Eagles in the Pros
Since 1984, when Eastern became a member of the NCAA
Championship Subdivision (FCS), 74 Eastern football players have
either signed free agent contracts or have been drafted by National
Football League (NFL) or Canadian Football League (CFL) teams. Ten
have been drafted by the NFL and five drafted by the CFL to go
along with four NFL draftees between 1965-74. Eastern has also
enjoyed a recent influx of players into the Arena Football League
(AFL) and arenafootball2 (af2), as well as in the United Football
League (UFL) and Indoor Football League (IFL). Prior to that,
several played in the World League, which became NFL Europa before
it folded. The list below shows EWU’s current professionals
and the team they are currently with. In the bios that follow, the
years listed are the years they lettered at Eastern. The second
line is the original team they were drafted by or signed a free
agent contract with.
*Last Updated Aug. 16, 2014
2014 Professionals (as of Aug. 5, 2015)
Tennessee Titans (NFL) – Michael
Roos – Offensive Tackle – Letterwinner at EWU
Cleveland Browns (NFL) – Isaiah Trufant – Cornerback – 2002-03-04-05
Baltimore Ravens (NFL) – Nathan Overbay Tight End – 2006-07-08-09
Oakland Raiders (NFL) – Taiwan Jones – Cornerback/Running Back – 2008-09-10
Dallas Cowboys (NFL) – Matt Johnson – Safety – 2008-09-10-11
Seattle Seahawks (NFL) – Andru Pulu - Defensive Tackle – 2012-13
Seattle Seahawks (NFL) – Demitrius Bronson - Tailback – 2011-12-13
Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) – Anthony Larry - Defensive End - 2011-13
Chicagto Bears (NFL) – Greg Herd – Wide Receiver – 2009-10-11-12
British Columbia Lions (CFL) – Ryan Phillips – Defensive Back – 2003-04
Toronto Argonauts (CFL) – Shea Emry – Linebacker – 2005-06
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) – Greg Peach – Defensive Line – 2005-06-07-08
Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) – Matt Nichols – Quarterback – 2006-07-08-09
Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) – J.C. Sherritt – Linebacker – 2007-08-09-10
Calgary Stampeders (CFL) – Bo Levi Mitchell – Quarterback – 2010-11
*British Columbia (CFL) – Brandon Kaufman – Wide Receiver – 2009-10-12
*Calgary Stampeders (CFL) – Zach Johnson – Linebacker – 2008-10-11-12
British Columbia (CFL) – T.J. Lee III – Cornerback – 2010-11-12-13
Spokane Shock (AFL) – Erik Meyer – Quarterback – 2002-03-04-05
*Signed contracts in 2014 but are no longer with the team.
Eastern Washington University’s NFL Draft Choices (14)
Michael Roos – Off. Tackle – Letter
Winner at EWU 2001-02-03-04
Drafted in the 2nd round (41st overall) by the Tennessee Titans in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Taiwan Jones – Running Back – 2008-09-10
Drafted in the 4th round (125th overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL Draft
Matt Johnson – Safety – 2008-09-10-11
Drafted in the 4th round (135th overall) by Dallas in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Tom Ackerman – Offensive Guard – 1992-93-94-95
Drafted in the 5th round (145th overall) by New Orleans in the 1996 NFL Draft.
Trent Pollard – Offensive Tackle – 1990-91-92-93
Drafted in the 5th round (132nd pick overall) by Cincinnati in the 1994 NFL Draft.
Bob Picard – Wide Receiver – 1968-69-71-72
Drafted in 6th round (132nd pick overall) by Philadelphia in the 1973 NFL Draft.
Jeff Mickel – Off. Tackle – 1985-86-87-88
Drafted in the 6th round (163rd pick overall) by Minnesota in 1989.
Ed Simmons – Offensive Tackle – 1983-84-85-86
Drafted in the 6th round (164th pick overall) by Washington in the 1987 NFL Draft.
Lamont Brightful – Wide Receiver/Returner – 1998-99-00-01
Drafted in the 6th round (195th overall) by Baltimore in the 2002 NFL Draft.
Scott Garske – Tight End – 1971-72-73
Drafted in the 7th round (179th pick overall) by Pittsburgh in the 1974 NFL Draft.
Kurt Schulz – Defensive Back – 1988-89-90-91
Drafted in the 7th round (195th pick overall) by Buffalo in the 1992 NFL Draft.
Dave Svendsen – Wide Receiver – 1966-67-68
Drafted in the 11th round (281st pick overall) by Los Angeles in the 1969 NFL Draft.
Craig Richardson – Wide Receiver – 1983-84-85-86
Drafted in the 11th round (298th pick overall) by Kansas City in the 1987 NFL Draft.
Dick Nearents – Tackle – 1956-57-68
Drafted in the 18th round (205th pick overall) by Green Bay in the 1959 NFL Draft.
Michael Roos – Off. Tackle – Letter Winner
at EWU 2001-02-03-04
Drafted in the 2nd round (41st overall) by Tennessee in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Tennessee Titans: Since Michael Roos became an offensive lineman as a sophomore at Eastern Washington University in 2002, he has started every football game he has played from 2002-13 as a collegian or professional – a streak that has now reached 218 games. He started 190 of a possible 190 games until an appendicitis attack and subsequent surgery ended that streak in October 2012. He ended the 2012 season with eight starts and started 20 games (16 regular season, 4 preseason) in 2013, giving him a personal streak of 218-straight starts entering the 2014 season. Besides 35 EWU starts to end his collegiate career, he has started 37 preseason NFL Games (9 seasons, 2005-13), 143 regular season NFL Games (9 seasons, 2005-13), 2 NFL Playoff Games (2007 & 2008) and 1 NFL Pro Bowl Game (February 2009). At the conclusion of the 2011 season, his 112-game active starting streak ranked second in the NFL among all offensive tackles, trailing only Detroit’s Jeff Backus (176). In his first nine seasons in Tennessee (2005-13), the Titans allowed the third-lowest number of sacks in the NFL (244), ranking only behind Indianapolis and New Orleans.
In 2011, he was named to the Sporting News All-Pro team. He was part of a unit that allowed just 24 sacks to rank second in the NFL. He made his 100th regular season start against Cleveland on Oct. 2, 2011, and the Titans did not allow a sack and helped Chris Johnson rush for 101 yards.
In 2010, he was a member of an offensive front that opened holes for Titans’ ball carriers to gain 1,727 rushing yards. In 2009, he was a second team All-Pro selection by Associated Press as he blocked for the NFL’s second-best rushing attack (162.0 yards per game). He helped open holes for Johnson, who became just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. Tennessee’s offensive line allowed only 16 sacks and helped the team finish with the second-most rushing yards in franchise history with 305 versus Jacksonville on Nov. 1.
The 2008 season was a season of firsts for Roos as Associated Press selected him as one of two offensive tackles on its 2008 All-Pro team. He was one of just two NFL offensive tackles selected to the first team (the other was Jordan Gross of Carolina). In addition, he earned his first Pro Bowl invitation and started in the game played on Feb. 8, 2009. In November 2008, Roos was selected to the mid-season NFL All-Pro team selected by Sports Illustrated and writer Paul Zimmerman.
Among the many former Eagles who have played in the NFL, none have ever been invited to the Pro Bowl, let alone win All-Pro honors. However, Kurt Schulz (Buffalo Bills) was an alternate in 2001 and both he and Ed Simmons (Washington Redskins) earned all-division accolades during their 10- and 11-year NFL careers, respectively.
Roos allowed just one sack in 16 regular season games in the 2008 season, and was part of an offensive line that allowed a NFL-low and franchise-record 12 sacks in 2008. He played a key role in opening holes for the league’s seventh-ranked rushing attack that featured Pro Bowler Chris Johnson (1,228 yards, nine TDs) and LenDale White (773 yards, 15 TDs to rank third in the NFL). Tennessee rushed for a franchise-record 332 rushing yards in Week 7 at Kansas City.
The Titans won the 2008 AFC South Division title with a 13-3 record – the best record in the NFL during the regular season. Tennessee then received a first-round bye in the playoffs before their season came to an end with a 13-10 loss to Baltimore. In May 2008, Roos signed a six-year, $43 million contract extension with the Titans.
Besides being a stellar season for Roos, 2008 was also a season of continued improvement for the Titans. Roos helped the Titans go from a 4-12 record as a rookie in 2005 to an 8-8 mark in 2006 as the Titans just missed the playoffs. In 2007, the Titans finished 10-6 and advanced to the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2003. Tennessee won its final three regular season games in 2007, including a 16-10 victory over defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis on the final day of the regular season. Roos started his 96th-consecutive game when the Titans lost in the first round to San Diego on Jan. 6, 2008. Earlier in the season, Roos helped the Titans rush for what was then a club-record 282 yards in a 13-10 win over Jacksonville.
Drafted in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft (41st pick overall), Roos started all 16 games as a rookie at right tackle for the Titans. The following season, Roos moved to left tackle when 13 year-veteran Brad Hopkins retired in the off-season. Roos started all 16 games at left tackle as he helped the Tennessee rushing attack rank third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL with 2,214 rushing yards, while posting a franchise record 4.7-average yards per carry for the season. Roos also helped pave the way for running back Travis Henry to rush for 1,211 yards and Vince Young to become the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to exceed 500 rushing yards.
Said Titans General Manager Floyd Reese at the end of the 2005 season: “He showed the versatility to play both left or right, and very seldom are you going to find a lot of guys like that. That is quite a bill to fill.”
2005 NFL Draft: 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 FCS player taken. In addition, he was the first Big Sky Conference player selected and the highest since 1989. He was the only player in the 2005 draft class to start all 112 regular season games from 2005 through 2011, and none started every game from 2005-2010. At the time he was drafted, Roos had played just six seasons of football, starting as a senior at Mountain View High School in fall 1999. He moved to the United States from Estonia in 1992.
At Eastern: Roos came to Eastern as a tight end
after graduating from Mountain View High School in 2000. After
redshirting one season, he played the 2001 season on the defensive
line before starting 35-straight Eagle games at left offensive
tackle. As a senior in 2004, he earned five different All-America
honors and was the I-AA.Org Lineman of the Year after helping
Eastern to a 9-4 record and the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs.
Roos played in a pair of prestigious college all-star games –
the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl – and was also
invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. Eastern selected him to its
“100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote
selected him as the top offensive lineman in school history. In
addition, Eastern honored Roos by retiring his jersey at
EWU’s Homecoming game on Oct. 24, 2009, versus Montana State.
And as a tribute to his giving legacy, Eastern re-named Woodward
Field to “Roos Field” in fall 2010 upon completion of
the Red Turf project that he and his wife Katherine pledged
Demitrius Bronson - Tailback –
Signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL in 2014.
From nearby Kent, Wash., Bronson signed with the World Champion Seattle Seahawks as a free agent on June 16, 2014. He was involved in private workouts with the Seahawks prior to signing, and carried five times for 22 yards in the team’s first preseason game on Aug. 7. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Bronson is also a former Washington Husky and played as a tailback at Eastern, but could wind up as a fullback at the professional level. Bronson earned honorable mention All-Big Sky honors in 2012, and was a short-yardage specialist for the Eagles. Despite spending much of his career injured, he finished with 600 career rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, and caught eight career passes for 51 more yards. He started 10 of the 29 games he played and had two touchdowns on four occasions. Bronson graduated from Kentridge High School in 2008, and started his collegiate career at the University of Washington. “It is just the first step of many, and all I wanted was an opportunity with a team,” said Bronson of also getting the opportunity to play for his hometown team. “Having it come in Seattle just makes it even sweeter because you have the whole town cheering for you to be great.”
Andru Pulu - Defensive Tackle –
Signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL in 2014.
Pulu agreed to terms as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks on May 10, 2014, after the NFL Draft concluded. He began his career by making the short trek from his hometown of Federal Way, Wash., to Renton, Wash., for the three-day rookie mini-camp for the defending Super Bowl Champions. “I can probably just catch the bus there,” laughed Pulu, who was born and raised in the Seattle area only 10-15 minutes away from Seahawks headquarters and graduated in 2009 from Federal Way High School. “It’s great to get to stay at home and not have to go anywhere to get an opportunity.” Pulu also had workouts with four other NFL teams (Houston, Green Bay, Cincinnati and Oakland), and nine clubs were represented at a pro day conducted for him at Federal Way HS. In all, 24 teams reached out about Pulu. He started all 28 games he played for the Eagles in his career after transferring from the University of Washington. He earned second team All-Big Sky Conference honors as a senior and honorable mention as a junior. He had 79 career tackles, including six sacks and 12 total tackles for losses totaling 31 yards. At Eastern’s Pro Day on March 12, 2014, he bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times. He also participated in Seattle’s workout for local players. His “little” brother Jordan is a 6-foot-2, 280-pound sophomore defensive tackle for the Eagles.
T.J. Lee III – Cornerback –
Signed a free agent contract with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL in 2014.
Two-time All-American and three-time first team All-Big Sky Conference selection T.J. Lee III decided not to wait for the NFL, so the former Eastern cornerback headed to some familiarity in British Columbia. Lee signed a free agent contract with the B.C. Lions on May 22, 2014, where he became teammates with another former Eagle out of Seattle. Defensive halfback Ryan Phillips, who played for EWU in 2003 and 2004, is a 2000 Franklin High School graduate and has been a fixture in the secondary for the Lions ever since. Lee is a 2009 graduate of West Seattle High School. “I talked to him a lot at my tryout,” said Lee. “He gave me pointers and helped a lot.” Lee had a pair of interceptions – one for a touchdown – in BC’s 37-13 preseason victory over Calgary on June 20. That performance helped the three-time first team All-Big Sky Conference selection and two-time All-American secure a roster position as a backup halfback. Lee concluded his collegiate career by playing in the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 19, 2014. In fact, he by chance met Phillips’ uncle on that trip to Southern California. Lee had been talking with the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League about potential openings on their rosters down the road, but elected to take the sure thing instead. “It all turned out well in the end,” said Lee, a. “I had a tryout and it felt good. I called back and decided not to wait around, but create my own path instead. Before that I was just trying to stay focused, work out and wait for the right opportunity.” In winning three-straight first team All-Big Sky honors, Lee became only the third Eagle in school history – and the first on defense -- to accomplish that feat. In fact, only 45 total players in the 50-year history of the league have earned three first team accolades, as well as another three who have four-peated. Besides the Big Sky honor, he was selected in 2013 as a first team All-America cornerback by the American Football Coaches Association, College Sporting News (“Fabulous 50”), College Sports Madness and Beyond Sports Network, and a second team choice by the Associated Press and The Sports Network. He finished the year with 114 tackles to rank 14th in school history and his 11 passes broken up were 10th. Lee finished his Eastern career with 263 tackles, four interceptions, 25 passes broken up and 3 1/2 sacks in his 49-game career (35 starts). He is just the 35th Eagle in school history to have 200 career tackles and finished ranked 11th. He owns sole possession of the school record for most career forced fumbles with seven, and his 25 passes broken up ranks sixth.
