with totals of 181 tackles, two interceptions and 12 passes broken up. He is just 19 tackles from becoming the 34th Eagle in school history to finish with 200 career tackles. He needs six passes broken up to rank on EWU’s top 10 list in that category. He enters 2013 with 26 career starts, ranking first on the defense and second overall (Steven Forgette has 31).
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” said Brown, who is EWU’s player representative at the Big Sky Conference Summer Kickoff in Park City, Utah. “Right now it doesn’t really mean anything because the season affects everything. But I appreciate the honors for sure.”
At the end of spring practices, Brown was the recipient on defense of the “Iron Eagle” Award for achievements in the off-season in strength and conditioning and the classroom. He finished second on the team with 91 tackles in 2012 to help him earn second team All-Big Sky honors. His average of 6.5 per game ranked 28th in the Big Sky. He was also second on the team with seven passes broken up to go along with a pair of forced fumbles.
Lee earned All-America honors in 2012 from The Sports Network (second team), and was also honored on the College Sporting News “Fabulous 50” All-America squad. Lee also was a first team All-Big Sky selection for the second-straight season. He ranked third on the team with 90 tackles and finished with 11 passes broken up to rank 10th in school history. His average of 6.4 tackles per game ranked 29th in the Big Sky and his total of 11 passes broken up were second. He also had 2 1/2 sacks, nine total tackles for loss, an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
A two-time first team All-Big Sky selection, Lee now has 149 tackles, three interceptions, 14 passes broken up and 2 1/2 sacks in his 34-game career. He is just 51 tackles from becoming the 34th Eagle in school history to finish with 200 career tackles. He needs just four passes broken up to rank on EWU’s top 10 list in that category.
Hamlin recently was selected as one of 20 players on the initial watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision by The Sports Network. A 22-game starter for the Eagles, Hamlin has 221 tackles already in his 25-game EWU career to rank 22nd in school history.
In 2012, Hamlin earned All-America honors from Phil Steele Publications (fourth team) and was a first team All-Big Sky Conference selection. He was also named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team after starting all 14 games for the Eagles. In addition, he was chosen as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. He had 136 tackles in 2012 to rank fifth in school history, and his average of 9.71 per game ranked 31st in FCS and fourth in the Big Sky.
Despite being listed as a senior, Hamlin will eventually apply to the NCAA to receive his sixth year in hopes of replacing a pair of seasons wiped out because of knee injuries -- 2009 as well as Eastern’s national championship season in 2010.
Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin and Brown will remain in Park City until Tuesday (July 14). Fans can follow the event via twitter via the hashtag #BigSkyKickoff.
“I just want to win,” added Brown, who is one of three returning starters in the secondary. “But I have two goals for our defense – to lead the conference in turnovers forced and third down efficiency. Besides winning, those are the two accomplishments I will focus on.”
2013 Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team
DE - Zack Wagenmann - Jr. - Missoula, Mont. - Montana
DE - Brad Daly - Sr. - Helena, Mont. - Montana State
DT - Sullivan Grosz - Sr. - Fresno, Calif. - Cal Poly
DT - Tim Wilkinson Sr. - Las Vegas, Nev. - Northern Arizona
OLB - Jordan Tripp - Sr. - Missoula, Mont. - Montana
OLB - Trevor Spence - Sr. - Aberdeen, Idaho - Idaho State
ILB - Ronnie Hamlin - Sr. - Lacey, Wash. - Eastern Washington
ILB - Clarence Bumpas - Sr. - Colorado Springs, Colo. - Northern Colorado
ILB - Anthony Morales - Sr. - Edmond, Okla. - Weber State
CB - Anders Battle - Sr. - Phoenix, Ariz. - Northern Arizona
CB - T.J. Lee III - Sr. - Seattle, Wash. - Eastern Washington
S - Lucky Dozier - Sr. - Sacramento, Calif. - Northern Arizona
S - Allen Brown - Sr. - Tacoma, Wash. - Eastern Washington
P - Andy Wilder - Sr. - Scottsdale, Ariz. - Northern Arizona
Special Teams - Chris Judge - Sr. - Westlake Village, Calif. - Cal Poly
QB - DeNarius McGee - Sr. - Euless, Texas - Montana State
RB - Zach Bauman - Sr. - Chandler, Ariz. - Northern Arizona
RB - Cody Kirk - Sr. - Frenchtown, Mont. - Montana State
FB - Dalton Turay - Jr. - Pleasanton, Calif. - UC Davis
OG - Tyler Worthley - Sr. - Dublin, Calif. - Sacramento State
OG - Gavin Farr - Sr. - South Ogden, Utah - Southern Utah
C - Mitch Gaulke - Sr. - West Linn, Ore. - Portland State
OT - Danny Kistler - Sr. - Seattle, Wash. - Montana
OT - Giovanni Sani - Sr. - Modesto, Calif. - Cal Poly
WR - Greg Hardin - Sr. - Bellevue, Neb. - North Dakota
WR - Tanner Bleskin - Sr. - Great Falls, Mont. - Montana State
WR - Morris Norrise Sr. - Berkeley, Calif. - Sacramento State
WR - Fatu Moala - Sr. - Kearns, Utah - Southern Utah
TE - R.J. Rickert - Jr. - Gilbert, Ariz. - Northern Arizona
K - Colton Cook - Sr. - Centerville, Utah - Southern Utah
Ret. - Greg Hardin - Sr. - Bellevue, Neb. - North Dakota