The Eastern Washington University football team picked up some more hardware Tuesday afternoon.
Eagle sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams was voted as the Offensive MVP, while Eagle wide receiver Cooper Kupp became the recipient of the first Freshman of the Year honor, the league announced three days after the Eagles won an undisputed conference championship.
The two were unanimously selected to the all-conference first team, and Kupp was an unanimous selection for Freshman of the Year.
The Eagles (10-2 overall entering the FCS playoffs) and second-place Northern Arizona both placed five players on the first team. Montana and Cal Poly each saw four of its players named to the first team. In all, nine of the 13 conferences teams had at least one player selected to the First Team.
Adams, a 6-foot, 190-pound sophomore from Pasadena, Calif., is a leading candidate for the Walter Payton Award. He finished the regular season tops the nation in pass efficiency (185.7) and total offense (379.2 yards per game). He has already set single-season Big Sky records with 46 passing touchdowns and 4,550 yards of total offense. He enters the playoffs with 4,059 passing yards, which ranks fourth in conference single-season history.
“I don’t want to take anything away from players like Eric Meyer, Matt Nichols, and Bo Levi Mitchell, but Vernon’s season this year is the best I’ve seen since I’ve been a college football coach,’’ said Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin.
Kupp, a 6-2, 195-pound redshirt freshman from Yakima, has set a number of FCS freshman records through the first 12 games of his college career. He leads the nation with 18 TD catches, one shy of the FCS single-season freshman record and two shy of the Big Sky single-season record. He has caught a TD pass in all 12 games, an FCS record. He enters the playoffs with 77 catches for 1,378 yards. His 1,378 yards are second in the nation and are a FCS record for freshmen. His 77 catches are four shy of the FCS freshman record. He is a leading candidate for the Jerry Rice Award, given annually to the top freshman in the nation.
Northern Arizona senior running back Zach Bauman and Eastern Washington senior cornerback TJ Lee III were both selected to the First Team for the third straight season.
Lee, Kupp and Adams were joined on the first team by teammates Ashton Miller (center) and Senior Bo Schutzle, who was named as the special teams player.