Steven Forgette – Offensive Line –
Signed a free agent contract with the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL in 2014.
Forgette signed with the Ottawa Redblacks, a CFL expansion team, and was assigned to the practice squad. Despite missing most of the 2011 season at Eastern because of an injury, his 46 career starts were the most among all Eastern players in the 2013 season. The only game he didn’t start in his 47-game career was to allow a senior to start on Senior Day in 2010. As a senior, Forgette was also named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team for the third time. He helped Eastern set Big Sky and school records with 592 points, 83 touchdowns and 8,002 yards of offense in the 2013 season. As a team, EWU led FCS in passing efficiency (school record 182.6), and was fourth in total offense (533.5 per game), fourth in passing (349.8), 41st in rushing (183.7) and seventh in scoring (39.5). Eastern’s offensive line was selected as the FCS Offensive Line of the Week by Beyond Sports Network twice during the season. The first time came when EWU had 625 yards of offense in a 49-46 upset of 25th-ranked Oregon State (8/31/13) to open the season. The second time came in a 55-34 win at Idaho State (11/2/13) when the Eagles finished with a school record 743 yards of offense. He graduated from Heritage HS in Vancouver, Wash., in 2009.
Anthony Larry - Defensive End - 2011-13
Signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles of the CFL in 2014.
Larry signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on May 10, 2014, then attended the team’s rookie camp. Larry is from Sacramento, Calif., and graduated from Luther Burbank High School in 2009 “Always an Eagle,” said Larry of the opportunity to go from being an Eastern Eagle to a Philadelphia Eagle. “I’m excited and I was anxious waiting for the chance.” The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Larry was a third team All-Big Sky selection in 2013, and received workouts from several NFL teams, including Philadelphia, after his eligibility was exhausted. He started 22 of 38 games he played at Eastern and finished with 122 tackles, 11 1/2 sacks and 32 total tackles for loss totaling 107 yards in losses.
Brandon Kaufman – Wide Receiver – 2009-10-12
Signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL in 2013.
After signing a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills on
April 29, 2013, Kaufman spent part of the 2013 season on that
team’s practice squad. He was released on May 16, 2014, then
joined the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for a short
time. The two-time FCS All-American finished his 42-game Eastern
career with 221 catches (third in school history, seventh in
Big Sky history) for 3,731 yards (second all-time at EWU, fourth in
the Big Sky and 19th in FCS) and 33 touchdowns (second in school
history). He earned the 2012 FCS Wide Receiver Award from College
Football Performance Awards (CFPA). Kaufman had a FCS-record 1,850
yards receiving in 2012, to go along with 93 receptions, 16 TDs and
an average of 19.9 yards per catch. He helped lead the Eagles to
the NCAA Division I title in 2010 and the semifinals of the FCS
Playoffs in 2012. Kaufman is from Denver, Colo., and graduated in
2009 from Heritage High School.
Greg Herd – Wide Receiver – 2009-10-11-12
Signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL in 2013.
Herd was signed by the Chicago Bears on Aug. 5, 2014. In 2013,
he signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys, but was
released after the team’s rookie camp. He was re-signed by
the Seattle Seahawks on May 29, 2013, and was later released. While
at Eastern, the 2011 FCS All-America selection finished his Eastern
career with 165 receptions to rank ninth all-time at EWU. His
catches were good for 2,348 yards to rank 11th in school history,
and he also had 17 touchdowns (13th). His 66 catches in 2012 rank
as the 12th-most in school history. Herd is from Tacoma, Wash., and
graduated from Steilacoom High School in 2009.
Matt Johnson – Safety – 2008-09-10-11
Drafted in the 4th round (135th overall) by Dallas in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Expected to play significantly as a rookie in 2012 and again in
2013, Johnson was sidelined both years because of nagging
hamstring, back and foot injuries. As a result, his only action in
his first two seasons in the pro ranks was in the Hall of Fame Game
versus San Diego on Aug. 7, 2013. Before he suffered a foot injury
in that game, he been penciled in as the starting free safety for
the Cowboys entering the 2013 season. A Dallas Cowboys fan as a
child and whose first NFL jersey was the No. 22 of Cowboy running
back Emmitt Smith, Johnson is only the third player in school
history to be drafted in the fourth round or higher. He
participated in Dallas’ three-day minicamp the week after the
draft in April and on the last day of veteran minicamp in June.
However, he had to miss the club’s OTAs (organized team
activities) and the first two days of the June minicamp because he
was still taking classes at Eastern. Later, he missed the first
part of preseason training camp with a hamstring injury. Johnson
started all 45 games he played in his Eastern career and finished
with 341 tackles to rank fifth in school history and eighth
all-time in the Big Sky. He also finished second on the
school’s all-time lists for interceptions (17, ranking
seventh all-time in the BSC) and interception return yards (210).
After leading Eastern to a collective record of 30-15 in his
45-game career, he exited tied as the all-time leader in career
forced fumbles with six. Johnson, however, missed Eastern’s
last four games of his senior season with a painful biceps injury.
Johnson had five interceptions in 2010 to help Eastern lead the FCS
with 26, as EWU finished 13-2 and won the NCAA Division I
Bo Levi Mitchell – Quarterback – 2010-11
Signed a contract with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL in 2012.
Nicknamed the “Gunslinger” dating back to his high
school playing days, Mitchell got off to a hot start for Calgary in
2014, completing 113-of-180 passes (62.8 percent) for 1,421 yards
and 11 touchdowns in leading the Stampeders to a 5-1 record. His
longest pass was a 102-yard touchdown to Maurice Price in the
season-opener against Montreal. In leading Calgary to wins in its
first four games, he tied Jeff Garcia for the CFL record for most
consecutive wins to start a career with seven. Mitchell was 3-0 as
a starter in 2013 when he completed 94-of-135 passes for 1,156
yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He led the Stampeders
to an enormous comeback on July 20, 2013, as Calgary stormed back
from a 24-point deficit for a 38-27 victory over the Montreal
Alouettes. He completed 7-of-13 passes for 49 yards and two
touchdowns, plus had a 26-yard run. That helped him earn his first
career CFL start a week later as he led Calgary to a 37-24 victory
over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to earn CFL Offensive Player of the
Week honors. He completed 88 percent of his passes (29-of-33
passes) for 376 yards and three TDs. Used in short-yardage
situations prior to taking over as the starter, he finished the
season with 35 carries for 151 yards and two TDs. Mitchell earned a
spot on Calgary’s roster in 2012, and was a backup
quarterback for all 18 regular season games, two playoff games and
the Grey Cup (a 35-22 loss to Toronto). He was used as the
Stamps’ short-yardage quarterback and ran the ball 34 times
for 67 yards and five touchdowns. He also completed 12-of-21 pass
attempts for 168 yards and two touchdowns. In the playoffs,
Mitchell ran the ball three times for six yards and two touchdowns
in the West semifinal and five times for seven yards and one
touchdown in the West final. In the West final, he also completed a
42-yard pass to Maurice Price, who came up just short of the
goal-line. In the Grey Cup, Mitchell came off the bench to finish
the game and completed 6-of-9 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown
and also threw for a successful two-point conversion. He came off
the bench to rush for a touchdown and execute a successful fake
field goal attempt against Montreal on July 12, 2012, then helped
direct the Stampeders to a come-from-behind 32-31 overtime win over
Saskatchewan on July 19, 2012. As an EWU senior in 2011, Mitchell
won the Walter Payton Award presented by The Sports Network to the
top player in FCS. In 2011, the senior 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 ranked 17th in FCS history and fifth in Big Sky Conference
history. Mitchell was named to eight All-America teams as a senior,
earning first team honors on six of them. He was the top
quarterback on teams selected by The Sports Network, American
Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp, Associated Press, Phil
Steele Publications and Beyond Sports College Network. Also,
Mitchell earned third team honors from collegesportsmadness.com and
honorable mention on The College Sporting News Fabulous Fifty
All-America team, and won the Elite Quarterback Award from College
Football Performance Awards. His 19 wins in 2010 and 2011 combined
were the most back-to-back by an Eastern quarterback in school
history, but that was surpassed by the 20 wins of Vernon Adams in
2012 and 2013. Mitchell also had the rare opportunity to play the
2011 season with his older brother Cory Mitchell, a freshman wide
receiver who finished with 19 catches for 310 yards and a pair of
scores. Mitchell played in the National Football League Players
Association Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 21, 2012 (he completed 8-of-15
passes for 110 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions).
Taiwan Jones – Running Back – 2008-09-10
Drafted in the 4th round (125th overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL Draft
Oakland: Jones signed a contract extension before the 2014 season after a successful transition from running back to cornerback and special teams standout. In his first three years in the legaue, he had 22 special teams tackles, a 22.5 average on 36 kickoff returns, 117 rushing yards and 91 more yards on six receptions. He led the team with 14 special teams tackles in 2013, and nearly earned a spot in the Pro Bowl. Jones was moved to cornerback by the Raiders in February 2013 after seeing minimal action as a running back in his first two years in the NFL. In 2012, Jones rushed six times for 21 yards, caught two passes for 11 yards and returned a pair of kickoffs for 22 yards. However, he had 12 tackles on special teams as he played in a total of 14 games. As a rookie in 2011, Jones played in 10 games for the Raiders and finished with 73 yards on 16 carries (4.6 per rush) with a long of 14. He also caught two passes for 25 yards and returned eight kickoffs for a 20.6 average per return with a long of 46. He also had seven tackles on special teams. He made his NFL regular season debut at Denver on Sept. 12, 2011, and received his most extensive action in the backfield in a 24-17 win over San Diego on Nov. 10 when he had 39 yards on seven carries. In the preseason, he rushed 14 times for 83 yards (5.9 per carry), including a 22-yard touchdown. He also caught three passes for 23 more yards.
2011 NFL Draft: As the 125th pick overall in the NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, Jones was Eastern’s second-highest draft choice ever. Jones was the fifth NCAA Football Championship Subdivision player taken in the 2011 draft, and the first from the Big Sky Conference. The two-time All-American was born in San Francisco, and graduated in 2007 from Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif., before becoming an Eagle. Antioch is located less than 40 miles east of Oakland. Jones was Eastern’s first draft choice since Michael Roos became the highest draft choice in school history when Tennessee selected him in the second round of the 2005 NFL draft. On Jan. 15, 2011, Jones announced he was leaving Eastern a year early and officially declared himself eligible for the 2011 Draft. Another former Eastern running back, Jesse Chatman (1999-00-01), did the same following his junior season, but was undrafted before spending seven years in the NFL. Jones participated sparingly at the NFL Combine in February, then skipped EWU’s pro day on March 30. However, he tested exceptionally well on April 14 at a personal pro day in Pittsburg, Calif., including a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds.
At Eastern: Although unable to play in
EWU’s last 2 1/2 games of his junior season because of a foot
injury, Jones led the 2010 Eagles to a 13-2 record and the NCAA
Football Championship Subdivision title. Jones, who averaged 7.7
yards per carry in his 24-game career as a running back, suffered a
fracture to the base of his fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot
in EWU’s 38-31 overtime victory over North Dakota State Dec.
11 in the quarterfinals. Interestingly, the type of fracture he
suffered is generally referred to as a “Jones
Fracture,” named after Sir Robert Jones, who first described
this fracture pattern in 1902. He finished with a career-high 230
yards rushing against NDSU, including 203 yards and a touchdown in
the first half (138 on his first four carries of the game), but
wasn’t able to play for the Eagles again. Eastern was 3-0
without Jones in the lineup in 2010, including a 41-31 semifinal
victory in the playoffs over Villanova and a 20-19 championship
game win over Delaware. He was named to the NCAA Football
Championship Subdivision All-America first teams as selected by the
American Football Coaches Association and Associated Press, and was
the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year. In addition,
Jones was selected on Dec. 22 as the FCS Offensive Player of the
Year by Phil Steele Publications, and was a first team All-America
selection by that publication. He finished fourth in the voting for
the Walter Payton Award given to the top player in FCS by The
Sports Network. Jones finished the 2010 season with 1,742 yards to
rank as the third-best performance in school history, ahead of the
1,216 he had in 2009. He recorded the 15th 1,000-yard rushing
performance in school history in 2010, including 11 in the last 16
seasons (1995-2010). He finished with an average of 145.2 yards per
game to rank second in the NCAA Championship Subdivision. After
leading the nation in all-purpose yards per game for several weeks
early in the year, Jones finished second with an average of 201.8
yards (rushing, receiving, returns) per game. He was also 13th in
scoring (8.50 per game with 17 total touchdowns). Jones averaged an
impressive 7.5 yards per carry as a sophomore, then bettered that
to 7.9 yards per rush in 2010 to lead FCS (among the top 45 rushers
averaging at least 75 yards per game). He had five plays in his
career of at least 80 yards, 10 of 70 or more, 16 of at least 60,
21 of at least 50 and 36 of at least 32 yards. He had a
school-record 96-yard touchdown run versus Idaho State in 2009.
Twelve times in his career he eclipsed the 200-yard mark in
all-purpose yards and had 15 rushing performances of at least 100
yards. Jones was only the 12th Eagle to rush for over 2,000 yards
in his career, and ranked fifth with 2,955. He also had a career
average of 162.0 all-purpose yards per game to rank as the school
record, 37 total touchdowns to rank third, his total of 5,021
all-purpose yards ranked second, his 1,134 kickoff return yards
were sixth and finished his career fourth in points scored with
222. Jones ended his career with a string of seven-straight
100-yard rushing performances, with a total of 1,176 yards (168.0
per game), an 8.5 average per rush and 11 touchdowns in those seven
games. He had 15 100-yard rushing performances in 24 career games
as a running back, and nine in the 2009 season.
