Eagle Football Excellence

•    2010 NCAA Division I National Champions. The top-ranked Eagles defeated #9 Southeast Missouri State (37-17), #25 North Dakota State (38-31 in overtime) and defending champion #10 Villanova (41-31) in three home playoff games, then defeated #5 Delaware (20-19) in the championship game on Jan. 7, 2011, in Frisco, Texas. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was selected as the game’s Most Outstanding Player after throwing three touchdowns passes in the final 16:48 as EWU rallied from a 19-0 deficit.


• The Eagles ended both the 2010 regular season and the playoffs as the No. 1-ranked team in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision by both The Sports Network and in the FCS Coaches Poll. Eastern was also No. 1 in the first two polls of the 2011 season.


• Two Payton Award Winners (Bo Levi Mitchell in 2011 and Erik Meyer in 2005) and two Buchanan Award Winners (J.C. Sherritt in 2010 and Greg Peach in 2008) in the last seven seasons.


• Former home of NFL All-Pro Offensive Tackle Michael Roos (Tennessee Titans), who enters the 2012 season with 179-consecutive starts dating back to his sophomore season at EWU in 2002.


• Eight NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) Playoff Berths (1985, 1992, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010).


• Five Big Sky Championships (1992, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2010), including back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.


• Two FCS Total Offense Championships (1997, 2001), as well as one passing offense title (2011) and one for scoring offense (2001). In EWU’s last eight seasons (1994-2011), EWU has ranked in the top 10 in passing six times and total offense on five occasions.

 


Eagle Pride . . .

• Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell won the 2011 Walter Payton Award presented by The Sports Network to the top player in the NCAA Championship Subdivision. In 2011, Mitchell led the FCS in four categories, including passing yards (4,009) and touchdown passes (33) on his way to breaking four school records. He broke EWU’s record for single season passing yards with 4,009, which ranks 17th in FCS history and fifth in Big Sky Conference history. He led EWU to a 19-7 record in two years, including the 2010 NCAA Division I title with a 20-19 victory over Delaware. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship game, throwing three touchdown passes as the Eagles rallied from a 19-0 deficit to score three TDs in the final 16:48. He now plays for Calgary in the Canadian Football League.

• Linebacker J.C. Sherritt won the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award presented by The Sports Network to the top defensive player in the NCAA Championship Subdivision. He was also selected to six different All-America teams as a first team selection, and was also the College Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year and the Big Sky Defensive MVP. He broke his own league and school records by finishing his senior season with 176 tackles, which ranks sixth in FCS history. He closed his career with a school-record 432 tackles to rank second in Big Sky history and 10th all-time in FCS. As a junior, he finished second in the voting for the 2009 Buchanan Award. On his way to earning first-team All-America honors on five different teams, he had a school and Big Sky Conference record 170 tackles, and led FCS with an average of 14.2 tackles per game. He is now with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL.

• Eagle All-America offensive tackle Michael Roos became the highest draft choice in school history when Tennessee selected him in the second round of the 2005 NFL draft. He was the 41st selection overall, the third offensive tackle selected and the first NCAA Championship Subdivision player taken. In addition, he was the first Big Sky Conference player selected and the highest since 1989. In 2008, in just his fourth NFL season, he earned prestigious All-Pro honors. Including 35 starts to end his EWU career, Roos ended the 2011 NFL season having made 179 consecutive starts as an offensive tackle. His last 144 starts have come as a Titan (two AFC playoff games, 112 regular season games, 29 pre-season contests and his first-ever Pro Bowl on Feb. 8, 2009).

• Running back Taiwan Jones finished fourth in the voting for the 2010 Walter Payton Award presented by The Sports Network to the top player in FCS. He was also selected to five different All-America teams as a first team selection, and was also the Phil Steele Publications FCS Offensive Player of the Year, the College Football Performance Awards Running Back of the Year and the Big Sky Offensive MVP. Despite missing three games and parts of two others because of injuries, he rushed for 1,742 yards and scored 17 total touchdowns to rank second in FCS in rushing (145.2 per game) and second in all-purpose yards (201.8 per game). Following his junior season, he declared himself eligible for the 2011 NFL draft and was selected in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders. He was the first player taken from the Big Sky Congerence and is Eastern’s second-highest draft choice in school history.

• Defensive end Greg Peach won the 2008 Buck Buchanan Award presented by The Sports Network to the top defensive player in FCS. He earned first-team All-America honors on five different teams and was the College Sporting News FCS Defensive Player of the Year and the Big Sky Conference Defensive MVP. The two-time All-American led FCS with averages of 1.64 sacks and 2.1 tackles for loss per game, while setting school records with totals of 18 sacks in 2008 and 35 1/2 in his career.

• Quarterback Erik Meyer won the 2005 Walter Payton Award presented by The Sports Network to the top player in the NCAA Championship Subdivision. He and wide receiver Eric Kimble were Eastern’s first-ever back-to-back All-America selections at their positions.

• Quarterback Matt Nichols finished fourth in the voting for the 2009 Walter Payton Award presented by The Sports Network, capping a record-breaking career. He broke school and Big Sky records for passing yards with 12,616 and total offense with 13,308. At the time, both marks ranked sixth all-time in FCS history. He eventually signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, and is now with the Edmonton Eskimos where he is reunited with former Eastern teammate J.C. Sherritt.