J.C. Sherritt – Linebacker – 2007-08-09-10
Signed a free agent contract with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in 2011.
The 2010 recipient of the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top
defensive player in the NCAA Championship Subdivision, Sherritt
signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Eskimos on April 20, 2011,
and already has broken the CFL single season tackles record.
Sherritt was slowed by a broken thumb in the 2013 season and
finished with 46 tackles in 10 games played (all starts). He also
had an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack.
He started the 2013 season where he left off the previous year,
recording 31 defensive tackles, two special teams tackles and one
sack to rank fourth in the CFL through the first five games of the
season (he led after three games with 24). But he was on injured
reserve starting in week 8 and played sparingly after that. He was
selected as the CFL’s 2012 Most Outstanding Defensive Player,
and was also named a Western Division All-Star and CFL All-Star. In
17 games at middle linebacker in 2012, Sherritt racked up a CFL
record 130 defensive tackles (eight for a loss). He had two
knockdowns and five interceptions for 56 yards. He also had three
sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and contributed on
special teams with three tackles. On Oct. 28, Sherritt set a new
Eskimo record for defensive tackles in a season, passing Willie
Pless who registered 117 tackles in 1998. On Nov. 2, Sherritt broke
the CFL record of 129 defensive tackles in a season record set by
Toronto’s Calvin Tiggle in 1994. He was named Defensive
Player of the Week four times and Player of the Month for July,
August and September. Sherritt recorded his first CFL interception
on Aug. 10 and his next two in consecutive games. He was on the
injured list for Week 14 and was on the reserve list for the
Eastern Division semifinal with an ankle injury. When he joined the
Eskimos as a rookie in 2011, he re-joined former Eastern teammates
Greg Peach – the 2008 Buchanan winner (and now with Hamilton
in the CFL) – and quarterback Matt Nichols. Sherritt made a
splash as a rookie, and was named as the Western Division finalist
for Most Outstanding Rookie. He had 11 tackles in his CFL debut,
and went on to start 15 games before being hampered late in the
year by a finger injury that required surgery and an ankle injury
suffered on Oct. 21 that kept him out of the last two regular
season games. Sherritt led the CFL in tackles early in his rookie
season, but fell to 12th because of his injuries. He had 58 stops
after 10 games to rank second in the CFL at the time. He finished
the season with 72 defensive tackles, three quarterback sacks,
three tackles for losses for 4 yards, three pass knockdowns, three
forced fumbles and 13 special teams tackles. At Eastern, Sherritt
was the national defensive player of the year, a two-time consensus
All-American and ended his career as a national champion. Eastern
defeated Delaware 20-19 on Jan. 7, 2011, in Frisco, Texas, to
capture the 2010 NCAA Division I title in his final game as an
Eagle. He finished his career with a school-record 432 tackles in
his 47-game career (35 as a starter) to rank second in Big Sky
history and 10th all-time in the FCS. On the eve of the title game,
Sherritt was awarded the Buck Buchanan Award presented by The
Sports Network to the top defensive player in the NCAA Football
Championship Subdivision. Sherritt was also selected to six
different All-America teams as a first team selection, and was the
College Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year and the Big Sky
Defensive MVP. In addition, the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and
Broadcasters (SWABS) selected Sherritt as the Male Amateur Athlete
of the Year. Sherritt finished his senior season with 176 tackles,
which ranked sixth in FCS history and bettered his own league and
school records from 2009 when he finished with 170 tackles. He
finished the 2010 season ranked eighth in the FCS with an average
of 11.7 tackles per game after leading FCS as a junior (14.2 per
game). Sherritt concluded his career with 18 tackles and a pass
broken up in the national championship game. Earlier in the
playoffs, in a 38-31 overtime victory over North Dakota State,
Sherritt broke the school record of 399 career tackles previously
held by Greg Belzer (1997-2000). He capped his record-breaking
night by forcing the fumble that was recovered by EWU to end the
game against NDSU at the Eastern 1-yard line. He added eight
tackles versus Villanova in the FCS semifinals. He also had six
career interceptions to go along with 13 passes broken up, six
forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and a trio of sacks, with a
total of 35 1/2 tackles for loss (79 yards).
Matt Nichols – Quarterback – 2006-07-08-09
Signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL in 2010.
Nichols is in his fourth season with the Edmonton Eskimos of the
Canadian Football League after originally signing a free agent
contract with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Nichols is trying to
win back the starting position he owned in 2012 before a dislocated
ankle and knee injuries derailed his career. After recovering from
a gruesome dislocated ankle injury at the end of the 2012 season,
Nichols suffered a torn ACL knee injury as a preseason starter on
June 14, 2013, and was lost for the season. In 2012, Nichols
dressed for all 18 games (two starts) and was the holder on field
goals. He saw action at quarterback in eight games and was 48-of-83
(58 percent) for 884 yards, seven touchdowns and three
interceptions. He also ran the ball 10 times for 76 yards,
including a 19-yard touchdown. He threw his first CFL
touchdown when he mishandled a field goal snap and threw the ball
to Corbin Sharun for a 35-yard touchdown to end the first half. He
got his first start at quarterback on Sept. 28 in Calgary and went
14-of-26 for 167 yards and one touchdown and one interception. He
ran the ball seven times for 63 yards and a touchdown. Nichols came
in with 10 minutes left in the Oct. 28 game in Montreal and threw
for 230 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion to bring
the Eskimos to within two points of a win. He also started the
final game of the regular season, going 18-of-30 for 341 yards and
two touchdowns. He started the second half of the Eastern Division
semifinal and went 3-of-7 for 51 yards before suffering a
dislocated ankle. After getting released by the Cowboys at the end
of training camp on Aug. 19, 2010, he signed with Edmonton as a
free agent on Oct. 13, 2010, and spent the rest of the year on the
team’s practice roster. In his debut as an Eskimo in a
preseason game against Saskatchewan on June 17, 2011, he completed
6-of-10 passes for 53 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Nichols began the 2011 season on the one-game injured list and was
placed on the nine-game injured list midway through the season. He
made his regular season CFL debut on June 30, 2012, against Toronto
and had an incomplete pass. He had his first CFL completion on July
13 in a 42-10 win over Winnipeg, as he finished 1-of-3 for nine
yards. While with the Dallas Cowboys in 2010, he appeared in two
preseason games, completing 10-of-16 passes for 81 yards and two
interceptions. At Eastern, Nichols earned prestigious first
team NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America honors from
the American Football Coaches Association, as well as three other
All-America honors. He finished fourth in the voting for the Payton
Award given to the top player in FCS, and was also the Big
Sky’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his
career. He broke 14 school records and six Big Sky Conference marks
in his 47-game career (45 as a starter). He passed for 3,830 yards
and 33 touchdowns as a senior, giving him a total of 12,616 yards
and 96 touchdowns in his career. His career yardage total ranked
sixth in FCS history and his touchdown total was 10th. He completed
a career-best 65 percent of his passes in 2009 to give him a
passing efficiency rating of 156.5 to rank eighth in FCS. He was
fifth in total offense (327.7 per game) and third in passing
offense (319.2). He played in the East-West Shrine Game following
his senior season after helping lead the Eagles to NCAA Football
Championship Playoff berths in 2007 and 2009.
Nathan Overbay – Tight End – 2006-07-08-09
Signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos of the NFL in 2010.
Still looking to play in his first NFL regular season game,
Overbay entered the 2014 season on the roster of the Baltimore
Ravens after signing with his seventh NFL team on Dec. 18, 2013. In
his first four years in the league, he played with six different
teams and played in 13 preseason games. Prior to joining the
Ravens, he signed with two NFL teams and was released by both in a
four-month period. He signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug.
8, 2013, but was released on Aug. 31 after playing in three
preseason games. He then signed with the Houston Texas on Sept. 18,
then was released on Nov. 20. Overbay spent the 2011 and 2012
seasons on the Detroit Lions practice squad after originally
signing free agent contracts with the Denver Broncos, the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins. He was released by the Lions on
June 4, 2013. He spent the 2010 preseason with the Broncos before
being waived on the final roster cutdown. Overbay spent the
first week of the season on Denver’s practice squad, but was
then released on Sept. 3, 2010. After spending much of the 2010
season on the practice squad of the Miami Dolphins, he was signed
by the Buccaneers on Oct. 26, 2010. He was eventually moved to
Tampa Bay’s 53-man active roster on Dec. 20, 2010, but did
not play in any games. In 2011, after catching five passes for 46
yards (9.2 per catch) with a touchdown in four preseason games,
Overbay was released by Tampa Bay on Sept. 3, 2011. He was then
signed by the Detroit Lions as a practice squad player. He played
in two preseason games for the Lions in 2012, catching one pass for
four yards. At Eastern, Overbay earned NCAA Football Championship
Subdivision All-America honors in 2009 and was a first team All-Big
Sky Conference selection. Overbay caught 51 passes for 588 yards
and 13 touchdowns as a senior at Eastern, and in his 43-game career
(22 as a starter) he caught 93 passes for 1,189 yards and a
school-record for a tight end with 19 touchdown receptions. He
played in the East-West Shrine Game following his senior season
after helping lead the Eagles to NCAA Football Championship Playoff
berths in 2007 and 2009. He is the nephew of veteran major league
baseball player Lyle Overbay, who now plays for the Milwaukee
Greg Peach – Defensive Line – 2005-06-07-08
Signed a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in 2009.
Peach entered the 2014 season on the roster of the Winnipeg Blue
Bombers after spending five previous seasons in the CFL with
Edmonton (2009-11), Hamilton (2012) and Winnipeg (2013). He had 26
tackles with four sacks in his first seven games of the 2014
season. He entered the year with 22 sacks and 143 total tackles in
his 62-game career (55 starts). He has had at least six sacks in a
season twice, and has four forced turnovers. The 2008 recipient of
the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in the
NCAA Championship Subdivision, he had just seven tackles with three
sacks in six games in 2013 for Winnipeg. In the 2012 season at
Hamilton, he started 15 games for the Tiger-Cats and recorded 36
defensive tackles and was tied for the team lead in quarterback
sacks with six. He also had one forced fumble, two fumble
recoveries and two pass knockdowns. He spent the first three games
of the season on the injury list, and made his first Tiger-Cats
appearance at Saskatchewan on July 28, 2012. He scored his first
defensive touchdown on a one yard fumble recovery against Winnipeg
on Oct. 27, 2012. Peach signed as a free agent with Hamilton on
Feb. 18, 2012. He originally signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in
May 2009, and in his first game as a pro a month later on June 17,
Peach had a pair of sacks in a 45-12 preseason win over
Saskatchewan. He went on to finish with a team-leading six sacks in
the regular season as he played alongside fellow former Eagle Dario
Romero, who also had six sacks. Peach finished with a total of 45
tackles as he started all 16 of the games he played. He had five
tackles in a 24-21 first-round playoff loss to Calgary after
Edmonton finished the regular season 9-9. In his second season,
Peach started the first game at defensive end, but left with a left
ankle injury during the first quarter and did not return. He was
placed on the nine-game injured list and returned to the lineup for
game 11. In nine games (nine starts) he had 28 defensive tackles,
four quarterback sacks, two tackles for losses (four yards), a
forced fumble, a knockdown and a blocked conversion attempt. In
2011, Peach missed six games after having mid-season knee surgery.
But he started 10 of the 12 games he played while playing both on
the defensive line and at linebacker. He finished the year with 21
defensive tackles, three sacks, four special teams tackles, an
interception, a tackle for a loss of 1 yard, a knockdown, a forced
fumble and a fumble recovery for 13 yards. He was named CFL
Defensive Player of the Week for his four tackles and two sacks
against Calgary on July 23, but left the game in the fourth quarter
with his knee injury. He was signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on
Feb. 18, 2012. Because of an ankle injury, he didn’t make his
first 2012 appearance until July 21, and then had three tackles and
one sack in his first two games of the season. Peach finished his
Eastern career with 35 1/2 sacks and 63 total tackles for loss to
set school records in both categories, as well as in a single
season (18 sacks and 28 tackles for loss in 2008). He finished his
career ranked second in both single season and career sacks in the
Big Sky and fourth in FCS history. He finished his career as a
two-time FCS All-American after starting 40 of a total of 47 games
played. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100”
All-Time Team in 2008.
Shea Emry – Linebacker – 2005-06
Drafted in the first round of the 2008 CFL draft by the Montreal Alouettes.
Emry enters his seventh season in the CFL in 2014, but is now
with Toronto after playing all six previous seasons for Montreal.
He entered the season with 261 tackles, 13 sacks and three fumble
recoveries in his career. A former Eagle linebacker who concluded
his playing career at the University of British Columbia, Emry
helped lead Montreal to the 2009 and 2010 Grey Cup championships.
His 2012 season was by far his most prolific, in which he recorded
87 tackles and seven sacks, and was named a CFL All-Star and the
East Division’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player. He had 16
tackles in 2011 in eight games played. In 2010, the Alouettes
finished 14-6, defeating Saskatchewan 21-18 for the title, as Emry
finished with three tackles. He closed the 2010 season with 58
total tackles, an interception and one sack. The previous year,
Montreal also beat the Roughriders for the title, winning 28-27 in
the title game when Emry had three tackles. The Alouettes finished
17-3, including 15-3 in the regular season as he finished with 52
tackles to rank second on the team. He also had a pair of sacks,
and his season-best tackling performance was seven against British
Columbia on Sept. 13. Emry was the seventh pick overall by the
Montreal Alouettes in the 2008 CFL draft, and finished his rookie
season in 2008 with 25 tackles, including a team-high 21 on special
teams. He had 58 total tackles in 21 games as an Eastern player,
including 46 with an interception in nine games as a sophomore in
2006. He earned honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference honors on
special teams as a freshman in 2005. In 2007, he had 52 tackles for
the UBC Thunderbirds. Emry came to Eastern from Vancouver, B.C.,
and was a 2004 graduate of Vancouver College Prep, which was
coached by former Eastern quarterback Todd Bernett
Erik Meyer – Quarterback – 2002-03-04-05
Signed a contract with Cincinnati of the NFL in 2006.
Meyer, the 2005 Walter Payton Award winner and 2013 MVP of the
Arena Football League, has played since 2010 for the Spokane
Shock in the AFL. In his five-year career (regular season only), he
has completed 67.7 percent of his passes (762-of-1,125) for 8,721
yards, 199 touchdowns and just 26 interceptions. He has also rushed
for 277 yards and 39 scores. In 2014, he suffered a broken
collarbone and missed six full regular season games. But he
returned with a vengeance, helping the Shock win its final five
games to advance to the playoffs. He finished his 12-game season
with 2,519 yards and 54 touchdowns while completing 66.7 percent of
his passes. He also rushed for a franchise-record 20 touchdowns and
had a team-leading 111 yards. Twice he was the league’s
Player of the Week, including in week 7 when he passed for 244
yards and six touchdowns, and rushed for two more TDs, in a 53-41
win over Tampa Bay. In his first week back after his injury, he was
selected as POW after passing and rushing for three scores each in
a 70-30 romp over San Antonio. In the 2013 regular season, he had
112 passing touchdowns to set a new franchise single season record.
He helped lead the Shock to a 14-4 record and a playoff berth,
while completing 68 percent of his passes for 4,667 yards (259.3
per game) and just 11 interceptions. As a result, he was selected
as the league’s MVP and the AFL Offensive Player of the Year.
He began the 2013 season by attempting his first 193 passes without
an interception, with a remarkable 40 touchdowns and 5-0 record in
that span. In a 66-43 victory over Iowa on April 5, 2013, he
completed 24-of-34 passes for 330 yards and nine TDs. He played in
only three games in the 2012 season before a concussion ended his
season. He was 25-of-45 for 294 yards, six touchdowns and two
interceptions. During the 2011 season – which also was
shortened by a concussion – Meyer completed 75 percent of his
passes (80-of-107) for 967 yards, 22 touchdowns and only three
interceptions in five games. In his debut as an AFL starter on June
10, 2011, he completed 26-of-36 passes for 332 yards, seven
touchdowns and one interception in a 75-54 win over Philadelphia.
In his next game, a 63-60 win over Chicago, he was 15-of-19 for 202
yards, five touchdowns and one interception in just over a half of
action. He suffered a concussion after staking Spokane to a 49-27
lead. He was a backup in 2010 for Spokane and played in two games,
completing 18-of-28 passes for 274 yards and five touchdowns. The
Shock went on to win the AFL Championship – its third league
title in the team’s five-year existence. Included in his
completions was a 31-yard TD pass to former Eastern teammate Raul
Vijil against Utah in a 77-28 victory. Meyer then signed with the
Utah Blaze for the 2011 season, but did not throw a pass before
being traded back to Spokane in June 2011. Previously, he signed on
Feb. 25, 2009, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL but was
released on May 27. In 2008, he was signed and released by the
Oakland Raiders after missing the 2007 NFL season to recover from a
broken leg suffered just after he was signed and released by the
Seattle Seahawks. He played in spring and summer 2007 for the
Cologne Centurions in NFL Europa, taking over as the starter in the
third game of the season and helping the team to a 6-4 record. He
completed 68.8 percent of his passes to set a NFL Europa record
that will never be broken (the NFL decided to cease existence of
the league shortly after the season). He ranked second among NFLE
quarterbacks with a passer rating of 101.1. He completed 141-of-241
passes for 1,612 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Meyer
also added 138 rushing yards and one touchdown. He was NFL
Europa’s Player of the Week after his performance for the
Cologne Centurions in a key victory over the Amsterdam Admirals on
June 9. He completed 21-of-29 passes for 287 yards, three
touchdowns and no interceptions during Cologne’s 31-13
victory. That performance gave him a league-best quarterback rating
of 138.1 in the game, edging his previous league-best performance
of 136.9 earlier that season against Berlin. He earned the starting
position in week three with a 14-6 victory over the Rhein Fire. At
the time, the win moved the Centurions into second place in the
standings behind the defending champion Frankfurt Galaxy. He helped
fuel a 20-17 comeback victory over Rhein after being down with just
over 20 minutes left in the game. He originally signed a contract
with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006 but was released. Meyer was a
two-time All-American at EWU and was named the Big Sky Conference
Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. Meyer became
just the 12th player in FCS history to throw for at least 4,000
yards in a single season (he finished with 4,003 in 2005). He also
had 30 touchdowns, just five interceptions and a passing efficiency
rating of 169.3. With a completion percentage of .657, 10,261
yards, 84 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions in 42 career games,
Meyer broke the FCS record for efficiency rating by quarterbacks
with at least 400 completions with a rating of 166.47. Meyer became
just the 17th player in FCS history to pass for more than 10,000
yards in his career. He still holds the school’s career
record for passing efficiency, and at one time held records for
attempts, completions, yards and touchdown passes that were broken
by Matt Nichols (2006-09), who was 996-of-1608 for 12,616 yards and
96 touchdowns in his career. Meyer also held the team’s total
offense record with 10,942 yards, but that was broken by the 13,308
of Nichols. Meyer set all three school records for completion
percentage – 90.5 percent versus Northern Arizona on Oct. 9,
2004, 67.8 percent in 2004 and 65.7 percent in his career. Meyer
also broke the single season efficiency record at 171.4 in 2004, a
year before his 2005 campaign when he had school records with 4,003
passing yards and 333.6 yards per game (both broken by Bo Levi
Mitchell in 2011). Eastern selected him to its “100 for
100” All-Time Team in 2008, and a public vote selected Meyer
as the top quarterback in school history.
Isaiah Trufant – Cornerback – 2002-03-04-05
Signed a contract with the Spokane Shock of af2 in 2006.
Entering his fourth NFL season, Trufant is now with the
Cleveland Browns after playing his first four seasons with the New
York Jets. Trufant appeared in 39 career games for the Jets, with
one start. A special teams standout, Trufant entered 2014 with 34
career special teams tackles, including 13 in 2013. He also added
18 career tackles on defense and two passes defensed. He played in
all 16 regular season games in 2013, and finished with 20 total
tackles. He played in nine games for the Jets in 2012, mostly on
special teams, before being sidelined by a knee injury. He finished
the season with 16 tackles and two passes defensed. He made the
first and only start of his career on Oct. 21, 2012, versus New
England when he finished with six tackles in the narrow 29-26 loss.
He also had 16 tackles in four preseason games in 2012, including
five on Aug. 30, 2012, when he started at Philadelphia. In 2011,
after being promoted from the practice squad just 24 hours earlier,
Trufant completed one of the biggest plays of the Jets’ 27-24
season-opening victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11, 2011,
by returning Joe McKnight’s blocked punt 18 yards for a
touchdown that tied the score with five minutes left in the
nationally-televised game. He went on to play in 13 games for the
Jets – mostly on special teams – and finished with
eight total tackles. He had two of his tackles in the opener versus
Dallas. Trufant was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Eagles
following the 2010 season, but was cut on Aug. 30, 2011, and signed
by the Jets the next day. He was on New York’s practice squad
and active roster in December 2010. He played in one regular-season
game and one playoff game for the Jets, and finished with two
special teams tackles in his NFL debut versus Buffalo on Jan. 2,
2011. Prior to his first NFL invitation, he had played in three
different leagues in five seasons as a professional. Trufant was
the Defensive Player of the Year in the United Football League in
2010 after leading the league with four interceptions and finishing
the regular season (nine games) with 30 tackles. He led the
Locomotives to its second-straight UFL title, defeating the Florida
Tuskers 23-20, as Trufant finished with three tackles. In a 22-10
regular season victory over Omaha, Trufant returned an interception
for a touchdown to give Las Vegas a lead it never relinquished. He
then had a second interception, which catapulted Las Vegas to first
in the UFL standings and handed the Nighthawks their first
franchise defeat. He also played in 2009 for Las Vegas during the
debut season of the UFL. He had an interception in overtime that
led to the winning field goal in a 20-17 victory over Florida in
the inaugural UFL Championship Game. During the regular season, he
had 12 1/2 tackles in helping Las Vegas to a 4-2 record. Trufant
played in 2008 for the Arizona Rattlers in the AFL after spending
the 2007 season with the Kansas City Brigade. Although he missed
three of the team’s first 14 games (8-6 record) because of an
injury, Trufant led the Rattlers with 62 tackles, four
interceptions and 17 passes broken up. He was the Arena Football
League’s Defensive Player of the Week in early June when he
helped the Rattlers clinch a playoff berth with a 60-53 win over
Orlando. He had an interception and two forced fumbles in
Orlando’s first four possessions of the game as the Arizona
defense allowed just 13 points in the first half. In 2007 he played
for the Kansas City Brigade, but was injured and played in only
half of KC’s games. He led the team with 17 passes broken up
and added 52 1/2 tackles, three fumble recoveries and one
interception. He suffered a neck sprain against the padding of the
sideline on May 20, 2007, and missed the next three games. At the
time of his injury he was leading the Brigade in tackles. He was
the league’s defensive player of the week in a 65-31 victory
over Las Vegas when he had an interception, four passes broken up,
a forced fumble and 4 1/2 tackles. In 2006, he joined four other
former Eagles to lead Spokane to a 17-2 record and the af2 title in
the team’s inaugural season in the league. In 19 games, he
finished with 43 total tackles, 15 passes broken up and three
interceptions. He had seven passes broken up and six tackles in a
playoff semifinal game as he earned defensive player of the game
honors. While at EWU, Trufant was a first team All-Big Sky
Conference selection as a junior in 2004 before missing several
games with an injury as a senior. He finished with 11 interceptions
in his career to finish ranked sixth in school history. The brother
of former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant and former
Husky and current Atlanta Falcon cornerback Desmond Trufant, Isaiah
had career totals of 133 tackles and 24 passes broken up, which
ranked sixth in school history. His total of 35 passes defensed
(including interceptions and passes broken up) ranked seventh in
FCS history. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100”
All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top
defensive back in school history (along with Kurt Schulz).
Muhammad Shamsid-Deen – Def. Back –
Signed a contract with Tri-Cities Fever of af2 in 2007.
Shamsid-Deen played in 2014 in the inaugural season for the Trenton Freedom in the Professional Indoor League. He played for the Allen Wranglers in the Indoor Football League in 2012 after playing for the IFL’s Arizona Adrenaline in 2011. In 2011, he had 30 tackles, five interceptions and a pair of passes broken up in 10 games played. He played the 2009 and 2010 seasons for the Billings Outlaws in the IFL. He had 38 tackles and six passes broken up in nine regular season games in 2010, then led the Outlaws to its second-straight IFL title before the franchise folded. He had 39.5 tackles, six interceptions and five passes broken up in helping league-champion Billings to a 12-2 regular season record in 2009. The Outlaws went on to defeat the RiverCity Rage in the inaugural United Bowl in August 2009. In 2008, he played for the Stockton Lightning in af2, with 62 total tackles, three interceptions and seven passes broken up in 12 games. Earlier in the year he signed with the Arkansas Twisters of af2 after spending the 2007 season playing for the Tri-Cities Fever. He finished 2007 with 51 tackles and also had two interceptions, seven passes broken up and a fumble recovery. Known for his hard hits, he finished his 46-game Eastern career with 139 tackles, five passes broken up and five forced fumbles (second in EWU history at the time).
Ryan Phillips – Defensive Back –
Signed a contract with the B.C. Lions of the CFL in 2005.
A 10-year veteran of the CFL, Phillips was a 2013 West Division All-Star for the fourth time in nine seasons playing for British Columbia. He extended his active games-played streak to 162 in the 2013 season, and has 146 starts, 37 interceptions and 388 tackles in his career. His interception total is fourth in franchise history and his tackles are second. He also has 666 yards in interception returns to rank second in franchise history. Four times he has returned an interception for a touchdown, and in five of his CFL seasons he has had at least four interceptions. He has nine career fumble recoveries for 55 yards in returns, including one returned for a TD. He finished with 36 tackles and a pair of interceptions in the 2013 season. In 2012, he started all 18 games, recording 37 tackles and four interceptions, earning CFL All-Star status for the third time. He led the club with four interceptions, including a 23-yard return on Oct. 16, 2012, versus Calgary. All four of Ryan’s interceptions came during the club’s final six regular season games. In 2011 he started all 18 games plus the Western Final (40-23 win over Edmonton) and Grey Cup (34-23 loss to Winnipeg) games. Phillips recorded 46 regular season tackles (fifth on the team) and led the way with seven pass breakups. He led the Lions with four interceptions, which he returned for 112 yards and one TD (Sept. 24 versus Saskatchewan). He tied for ninth in the CFL with his four picks and recorded a season-high five tackles on two occasions. With his four interceptions, Phillips made it five out of seven career years with at least three picks. Phillips returned to all-star form in 2010 by recording his second-highest totals for interceptions (five) and return yards (109). He also had a career-best four sacks after getting just one in his first five seasons in the league. He was named to both the Western Division and CFL All-Star teams in 2010, and started all 18 games for the sixth-straight season. A key defender at halfback, Phillips also spent time on special teams and finished with a pair of special teams tackles. He was voted CFL Defensive Player of the Week for Week No. 18 after he had a pair of interceptions for 33 return yards versus Saskatchewan. He had a season-high eight tackles (one away from his career high) on Oct. 16, 2010, versus Edmonton. The Lions were 8-10 in the regular season before losing 56-18 to eventual CFL champion Montreal in the playoffs, as Phillips finished with six tackles and an interception in the loss. In 2009, he had four interceptions, a pair of fumble recoveries and 38 tackles as an 18-game starter for the Lions, who finished the regular season 8-10 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. He scored on a 60-yard interception return and a 21-yard fumble recovery. In 2008, he started all 18 regular season games at defensive halfback and finished with 43 tackles, nine passes broken up and one interception. He then had two interceptions at Saskatchewan in the West Semi-Final, which included a 54-yard return for a TD to seal the win in the fourth quarter. For his heroics, he earned CFL Defensive Player of the Week honors. He led the league in interceptions in 2007 with 12 en route to earning CFL All-Star and CFL West Division All-Star accolades. He also had the third-highest interception return yards total in league history with 299, including one pick returned for a touchdown. He also led the Lions with 11 passes broken up and ranked fourth on the team with 65 total tackles. In 2006, he played in all 18 games for British Columbia as the Lions won the Grey Cup. He finished the season with 28 total tackles, two interceptions (one for a 23-yard TD), two fumble recoveries and three pass knockdowns. He added the club’s only interception in the West Championship and chipped in three tackles in the Grey Cup. He played the 2005 season as a defensive halfback for the Lions, starting 18 games and ranking third on the team with 56 tackles. He also had three interceptions and was the CFL’s Defensive Player of the Month in August. The Lions finished 12-6 and were the West Division Champions. Phillips was a first team All-Big Sky Conference selection in 2004 as he concluded his 18-game Eagle career with 61 tackles, six interceptions and 10 passes broken up on defense. He also rushed for 88 yards, caught three passes for 17 yards and had 21 kickoff returns for a 22.0 average per return.