• Eastern players have been selected as the Big Sky Conference Offensive MVP in eight of the last 11 seasons. Six of them have been quarterbacks, including Bo Levi Mitchell (2011), Matt Nichols (2009 and 2007), Erik Meyer (2005 and 2004) and Josh Blankenship (2002), as well as running backs Jesse Chatman (2001) and Taiwan Jones (2010). An Eagle has won the Big Sky MVP Offensive award 10 times in school history. J.C. Sherritt was the Defensive MVP in 2010, becoming the fifth Eagle to earn that honor.

Matt Johnson is Eastern’s newest player in the NFL, having been drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 National Football League Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. The 2010 All-American started every game he played as an Eagle (45) and was twice selected as a first team All-Big Sky selection. He finished his career just one interception away from the school record of 18, was also only nine interception return yards from the record of 219 held by Schulz and his six career forced fumbles tied for the school record.

• A total of 65 Eagles have been drafted or signed free agent contracts with NFL or CFL teams since 1989. Seven Eagles have been selected to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in the past eight years (2003-2010), with five selected to play in eight different college all-star games. Bo Levi Mitchell played in the 2012 National Football League Players Association Collegiate Bowl. Nathan Overbay and Matt Nichols were selected for the 2010 East-West Shrine Game, the same game Michael Roos played in back in 2005.

• The Eagles have won 79 first-team All-America honors in the past 15 seasons (1997-2011). The latest additions to the All-America list from 2011 were quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, wide receiver Nicholas Edwards and center Chris Powers. In 2010, All-Americans were running back Taiwan Jones, linebacker J.C. Sherritt, center Chris Powers, safety Matt Johnson, wide receiver Brandon Kaufman and defensive tackle Renard Williams.

 
 

Eagle Tradition . . .

• Eastern is one of only seven schools to have made the playoffs at least five times in the past eight years (2004-11). The others are Appalachian State, Eastern Kentucky, James Madison, Montana, New Hampshire, Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois.

• The Eagles have had 18 offensive linemen earn All-America accolades in the last 19 years (1993-2011) while winning 20 first team All-Big Sky Conference honors (1993-2011). Chris Powers is the latest to earn both awards after helping lead EWU to the NCAA Division I title in 2010 and then earning the same honors as a senior in 2011.

• A total of 74 players have earned first-team All-Big Sky Conference honors since 1997 (through 2011).

• The Eagles have won 91 Big Sky Player of the Week honors in the past 15 seasons (1997-2011).

• In 11 of the last 17 seasons (1995-2011), Eastern has had a 1,000-yard rusher, including seven different players. Taiwan Jones had 1,213 yards in 2009 and went over the 1,000-yard mark again in 2010 with 1,742 yards.

 

Eagle Consistency . . .

• In the 2011 season, Eastern had its 14th winning season in the last 16 years (1996-2011). That includes seven straight winning seasons (1999-2005), a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since the Red Reese era when Eastern had a string of 11-straight winning seasons from 1931-1941. From 1999-2011, 12 out of 13 seasons have concluded with a victory in the team’s final game of the regular season, and EWU has won 13 of its last 14 regular season games in November (through the 2011 season).

• In the past 16 years (1996-2011), the Eagles have won 61 percent (116-73) of their games overall and 63 percent (78-45) in Big Sky Conference play. Included are four Big Sky titles and four runner-up finishes, as well as 14 winning seasons, six NCAA Championship Subdivision Playoff berths and the 2010 FCS title.

• Eastern has returned 15 kickoffs for touchdowns in the past 16 seasons and 14 punts for scores in the same time span (1996-2011).

• Until allowing one in the 2010 FCS Playoffs against North Dakota State, the Eagles had not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 1999 season – a total of exactly 599 touchdown-less returns.

• Eastern has averaged 31.8 points on offense and allowed 25.6 points on defense in the past 16 seasons (1996-2011).

 

EWU Football Academic Honors

• Eastern football players have earned nine ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-America honors since 1989, including five first-team selections.

• Eastern players have been honored 53 times since 1989 on the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII football team, and a best-ever five were recognized in 2007. The squad includes NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and Bowl Subdivision football players from schools in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii and British Columbia. Jeff Minnerly was honored for the second-straight season in 2011. Six players have gone on to win nine Academic All-America honors.

• A total of 13 Eagles have been selected to the FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star team since the award began in 1998. Mike Jarrett and Jeff Minnerly were honored in 2011.

• A total of 269 Eagles have been selected to the Big Sky All-Academic team in the past 16 years (1996-2011) – an average of just under 17 per year. Since 2001, when the league went to an eight-team alignment with its current members (Northern Colorado joined the league in 2006), Eastern has had 203 selections. The next-best school has 154.

Jeff Minnerly was awarded the “Elite 88” Award by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He received the award for having the highest cumulative grade point average among the participants in the 2011 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Eastern won that game 20-19, as Minnerly finished with two passes broken up and two tackles. Minnerly was a 4.0 student at Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., where he excelled in football and basketball.

• Thirteen Eastern football players have been honored as EWU’s recipient of the Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, including 2010-11 recipient Matt Martin. The 13 honors have come in the past 24 years since EWU became a member of the league in 1987.

 
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