Keith Grennan – Defensive Line – 2005-06
Signed a contract with San Diego of the NFL in 2007.
Grennan played in 2010 and 2011 with the Hartford Colonials of
the United Football League. He had originally re-signed with the
Cleveland Browns on Jan. 6, 2010, but he was released before ever
playing in a game for Cleveland. He was on the practice squad of
the Browns for part of the 2009 season, having been signed on Sept.
9 after being released by the San Diego Chargers. In 2008, he
played in one game for the Chargers, finishing with a tackle in his
regular season NFL debut against Indianapolis on Nov. 23, 2008. In
four preseason games in 2008, he had 10 total tackles. He survived
the final cuts in San Diego as a rookie in 2007 and spent the
season as a practice squad player after recording six tackles in
four preseason games. He earned honorable mention All-Big Sky
Conference honors as a senior at Eastern in 2006. He had 37 tackles
with a pair of sacks in his final season as an Eagle, giving him
career totals of 65 tackles and five sacks in his 21-game career. A
transfer from Central Washington, he started all 11 games at
defensive tackle for EWU in 2006, giving him 15 total career
Harrison Nikolao – Offensive Line – 2003-04-05-06
Signed a contract with Cincinnati of the NFL in 2007.
Nikolao played three seasons for the Spokane Shock in the Arena
Football League after a short stint with the Philadelphia Soul in
AFL. He played for Spokane in 2010 before going on injured reserve
on June 24, 2010. The Shock would go on to finish 16-3 and win the
AFL title in its first year in that league. In 2009, Nikolao helped
lead the Shock to a final record of 19-1 (15-1 in the regular
season) and the af2 title. He rushed for 217 yards and 10
touchdowns in 20 games as the team’s fullback and backup
lineman. In 2008, he had 19 total tackles with seven sacks as a
defensive lineman. He helped Spokane to an 18-2 record in 2008 and
an af2 championship game appearance. Signed by Cincinnati after his
EWU career concluded, he was released by the Bengals on Sept. 1,
2007. At EWU, he started eight games as a senior offensive guard in
2006 after earning All-Big Sky honors as a defensive lineman his
junior season. He started a total of 32 games in his career,
including 23 on defense and one start on offense in 2004. He had 80
tackles, 7 1/2 sacks and two passes broken up in his career.
Raul Vijil – Wide Receiver – 2002-03-04-05
Signed a contract with the Spokane Shock of af2 in 2006.
Vijil played for the Spokane Shock the first six seasons the
team was in existence, earning first team All-af2 honors in 2007,
2008 and 2009. He caught nearly 500 regular season passes and
scored more than 160 touchdowns while helping Spokane to an
all-time record of 91-23 and playoff berths each season
(2006-2011). In 74 regular season games in his career, he had 489
catches for 5,701 yards and 151 touchdowns, with another 23
touchdowns scored via rushing or returns and a career total of
9,243 all-purpose yards. He finished his final season in 2011 with
68 catches for 749 yards and 20 touchdowns, with a total of 757
all-purpose yards and one more score via a kickoff return.
Although a knee injury kept Vijil sidelined for the last nine games
of the 2010 season, the Shock finished 16-3 and won the AFL title
– its third championship in the franchise’s short,
five-year history. In the 10 games he played in the 2010 season,
Vijil caught 82 passes for 1,083 yards and 33 touchdowns, and also
had 541 yards and a touchdown in 28 kick returns. In 2009, Vijil
led the Shock to a final record of 19-1 (15-1 in the regular
season) and the af2 title. He caught 116 passes for 1,415 yards and
36 touchdowns in the 15 regular season games he played. He also had
54 kick returns for 1,119 yards and another touchdown, and five
rushes for three yards and two more scores. In four playoff games,
he had 28 catches for 284 yards and four TDs, four kick returns for
94 yards and three rushes for seven yards and another score. He
finished 14 games in the 2008 regular season with 107 catches for
1,112 yards and 35 touchdowns, with 42 total TDs. He added 35
catches for 426 yards and nine more touchdowns in four playoff
games. He was plagued by injuries in 2007, but finished with 57
catches for 616 yards and 15 touchdowns, scoring a total of 16
touchdowns in nine games. He and four other former Eagles helped
lead the 2006 team to a 17-2 record and the af2 title in
Spokane’s inaugural season in the league. In 16 regular
season games as a rookie in 2006, Vijil scored 22 touchdowns, with
59 catches for 626 yards and 12 scores. He was the team’s
leading rusher with 30 carries for 68 yards and 10 TDs, and he
added 24 1/2 total tackles and four passes broken up. Vijil
finished his 44-game EWU career with 129 receptions for 1,966 yards
and 10 touchdowns, including 72 catches for 1,080 yards and eight
touchdowns as a senior in 2005 to earn second team All-Big Sky
Conference honors. At the time, his 72 receptions ranked as the
third-most in school history, and his 1,080 yards were fourth. He
finished just out of the top 15 on EWU’s all-time receptions
lists and the top 10 in yardage. Eastern selected him to its
“100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Josh Blankenship – Quarterback – 2002
Signed a contract with Miami of the NFL in 2003.
Blankenship helped the Tulsa Talons to the af2 championship game
in 2007. However, a mid-season injury made his contribution minimal
after leading Tulsa to victories in its first seven games of the
season. Tulsa won the title with a 73-66 victory over
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but Blankenship did not play. Blankenship
passed for 43 touchdowns in those first seven games before
suffering a foot injury (strained arch support). He played in just
six games after that. In 13 games, Blankenship completed 54 percent
of his passes for 2,365 yards, 54 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Tulsa was 17-2, including three playoff victories. In 2006 while
playing for the Stockton Lightning, he threw for 4,052 yards and 82
TDs. He played the 2005 season with Tulsa of af2 after a previous
stint on the practice squad of the Austin Wranglers of the AFL. He
played in all 16 games in the 2005 season and finished second in
the league with 89 touchdown passes to go along with 3,554 yards.
He was sixth in efficiency rating (113.3) and 12th in total offense
(3,591). He had three 300-yard passing games as Tulsa finished
11-5. A year earlier, he also played for Austin before signing with
the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL, but was released prior to the
start of the 2004 season. He originally signed a contract with the
Miami Dolphins, then he was waived in June 2003 just four days
after the team signed veteran Brian Griese. A month earlier,
Miami’s quarterbacks coach Mike Shula – a Blankenship
fan – took the head coaching job at Alabama in the wake of
the firing of Mike Price. Injuries in a freak car accident (caused
by his dog) ended Blankenship’s playing hopes that season. A
transfer from the University of Tulsa, Blankenship concluded his
career at Eastern in 2002 by passing for school records of 3,243
yards and 30 touchdowns. He earned honorable mention All-America
honors and was the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year, Newcomer
of the Year and a first team All-Big Sky selection. He had a hand
in all 10 school records the Eagles broke that season, which ended
when he passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-21 win
over unbeaten and top-ranked Montana, snapping UM’s FCS
record 24-game winning streak. Eastern selected him to its
“100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Lamont Brightful – Wide Receiver/Returner – 1998-99-00-01
Drafted in the 6th round (195th overall) by Baltimore in the 2002 NFL Draft.
A return specialist who also played as a pro cornerback,
Brightful played sparingly in the 2007 season for Calgary in the
CFL after starting the season with the Montreal Alouettes. In
Montreal, he was one of four former Eagles on that team –
Brightful, Luke Fritz, Dario Romero and Jesse Hendrix. In 2006 in
Montreal, he finished with 23 tackles, two interceptions and five
knockdowns in 10 games. He also averaged 5.3 yards on 10 punt
returns and 21.4 on seven kickoff returns. Prior to joining the
Alouettes, he was with the New York Giants after signing a contract
on Jan. 7, 2005, but he did not play in any 2005 regular season
games. He played in spring/summer 2005 for Frankfurt in NFL Europa
and had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown while leading the
team in kickoff return average (27.4) and interceptions (four). He
played in 30 NFL games from 2002-04, including his first 28 with
the Baltimore Ravens and two in the 2004 season with Miami. He
returned 68 kickoffs (22.7 average) and 69 punts (9.9 average) in
his NFL career with one touchdown. For Baltimore in 2003, he
averaged 24.7 yards on 29 kickoff returns and 7.8 on 45 punt
returns. As a Baltimore rookie in 2002, he averaged 20.6 yards on
34 kickoff returns. He also returned 15 punts for a team-record
16.1 average that ranked eighth in the NFL and third in the AFC. He
had a team-record 95-yard punt return in a 38-27 win against
Cincinnati to earn AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He
finished with 201 total return yards against the Bengals, including
a season-best 54-yard kickoff return. Brightful was the 195th pick
overall in the NFL Draft in 2002. While at Eastern, Brightful was a
three-time All-American as a return specialist. He set three FCS
records, including career kickoff return average (30.0) and career
KO return touchdowns (five). He caught 122 passes for 2,061 yards
and 20 touchdowns. Eastern selected him to its “100 for
100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Jesse Chatman – Running Back – 1999-00-01
Signed a contract with San Diego of the NFL in 2002.
After returning to the NFL in a big, yet smaller, way in 2007,
Chatman signed a contract with the New York Jets on March 10, 2008.
He finished the year with five carries for eight yards and two
passes caught for five yards. In his seven-year career, Chatman
played in 58 regular season NFL games and rushed for 951 yards (4.5
per carry) and four touchdowns, and caught 39 passes for 281 yards.
On special teams, he returned eight kickoffs for an 18.9 average
and had 38 total tackles. Although he did not play in the 2005 and
2006 seasons, a full-page spread in the Oct. 1, 2007, issue of
Sports Illustrated explained how he lost 60 pounds and
worked himself back into the league as a starter for the Miami
Dolphins. He finished the season with 515 yards, including a
career-best 124 yards on 27 carries on Nov. 11 in a 13-10 loss to
Buffalo when he also caught five passes for 25 more yards. He made
his first NFL start on Oct. 28 in a 13-10 loss to the New York
Giants in the first-ever NFL regular season game at Wembley Stadium
in London. He finished with 79 yards on 16 carries (4.9 per carry),
and had three catches for 21 yards. Injuries caused him to start
gaining weight when he played for the San Diego Chargers in 2004,
and subsequently he was released and did not play in 2005 and 2006.
He ballooned to a high of 283 pounds before diet and exercise
helped him lose the weight. Chatman started working out at all
hours, and switched from fried food to oatmeal, spinach and
stir-fry. With his weight at 223 pounds, he earned a Miami roster
spot in the 2007 preseason when he had a team-leading 116 rushing
yards (6.4 per carry) with two touchdowns, and added six receptions
for 52 yards. He was listed in the “Who’s Hot”
section in the Aug. 20, 2007, issue of Sports Illustrated.
Here’s what the magazine had to say about Chatman, who rushed
for 4,173 yards and 53 touchdowns from 1999-2001 at Eastern:
Running back Jesse Chatman gained 392 yards (on just 65 carries) for the Chargers in 2004. Then he gained 50 pounds and missed two seasons. Now looking svelte in a Dolphins uni, he broke off a 74-yard TD run last Saturday. Chatman: “I’m not going to take this for granted.”
The Dolphins originally re-signed Chatman on Feb. 21, 2007, and allocated him to NFL Europa, where he did not make it past the final cuts. He spent time in the 2005 season with both the New Orleans Saints and the Dolphins after being released by the San Diego Chargers. Prior to that, he played in 41 regular season NFL games in three seasons with San Diego after impressive performances in the preseason. In 2004, he rushed for 392 yards and scored three touchdowns as an injury replacement to All-Pro LaDainian Tomlinson. He scored his first career touchdown against Tennessee to preserve a 38-17 victory, then he had his first 100-yard game with 103 yards on 11 carries versus Jacksonville. Against Carolina, he replaced Tomlinson in the fourth quarter and had a 52-yard run before scoring on a 5-yard run for the decisive points in a 17-6 win. In the 2003 preseason, his best performance was 114 yards – his first 100-yard performance as a pro – in a home win over San Francisco the night before Eastern played at San Diego State in the same stadium. In 2002, Chatman earned a roster position with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent after leading the NFL in rushing during the preseason with 234 yards on 46 carries and a 5.1 average per carry. While at EWU, Chatman led FCS in rushing as a senior All-American as he finished with 2,096 yards and 28 touchdowns. The Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year broke five BSC records and 19 school marks en route to finishing with 4,173 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top running back in school history.
Dario Romero – Defensive Line – 1997-98-99-00
Signed a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in 2001.
Romero ended his long professional career by being signed and released by Saskatchewan in the CFL in 2011 prior to what would have been his 11th season as a professional. He finished with 143 career regular season tackles in six CFL seasons, including 20 sacks to go along with an interception and three fumble recoveries. Romero played the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons with Edmonton where his professional career started back in 2001. He finished with 24 tackles, a sack and fumble recovery in 2010 as a 15-game starter while playing alongside fellow former Eagle Greg Peach, as they helped the Eskimos finish 7-11. In 2009, Romero was a West Division All-Star after starting all 12 games he played before a bicep injury ended his season. He finished with 22 tackles and two knockdowns to go along with a team-leading six sacks in the regular season. He played alongside Peach, who also had six sacks as a rookie. Edmonton finished the regular season 9-9, then suffered a 24-21 first-round playoff loss to Calgary. In 2008, Romero had 30 defensive tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, four tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks. He had two sacks versus Hamilton on July 25 and two against Saskatchewan on Aug. 21. Romero earned CFL Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Roughriders as the Eskimo defense limited Saskatchewan to just 279 yards of net offense. He played in 16 games with 15 starts, and was named a 2008 West Division All-Star as Edmonton advanced to the playoffs. Before returning to Edmonton, he had played four seasons with the Miami Dolphins in the NFL and two with Montreal in the CFL. In 2007, he joined former Eagles Luke Fritz, Jesse Hendrix and Lamont Brightful on the Alouettes roster and finished with 28 tackles and four sacks in 18 games played. He also added two tackles for loss, two passes broken up, one interception and a fumble recovery. He missed several games for Montreal in the 2006 season with an injury, but finished with 19 tackles. He spent the 2005 season on the roster of the Miami Dolphins after signing a contract on March 28, 2005. He played in 15 games for Miami in 2004, making the second start of his career on Nov. 21 at Seattle. He finished the year with 35 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks. He played in eight games with the Dolphins in 2003, finishing with five tackles and a pass broken up. The first start of his career came in Miami’s season-ending 23-21 victory over the New York Jets. He didn’t play in any games in 2002 after signing a contract with the Dolphins on Jan. 16, 2002. His professional career began in the 2001 season for the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. He played in 11 games as a starter for the Eskimos, finishing with 23 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two tackles for loss in 11 games. He earned third team All-America honors at EWU in 2000 and twice was selected to the All-Big Sky first team. He finished his career with 22 sacks to rank fifth in school history. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Luke Fritz – Offensive Line – 1997-98-99-00
Signed a contract with Carolina of the NFL in 2001.
Fritz played nine seasons and 139 total regular season games in
the CFL, including his last two playing for the Winnipeg Blue
Bombers and the previous seven seasons with the Montreal Alouettes.
He capped his career with a prestigious CFL honor. In December
2010, he was the winner of a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant to
help end child hunger in Manitoba, and was awarded a check in
Edmonton, Alberta, during the Grey Cup Weekend. Fritz was
among eight CFL players to partner with the Pepsi Refresh Project
to come up with “refreshing” ideas to make Canada a
better place. The coveted grant went to Fritz’s charity
of choice, Winnipeg Harvest, to support the Hunger for Hope
program, which supplies infant formula to thousands of babies in
Manitoba who would otherwise go hungry. Over the course of the CFL
playoff season as excitement was building toward Grey Cup weekend,
the field of eight finalists was reduced to four, then two, and
eventually Fritz was selected. As a result of his off-the-field
efforts, Fritz received EWU’s Tom Oswald Award following the
2010 season. The Tom Oswald Memorial Award was created in 2007 in
the memory of former Cheney High School coach Tom Oswald, who
succumbed to cancer on Aug. 4, 2006. Recipients are selected by the
Eastern coaching staff for following Oswald’s creed of
“Doing the Right Thing” for youth. He played in 36
total games in two seasons for the Blue Bombers as both a guard and
tackle. He helped the Blue Bombers to a 7-11 record in 2009 and a
4-14 mark in 2010. With Fritz on the roster, Montreal played in
five Grey Cups – the Alouettes won in 2002 and lost in 2003,
2005, 2006 and 2008. He was one of four former Eagles on
Montreal’s team in 2007 – Fritz, Lamont Brightful,
Dario Romero and Jesse Hendrix. In his seven seasons with Montreal,
Fritz played 103 games, including 53 starts. Fritz was drafted by
Montreal as the seventh pick in the first round of the 2001 CFL
Draft, but he pursued NFL opportunities first before settling in
the CFL. He spent the preseason in 2001 and 2002 with the Carolina
Panthers before being released. Fritz also played the 2002 season
as a backup guard for the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europa after
being drafted in the fourth round of the 2002 allocation draft. He
played two games at the end of the 2002 CFL season as the Alouettes
won the Grey Cup, then played six full seasons in Montreal. He
started all 19 games for the Alouettes at right tackle in 2004 and
received a tryout with the New York Jets of the NFL. Fritz helped
start the Elite Football Camp in Montreal while he was there. At
Eastern, Fritz started 37 games as an Eagle and earned honorable
mention All-America honors in 2000. Eastern selected him to its
“100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008. His brother Mitch
played in the 2008-09 season for the New York Islanders in the NHL
before becoming a part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization
until he retired.
Bashir Levingston – Return Specialist – 1998
Signed a contract with the NY Giants of the NFL in 1999.
After a stint in the NFL with the New York Giants and Miami
Dolphins, Levingston spent five full seasons in the CFL. He spent
most of his first five seasons with the Toronto Argonauts before
becoming a member of the Montreal Alouettes late in the 2007
season. His career included 15 total touchdowns on returns, one CFL
Special Teams Player of the Year Award (2003), CFL All-Star
accolades (2003) and two East Division All-Star honors (2003,
2004). While at Toronto, he scored a club-record 15 career
touchdowns on returns, ranking second in the history of the league.
He returned 277 punts for 2,949 yards (10.6 average) and eight
touchdowns; 152 kickoffs for 3,454 yards (22.7 average) and three
touchdowns; and 23 missed field goals for 818 yards (35.6 average)
and four scores. Early in the 2007 season, he returned a missed
field goal a CFL-record 129 yards for a touchdown to earn the
league’s Special Teams Player of the Week award. He finished
the regular season averaging 51.3 yards on three missed field goal
returns, 18.6 on kickoff returns and 5.6 on punt returns. In 2006,
he returned a punt for a touchdown and had an 11.3 average per punt
return and 19.7 average per kickoff return. He also scored on a
50-yard reception – his only catch of the season. In 2005, he
scored twice, with averages of 20.4 on kickoff returns, 10.2 on
punt returns with a TD and 34.3 and a TD on seven missed field goal
returns. In 2004, he returned five kicks for touchdowns (two punts,
two missed field goals and a kickoff) en route to helping Toronto
win the Grey Cup. A year earlier, he finished the 2003 season by
winning the league’s John Agro Special Teams Player of the
Year Award. He returned a league-record five kicks for scores,
including CFL record-tying marks of two kickoff returns for
touchdowns and three punt returns for scores. He led the league in
punt return yards and average (811, 13.5 average), as well as
kickoff return yards (881, 30.0 average). Three times during the
season, he earned CFL Special Teams Player of the Week accolades,
including once after a losing effort in the semifinals of the CFL
Playoffs. At Toronto in 2002, he had 19 tackles, two interceptions
and a forced fumble on defense in 11 games. He returned 13 kickoffs
for 309 yards (23.8 average) and 33 punts for 570 yards (17.3
average) with two touchdowns. He sparked a 24-14 playoff win over
Saskatchewan by returning a lateral on a punt return 76 yards for a
touchdown to earn CFL Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He
also played sparingly for Toronto in 2001 after being released by
Edmonton. He attended mini-camps with the Miami Dolphins in 2003,
but he was released prior to training camp. Previously, he played
for the New York Giants from 1999-2000 as a return specialist and
cornerback. He was mainly a special teams player as a Giants rookie
in 1999, finishing with 14 tackles, two passes defensed and one
interception he returned 34 yards. He also ranked eighth in the NFL
with a 24.2 average in 22 kickoff returns with a long of 35. In
2000, he missed the first eight games with an ankle injury, then
played in three games. He finished the season with three tackles
and a 21.9 average on seven kickoff returns. Levingston spent the
spring of 2000 playing for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europa. He
led the league in punt returns and kickoff returns while ranking
third in interceptions with three, including a 45-yard return for a
touchdown. He averaged 13.3 yards in 20 punt returns with a long of
49, and averaged 28.1 yards in 15 kickoff returns with an 89-yard
touchdown. He also had 23 tackles and a team-high 10 passes broken
up. Levingston played just one season at Eastern in 1998 after
transferring from Utah State, but he set or tied 34 school, Big Sky
and FCS records. He returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in the
same game against Sacramento State to help break most of the
records, and also scored during the season on two punt returns.
Including receiving and rushing, he averaged 25.0 yards every time
he touched the ball, and scored every 5.3 times he touched the ball
(12 total touchdowns). He was a first team All-America return
specialist and Football Gazette’s Specialist of the
Year. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100”
All-Time Team in 2008.
Jeff Ogden – Wide Receiver – 1995-96-97
Signed a contract with Dallas of the NFL in 1998.
Spending his college and professional career defying the odds,
Ogden played five seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys (1998
and 1999), Miami Dolphins (2000 and 2001) and Baltimore Ravens
(2002) as a wide receiver and return specialist. In five NFL
seasons, he played in 67 games – including 64 of a possible
64 games in his first four years in the league with 28 catches for
304 yards (10.9 average) and one touchdown. He concluded his career
in 2002 by playing in three games for the Ravens and had two punt
returns for 21 yards. However, in the previous four seasons, he
played in all 16 games each year. In 2001, he caught six passes for
73 yards and a touchdown, and also returned 32 punts for 377 yards
(11.8 average). In 2000, he had two catches for 24 yards, and
returned 19 punts for a 17.0 average per return with an 81-yard
return for a touchdown. Had he met the minimum to be ranked, he
would have led the NFL in average per return. In 1999, he played in
all 16 games for the Cowboys and finished with 12 catches for 144
yards and returned 12 kickoffs for a 21.0 average and four punts
for a 7.0 average. As a rookie at Dallas in 1998, Ogden earned a
spot on the team’s 53-man roster after catching seven passes
for 126 yards in the preseason. He played in all 16 regular season
games, finishing with eight catches for 63 yards, one rush for 12
yards and three kickoff returns for a 21.7 average. He also had 10
special teams tackles. He had his best day as a rookie against
Seattle when he caught four passes for 26 yards, rushed once for 12
yards and had a tackle on special teams. He spent the spring/summer
of 2000 leading the Rhein Fire of NFL Europa to the regular season
championship (7-3 record) and the championship in the World Bowl.
He ranked third in the league in receiving with 44 catches for 635
yards and seven touchdowns, and earned three player of the week
awards before missing the last two weeks of the season with an
injury. Ogden came to Eastern as a walk-on who previously competed
in track and field at Clackamas Community College in Oregon. By the
time he was a senior in 1997, he developed into a second team
All-America receiver and first team Academic All-American. He
caught 57 passes in 1997 for school records of 1,148 yards and 13
touchdowns as Eastern enjoyed its greatest season ever with a 12-2
record. The Eagles won the Big Sky Conference title and advanced to
the FCS “Final Four.” Eastern selected him to its
“100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote
selected him as the top wide receiver in school history.
Tom Ackerman – Offensive Guard – 1992-93-94-95
Drafted in the 5th round (145th overall) by New Orleans in the 1996 NFL Draft.
Ackerman played eight seasons in the NFL, including the first
six with the New Orleans Saints and the 2002 and 2003 seasons with
the Tennessee Titans. He played in 105 career games, including 21
as a starter. Mainly used as a special teams player his first two
seasons in the NFL, he appeared in 14 games in 1997 after playing
in two games as a rookie in 1996. He started at center in 10 of the
15 games he played in 1998, and in 1999, he played in eight games
as a starter and eight as a reserve. Following the 1999 season, he
signed a four-year, $6.89 million contract to remain with the New
Orleans Saints, then played as a backup in 15 games in 2000 and 16
in 2001 before leaving the team. He was signed by the Oakland
Raiders on May 22, 2002, but was released and signed with
Tennessee. In 2002, he played in 11 games and started three for the
Titans, who advanced to the AFC Championship Game and finished the
season 12-6. In 2003, he played in 16 games as a backup. Ackerman
was the 145th pick overall in the 1996 NFL Draft and was the first
offensive lineman in Washington and the Big Sky Conference to be
taken. He was a third team All-American at EWU following his senior
season in 1995. Eastern selected him to its “100 for
100” All-Time Team in 2008. He was inducted into the
Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, 2013.
Jackie Kellogg – Defensive Back – 1990-91-92-93
Signed a contract with San Francisco of the NFL in 1994.
Kellogg played in four different professional leagues during his
nearly decade-long career, including a highly-successful eight
seasons from 1995-2002 in the CFL. He played 6 1/2 years with the
Calgary Stampeders and the last 1 1/2 years of his career with the
Edmonton Eskimos. He helped the Stampeders win the 1998 Grey Cup
and played in 14 playoff games, including four Grey Cups (1995,
1998, 1999 and 2002). In his career (including playoffs), he played
in 117 games and had 301 tackles, 18 passes broken up, eight sacks
and 28 interceptions for 507 yards in returns (18.1 average) with
six touchdowns. He equaled his career-high with 55 tackles in 20
games in 2002, and in 1998 and 1999, he was selected to the West
Division All-CFL team. In 1998, he ranked second in the CFL with
eight interceptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. He also had 55
tackles in a total of 20 games as Calgary beat Hamilton 26-24 to
win the CFL championship. In 1999, Calgary lost 32-21 to Hamilton
in the Grey Cup as Kellogg earned CFL Defensive Player of the Week
for his performance in the playoff semifinals (the third POW award
in his career). In a total of 20 games, he had six interceptions
for 90 yards in returns and 49 total tackles. His other career
highlights include the 2000 season, when he had 31 tackles, five
interceptions and two sacks. Two of the interceptions were returned
for touchdowns in 2000 – including a 110-yard return –
and twice he was honored as CFL Defensive Player of the Week. In
1997, he joined the team in week 17 and played in just three total
games. But he was selected as the CFL defensive player of the week
in week 18 when he had four tackles, three pass knock downs and a
blocked punt. He joined the Stampeders late in 1995 after being
released by San Francisco in the NFL in the team’s final cuts
just prior to the start of the 1995 regular season. He had the same
fate with the 49ers as a rookie in 1994. In 1995 and 1997, he
played for the Frankfurt Galaxy of the World League. In 1997, he
finished the year with 34 tackles, 10 passes defensed, two
interceptions and an 18.9 kickoff return average. In 1995, he
intercepted three passes in the team’s first game and
finished second in the league with a total of seven. He also had 50
tackles, 14 passes defensed and two blocked kicks. In addition,
after leading Calgary to the CFL playoffs in 2000, he joined
Memphis of the ill-fated XFL in 2001. He had one interception for
the Maniax. At Eastern, Kellogg helped lead the Eagles to the 1992
Big Sky Conference championship and a berth in the FCS Playoffs. He
finished his career with 41 passes broken up, 17 interceptions and
222 tackles, and earned first team All-Big Sky honors as a junior
and senior. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100”
All-Time Team in 2008.
Kurt Schulz – Defensive Back – 1988-89-90-91
Drafted in the 7th round (195th pick overall) by Buffalo in the 1992 NFL Draft.
Schulz played in his 10th NFL season in 2001, including his
final two seasons with the Detroit Lions. In his 129-game career
– 93 as a starter – he had 671 tackles, 30
interceptions, 80 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and three
fumble recoveries. In 2001, he played in 11 games (starting 10),
and had 79 tackles, two interceptions and six passes defensed. In
his first season with the Lions in 2000, he started all 11 of the
games he played before an ankle sprain ended his season. An
alternate for the 2001 Pro Bowl, he finished with 68 total tackles,
10 passes defensed and a career-high seven interceptions to rank
third in both the NFL and NFC. He intercepted Green Bay’s
Brett Favre to seal a 31-24 victory over Green Bay, and he had
three interceptions in a 21-14 win at Chicago to earn NFC Defensive
Player of the Week honors. On Feb. 18, 2000, Schulz signed a
five-year, $10 million contract with the Lions. Prior to that, his
entire eight-year career was spent with the Buffalo Bills, where he
started all 70 games he played in his final five years there. He
started all 16 games in 1999, finishing with 98 tackles, three
interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He finished the 1998 season
with six interceptions to rank eighth in the NFL and fifth in the
AFC. In 1997, he finished with a career-high 107 tackles, two
interceptions and 10 passes defensed after a 1996 campaign that saw
him finish with 102 tackles, four interceptions and a career-high
16 passes defensed. In 1995, he was a UPI second team All-AFC
selection after ranking second in the AFC with six interceptions to
go along with 90 tackles and 15 passes defensed. His first career
interception came against Carolina in 1995 when he returned it 32
yards for a touchdown. He also had a game-saving interception in
the end zone with 52 seconds left against Atlanta in 1995 and was
awarded a game ball for his efforts. He had multi-interception
games against Cincinnati in 1996 and versus St. Louis in 1998. He
had a career-high 12 tackles against St. Louis in 1995. Schulz
played in his first Super Bowl in January 1994 when the Bills lost
to Dallas. He made a touchdown-saving tackle on the game’s
opening kickoff after playing most of the 1993 season with a calf
injury suffered in the preseason. He played in eight regular season
games for Buffalo in 1992, becoming only the sixth Bills rookie
since 1988 to start when he made his only start of the season
against San Francisco. Schulz earned third team All-America honors
as a sophomore at Eastern when he also earned first team All-Big
Sky accolades He was a second team All-Big Sky choice as a junior
and senior. He finished his EWU career with 224 tackles, 17
interceptions, a school-record 219 interception return yards and 28
passes broken up. He was a second team Academic All-American in
1991, and in 1997 was selected to the Academic All-America All-Time
Team. He was inducted in 1998 into the Eastern Athletics Hall of
Fame. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100”
All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top
defensive back in school history (along with Isaiah Trufant).
Kevin Sargent – Offensive Tackle – 1988-89-90-91
Signed a contract with Cincinnati in 1992.
Sargent was a veteran of seven NFL seasons, although he missed
the entire 1996 regular season with a herniated disc in his neck.
He started 63 of 73 career games, including all 16 games in 1998.
He also started 15 games in both the 1995 and 1994 seasons and
eight in 1997. In 1997, he had no missed assignments in 604 plays,
and in his first start of the year on Nov. 2, he had the key block
on a 71-yard touchdown run by Corey Dillon. One month later against
Tennessee, he was awarded an offensive game ball for helping Dillon
rush for an NFL rookie record 246 yards. In 1995, the offensive
line set a franchise record by allowing just 1.56 sacks per game.
Sargent had only one missed assignment in 852 total snaps. Until he
suffered an ankle sprain, he had played every down for the Bengals
at left tackle in the first 12 games. Sargent began the 1993 season
as the starter at left tackle in place of 11-time Pro Bowler
Anthony Munoz, but broke his arm on the second play of the season
and missed most of the year. He played in 16 games as a rookie,
eight as a starter. He was inducted in 2008 into the Eastern
Athletics Hall of Fame. Eastern selected him to its “100 for
100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Ed Simmons – Offensive Tackle – 1983-84-85-86
Drafted in the 6th round (164th pick overall) by Washington in 1987.
He retired in 1998 from the St. Louis Rams after playing 11 seasons at right tackle for the Washington Redskins. Simmons, who played for the 1992 Super Bowl Champions, started 104 games during that span. In 1995, he was selected to the Sports Illustrated All-NFC East team and played 1,039 of a possible 1,042 downs. His debut as a rookie was against Philadelphia’s Reggie White. He was an inaugural inductee in 1996 into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Bert Anderson – Fullback – 1934-35-36-37 . . . Was drafted or signed by the Washington Redskins in 1938, but a torn wrist muscle during the pre-season ended his career.
Herm Pein – Linebacker – 1946-47-48-49 . . . Signed out of college with the New York Yanks of the NFL, but the Korean War delayed Pein’s pro football career. In 1953 he made it to the final cuts of the San Francisco 49ers before playing a short time for British Columbia in the CFL. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Dick Nearents – Tackle – 1956-57-68 . . . Drafted in the 18th round (205th pick overall) by Green Bay in 1959.
Mick Landmark – Guard – 1964-65-66 . . . He played in the CFL for parts of two years, but spent most of his time in the Continental Football League playing for the Norfolk Neptunes. He played in the league until it folded after the 1969 season. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Barry Randall – Guard – 1965-66 . . . He started for 11 years from 1967-77 for Montreal in the CFL, helping the Alouettes win the Grey Cup in 1970, 1974 and 1977. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Dave Svendsen – Wide Receiver – 1966-67-68 . . . Drafted in the 11th round (281st pick overall) by Los Angeles in 1969. He was inducted in 2001 into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Bob Picard – Wide Receiver – 1968-69-71-72 . . . Drafted in the 6th round (132nd pick overall) by Philadelphia in 1973. He was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Scott Garske – Tight End – 1971-72-73 . . . Drafted in the 7th round (179th pick overall) by Pittsburgh in 1974. After preseason performances that saw him play as a tight end, kicker and punter for the Steelers, he broke his ankle. The slow-healing and painful hairline fracture in his heel would essentially end his playing career. As luck would have it, Randy Grossman, an undrafted free agent the Steelers signed that same season, made the team and ended up playing on four Super Bowl championship teams. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and is a member of EWU’s 2012 Hall of Fame class.
Jeff Metter – Linebacker – 1982-83 . . . Signed a contract with San Francisco in 1984. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Rick Worman – Quarterback – 1984-85 . . . Worman played in the CFL for Calgary and Edmonton for five seasons before playing in Saskatchewan in 1991. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Mark Gehring – Tight End – 1984-85 . . . Signed a contract with San Francisco in 1986, and on two occasions, was kept on the active roster until the team’s final cuts. Also signed a contract with the Houston Oilers.
Craig Richardson – Wide Receiver – 1983-84-85-86 . . . Drafted in the 11th round (298th pick overall) by Kansas City in 1987. He was traded to Los Angeles where he played two seasons. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.]
Mike Kingston – Def. Tackle – 1983-84-85-86 . . . Signed a contract with the New York Jets in 1987.
Eric Riley – Tight End – 1983-84-85-86 . . . Signed contracts with the Jets, New England and Green Bay. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top tight end in school history.
Bill Altena – Linebacker – 1983-84-85-86 . . . Signed a contract with St. Louis in 1987. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Eric Stein – Kicker – 1984-85-86-87 . . . Signed a contract with Seattle in 1988. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top kicker/punter in school history.
Jamie Townsend – Running Back – 1984-85-86-88 . . . Played in 1989 for Calgary of the CFL. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Jeff Mickel – Off. Tackle – 1985-86-87-88 . . . Drafted in the 6th round (163rd pick overall) by Minnesota in 1989. He also spent time in training camps and/or on developmental rosters with Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit. He played for Barcelona in the World League of American Football in 1991 and for Frankfurt in 1992. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Brendan Rogers – Linebacker – 1990 . . . Drafted in the 4th round by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in 1991. The native of Vancouver, B.C., played in four games with Saskatchewan in 1999 after spending three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. He spent his first five seasons as a pro at Winnipeg. In nine seasons (134 games including nine playoff games and three Grey Cups), he registered 203 total tackles with a pair of interceptions. In 1997, Rogers had 20 total tackles, plus had two forced fumbles in Toronto’s 37-30 playoff victory over Montreal. Toronto beat Saskatchewan in the Grey Cup as Toronto finished 17-3. On Sept. 23, 1994, Rogers broke a CFL record with eight special teams tackles against British Columbia. In 1993, he led the CFL in special teams tackles with 36. He was on the losing end of two Grey Cup games with Edmonton and missed the 1996 game with an injury, so he earned his first title ring in 1997. He and his wife Karyn founded the annual CFL All-Star Hockey Classic tournament that raised funds for the Portage Plain United Way and the Variety Club of Manitoba.
Gary Needham – Off. Guard – 1989-90 . . . Signed a contract with Seattle in 1992. Signed another contract with Miami in the spring of 1995.
Tony Lenseigne – Tight End – 1988-89-90-91 . . . Signed contracts with San Diego, Minnesota and Seattle in his first three seasons as a pro, but did not play in the regular season. He played in the spring of 1995 for the Rhein Fire of the World League of American Football, catching two passes. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Tom Owens – Wide Receiver – 1989-90-91 . . . Signed a contract with Winnipeg of the CFL in 1992.
Tommy Williams – Def. End – 1991-92 . . . Signed a contract with Winnipeg of the CFL in 1993. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Trent Pollard – Offensive Tackle – 1990-91-92-93 . . . Drafted in the fifth round (132nd pick overall) by Cincinnati in 1994. He was on the preseason roster of the St. Louis Rams in 1997 and 1998, but did not make the team. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Tony Brooks – Wide Receiver – 1990-91-92-93 . . . Signed a contract with Winnipeg of the CFL in 1994. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Jason Marsh – Linebacker – 1991-92-93 . . . Signed a contract with the Frankfurt Galaxy of the World League in 1995. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Jason Anderson – Wide Receiver – 1991-92-93-94 . . . Signed a contract with Buffalo of the NFL in 1995, then signed a contract in 1996 with British Columbia of the CFL.
Troy Alexander – Defensive Tackle – 1991-92-93-94 . . . Drafted in the first round by Saskatchewan as the second pick overall in the 1995 CFL Draft. An injury limited his playing time in 1998 with British Columbia after his first three seasons were spent in Saskatchewan playing for the Roughriders. He had his finest season in 1997 with 38 total tackles including 10 quarterback sacks. He played in the Grey Cup, but Saskatchewan lost to Toronto. A backup at defensive tackle in 1996, he finished the season with 14 total tackles including a sack. He played in 17 games as a rookie in 1995, including 12 as a starter at nose tackle. He finished with 22 tackles. Alexander is a native of Edmonton, Alberta.
Derek Strey – Linebacker – 1993-95-96-97 . . . Signed a contract with Jacksonville of the NFL in 1998. After being released by Jacksonville in 1998, the Seattle Seahawks signed Strey as a practice squad player. He participated in the 1999 training camp in Cheney before being cut. Interestingly, Strey worked for the Seahawks at their preseason training camp in Cheney in 1997. Strey spent the spring and summer of 1999 as a starting linebacker in NFL Europa for the Frankfurt Galaxy, which advanced to the World Bowl. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Jim Buzzard – Offensive Lineman – 1995-96-97 . . . Signed a contract with San Diego of the NFL in 1998. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Griffin Garske – Quarterback – 1996-97-98 . . . Played semi-pro football in Europe.
David Andres – Offensive Lineman – 1996-97-98 . . . Signed a contract with the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL in 1999.
Mike MacKenzie – Running Back – 1995-96-97-98 . . . Drafted in the 5th round by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 1999.
T.J. Ackerman – Offensive Lineman – 1995-96-97-98 . . . Signed a contract with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in 1999. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Dion Alexander – Linebacker – 1992-93-94-95; Romaine Smith – Wide Receiver – 1998-99-00; Ole Olesen – Cornerback – 1997-98-99-00; and Lance Ballew – Tight End – 1997-98-99-00 . . . All four played for the Yakima, Wash., Shockwave in the National Indoor Football League in the spring/summer of 2001. Eastern selected Alexander to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Harry Leons – Quarterback – 1995-96-97 . . . Signed a contract with the Portland Forest Dragons of the AFL in 1999. Leons spent three seasons from 2000-02 on the roster of the Los Angeles Avengers of the AFL, spending most of it as the team’s third-string quarterback. In his career, including the 1999 season with the Portland Forest Dragons, he completed 14-of-23 passes for 61 percent, 192 yards and two touchdowns. In 2001, he started once and completed 4-of-7 passes for 46 yards. He was acquired by the Avengers as the 25th pick in the AFL expansion draft in 2000. The previous season he played — mostly in the preseason — for the Portland Forest Dragons. He completed 10-of-16 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
Julian Williams – Defensive Back – 1997-98-99-00 . . . Signed a contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 2002.
Anthony Griffin – Linebacker – 1998-99-00-01 . . . Signed a contract with the Chicago Crush of the AFL in 2003. He joined four other former Eagles in 2006 to lead the Spokane Shock in af2 to a 17-2 record and the af2 title in Spokane’s inaugural season in the league. He finished the season with 41 total tackles and five passes broken up, but missed the playoffs because of an injury.
Chris Polinder – Offensive Line – 1998-99-00-01 . . . Signed a contract with the Detroit Fury in the AFL in 2002 and spent the year as a starting center and long snapper. He then joined the Colorado Rush of the AFL for the 2003 season. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008.
David Sherrod – Offensive Line – 2000-01 . . . Signed a contract with the Chicago Bears of the NFL in 2002 and Miami in 2003. Sherrod was on the 2005 roster of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, where he was listed as a 355-pound tackle. He played in spring/summer 2003 for the Barcelona Dragons, having been allocated to NFL Europa after signing a contract with the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 10, 2003. He had stints with the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders after concluding his collegiate career in 2001. He was originally going to sign with the Raiders, but a shoulder injury caused him to fail the team’s physical. He then signed with the Bears, but was released at the end of their 2002 training camp.
Brandon Moore – Defensive Line – 1999-00-01-02 . . . Signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL in 2003. For a short time, he was on the roster of the Spokane Shock in af2.
Dan Curley – Tight End – 1998-99-00-02 . . . Curley last played for the Carolina Panthers after signing a contract on Jan. 4, 2005. He was released on Sept. 3 just before the 2005 season began. He was allocated to NFL Europa to play for the Cologne Centurions in 2005, but suffered a leg injury before the season began. A year earlier, he was signed by the New Orleans Saints in the NFL, then was released prior to the start of the regular season. Originally a fifth-round draft choice (148th pick overall) by St. Louis in 2003, he played one regular season game with the Rams in the 2003 season. At Eastern, Curley concluded an injury-plagued career by earning honorable mention All-America and first team All-Big Sky Conference honors as a senior in 2002. He played in just 28 of a possible 44 games in his career, starting in 21 of them. He caught 58 career passes for 721 yards and seven touchdowns.
Kurt Sigler – Offensive Line – 2000-01-02-03 . . . Signed a contract with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL in 2004. He joined four other former Eagles in 2006 to lead the Spokane Shock in af2 to a 17-2 record and the af2 title in Spokane’s inaugural season in the league. Sigler closed his college career by being selected to four post-season all-star games (he played in two) after twice being chosen to the All-Big Sky Conference second team.
Jesse Nicassio – Punter – 2003-04 . . . Signed a contract with the St. Louis Rams of the NFL in 2004 but was released. He was picked-up by Indianapolis but was released by the Colts on Sept. 1, 2004. He has since developed and marketed a punting and kicking training device called the “EZ Kicker.” Nicassio set EWU school records for career average per punt (42.3) and season average per punt (44.4).
Brandon Myers – Defensive Line – 2002-02-03-04 . . . He was on the roster for the Everett Hawks of af2 in 2005.
Reggie Witherspoon – Running Back – 2001-02-03-04 . . . Witherspoon signed a contract with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL in 2007 but was released.
Joey Cwik – Fullback/Linebacker – 2002-03-04-05 . . . Cwik attended mini-camp as a fullback with the Miami Dolphins of the NFL in 2006, then decided to quit football shortly after signing with the New Orleans Saints. He finished with 331 tackles in his 47-game EWU career (40 as a starter) to rank fourth in school history. He never missed a game in his Eastern career, never redshirted and ended his career with 39-straight starts. Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top linebacker in school history. He went on to medical school after his playing career was over.
Craig McIntyre – Wide Receiver – 2003-04-05 . . . McIntyre played two seasons for the Parma Panthers, a member of the NFL Italy (NFLI). In one of the games he played in 2006 he scored on a 100-yard return. The team was made famous by the book “Playing for Pizza” written by John Grisham. McIntyre served as a source for the fictional book.
Eric Kimble – Wide Receiver – 2002-03-04-05 . . . Kimble signed a contract with Miami of the NFL in 2006, but his pro career never got off the ground. He attended mini-camp in spring 2006 for the Dolphins, but had to undergo surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. The Dolphins released him on March 1, 2007, and he had to sit out for two years while rehabilitating the foot injury. He eventually signed to play the 2008 season for British Columbia in the CFL, but he didn’t play in any regular season games. Kimble broke nine EWU career records and four single season marks, including the season receptions record with 87. Kimble finished with 46 career touchdown receptions to rank second in FCS history behind the 50 of legendary Jerry Rice from Mississippi Valley (1981-84). Kimble broke the Big Sky Conference career reception yards record with a total of 4,140 yards, which at the time ranked fourth in FCS history. A running back early in his EWU career, his 253 catches ranked eighth all-time in FCS (second in Big Sky history). Eastern selected him to its “100 for 100” All-Time Team in 2008 and a public vote selected him as the top all-purpose player in school history.
Jesse Hendrix – Cornerback – 2002-03-04-05 . . . Hendrix signed a contract with the B.C. Lions of the CFL in 2006. Hendrix played the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL, joining former Eagles Luke Fritz and Bashir Levingston on the 2008 team. He had two tackles and a pass broken up in 2008 after finishing the 2007 season with 13 tackles in 13 games. In 2006, he attended CFL training camp with the B.C. Lions but did not make the squad. He eventually signed with the Spokane Shock of af2 for the 2006 season. He joined four other former Eagles to lead the team to a 17-2 record and the af2 title in Spokane’s inaugural season in the league. Hendrix had a school-record 41 career passes broken up at EWU, finishing with 14 as a senior to rank second on the single season list. Hendrix had five interceptions and 154 tackles in his career. His career total of 46 passes defensed (including five interceptions) ranked second in FCS history. He played 47 of a possible 47 games.
Brett Bergstrom – Kicker – 2005-06 . . . Bergstrom signed a contract with New Orleans of the NFL in 2007 but was released. In his only season as EWU’s placekicker, Bergstrom had a school-record 15 field goals in 2006 with three of at least 50 yards. His field goals included three of the nine longest in school history with efforts of 56, 53 and 52 yards.
Brandon Keeler – Defensive Back – 2002-04-05-06 . . . . Keeler joined the Spokane Shock in af2 for the 2008 season but was released before the season started. He had a heart-breaking end to his first NFL training camp after signing a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2007. He remained on the roster up until the final day of training camp before he was released. At EWU, three times he earned All-Big Sky Conference honors – first team as a sophomore, second team as a junior and honorable mention as a senior. He finished his 43-game career – including 34 as a starter – with 243 tackles to rank 10th in school history. He had five interceptions and seven passes broken up.
Bryan Jarrett – Defensive Back – 2005-06-07 . . . Jarrett signed a free agent contract with the Spokane Shock on June 12, 2008, but didn’t play in any games. After transferring from Western Washington University, Jarrett played three seasons as a safety for the Eagles. As a senior in 2007 when Eastern finished 9-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs, he was second on the team with 91 tackles and had two interceptions and seven passes broken up. He was a first team All-Big Sky Conference selection in 2005 and earned second team accolades as a senior.
Ryan Kelley – Defensive Back – 2007-08 . . . Kelley signed a contract with the Tri-Cities Fever of the Indoor Football League in 2009 and was on the roster early in the season. He signed again for the 2010 season with Tri-Cities, then signed to play the 2011 season for the Wenatchee Valley Venom of the IFL, but was released before the season began. He finished his 23-game Eastern career with 112 tackles, five interceptions and 12 passes broken up.
Lance Witherspoon – Defensive Line – 2005-06-07-08 . . . After starting the 2011 season with the Spokane Shock in the Arena Football League, Witherspoon was released and then played with the Tulsa Talons of the AFL. He had a sack in his Tulsa debut on June 19, 2011, in a 48-42 win over the Philadelphia Soul. Earlier in the season with Spokane, he scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone for his first career touchdown in Spokane’s 71-49 win over Dallas on May 14, 2011. He played in just two games for the Shock, but had five tackles, a half-sack, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry. He spent the 2010 season with the Cleveland Gladiators, and finished with 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. While at Eastern, Witherspoon played in 42 games (29 as a starter), and finished his career with 121 tackles, seven sacks, 37 total tackles for loss, seven passes broken up, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a blocked kick. He earned second team All-Big Sky Conference honors in both his junior and senior seasons, starting a combined 21 games. He received honorable mention All-America accolades as a junior from The Sports Network.
J.T. Leggin – Safety – 2008-09 . . . After playing the 2010 season with the Tacoma Cobras of the Professional Developmental Football League, Leggin was signed by the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL in 2011 after an open tryout. However, the cornerback was released June 9, 2011, after suffering an injury. In 2012, he was invited to the Super Combine in Detroit after his performance at a regional combine of professional prospects. He played the 2008 season at Eastern as a wide receiver, and had three catches for 27 yards. He moved to defensive back in 2009 and had 11 total tackles and 11 kickoff returns for a 16.2 average.
Jesse Hoffman – Cornerback/Special Teams – 2006-08-09-10 . . . Hoffman signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks on July 26, 2011, but was released on Aug. 29, 2011, after playing in preseason games. Hoffman started 16 of the 46 games he played in his EWU career and was also a dangerous return threat while at Eastern. He finished with 125 career tackles, four interceptions and 16 passes broken up, which ranked 12th in school history. Before moving to defense, he had 234 yards as a running back as a true freshman in 2006. Hoffman earned honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference honors as a senior, as he started 14 of 15 games at cornerback and finished with 75 tackles. He had three interceptions and 12 passes broken up – the fifth-best performance in school history. He closed his career with eight tackles and a pass broken up EWU’s 20-19 victory over Delaware on Jan. 7, 2011, for the NCAA Division I Championship. Hoffman finished the season ranked seventh in FCS in average per kickoff return (28.5) as his average ranked sixth in school history. Hoffman had an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against North Dakota State on Dec. 11, 2010, giving him three returns for a TD in the 2010 season. That equaled a Big Sky Conference and school record shared with former Eagle Bashir Levingston, who had all three of his against Sacramento State on Oct. 31, 1998. Hoffman’s career average of 26.9 on 33 career returns ranked fourth in school history, with the school record of 30.0 owned by Lamont Brightful (1998-01). Hoffman had 958 career kickoff return yards to rank eighth.
Dante Calcote – Cornerback – 2007-08-09-10 . . . After originally signing a contract with the Sioux Falls Storm in 2011, Calcote played in 2013 for the Chambersburg (Pa.) Cardinals of the Gridiron Developmental Football League. He signed with Sioux Falls (Indoor Football League) on Nov. 3, 2011, for the 2012 season. As a senior at Eastern in 2010, Calcote earned second team All-Big Sky Conference honors in helping lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title. He finished the year with 60 tackles, 12 passes broken up and an interception. He had a total of 97 tackles, one interception and 13 passes broken up in his 39-game career.
Renard Williams – Defensive Line – 2008-09-10-11 . . . Williams originally signed a contract with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL on May 24, 2012, but was released on June 16. He joined the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League for the 2013 season, but was released when the team made its final roster cut to 24 players. Williams finished his Eastern career with 22 1/2 sacks to rank sixth in school history. He had 139 tackles in his 46-game career, including 49 for losses (fourth in school history) totaling 243 yards. He also has six forced fumbles in his career, equaling the school record of six shared by teammate Matt Johnson. Williams earned second team All-Big Sky Conference honors his senior season, and also received honorable mention All-America recognition. He had 6 1/2 sacks in the 2010 season to earn first team All-Big Sky accolades and was named to the College Sports News “Sweet 63” All-America Team. He had nine sacks as a sophomore to earn first team All-Big Sky Conference honors in 2009.
Nicholas Edwards – Wide Receiver – 2009-10-11-12 . . . Edwards originally signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL in 2013. He attended Minnesota’s rookie camp but was released on May 6, 2013. He was later signed by the Spokane Shock in the Arena Football League, a club Edwards served as an intern for in the summer of 2012. He also received a tryout with the New York Jets on July 22, 2013, then was signed by the Arizona Cardinals on July 27, 2013. In 2014, he was set to attend training camp with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in May, but passed on that opportunity to begin his coaching career as wide receivers coach at EWU. An FCS All-American for EWU in 2011, Edwards finished fifth all-time in Eastern history in receiving yards with 2,634, and was sixth in points scored with 202. His 215 career catches ranks fourth in school history and his 33 TD receptions were second (the record is 46). His 95 receptions in 2011 were a school record, and he finished the year with 1,250 receiving yards and a school-record 19 TDs. He helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title in 2010 and the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs in 2012. Edwards was a 2008 graduate of Foss High School in Tacoma, Wash.
Kyle Padron – Quarterback – 2012 . . . After signing a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL in 2013, Padron participated in Oakland’s rookie camp, but was released by the Raiders on May 22, 2013. On Nov. 20, 2013, Padron signed with the Bemidji Axemen of the Indoor Football League, but asked to be released to pursue other options. He played one season at Eastern Washington after starting 21 games at Southern Methodist. He started five games and played six others as a sub, as he helped the Eagles finish with a school-record 4,469 passing yards. Padron completed 59.1 percent of his passes for a team-leading 2,491 yards, 17 TDs and seven interceptions, and ranked 29th in FCS in passing yards per game (226.5). He had a school-record six touchdown passes versus Illinois State (12/8/12) in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs, as the Eagles advanced as far as the semifinals. Padron graduated in 2009 from Southlake (Texas) High School.
Will Post – Offensive Tackle – 2009-10-11-12 . . . Post participated in a free agent tryout with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL in 2013. He earned four All-America honors in 2012 for EWU, including recognition from the American Football Coaches Association (first team) and Associated Press (first team). Post started every game at right offensive tackle in 2012, with a total of 37 career starts in 45 games played. The first team All-Big Sky selection and team co-captain allowed just one sack in the regular season. The Eagles had a season-best 542 total yards versus Cal Poly (11/3/12) and finished third in the Big Sky and 14th in FCS in total offense (442.0) and seventh in FCS in passing offense (318.9 per game). He helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title in 2010 and the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs in 2012. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Post is from Portland, Ore., and graduated from Southridge High School in 2008.
Zach Johnson – Linebacker – 2008-10-11-12 . . . Johnson didn’t play in the 2012 season, but signed a free agent contract with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. However, a nagging hamstring injury ended his career prior to the start of training camp. A sixth-year senior for EWU in 2012, Johnson started all 39 games he played in his career. He missed 24 total games in his career because of injuries, but finished with 324 tackles, five interceptions, 14 passes broken up and 6 1/2 sacks as an Eagle. He finished seventh all-time in tackles at Eastern, and was 17 away from the total of 341 by his twin brother Matt Johnson, who was a fourth round draft choice by the Dallas Cowboys in 2011 and also started every Eastern game he played (45). Zach Johnson earned All-Big Sky Conference honors three times in his career – second team in 2012 and 2010 and honorable mention as a freshman in 2008.