Their college careers are over, but Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp, defensive end Samson Ebukam and quarterback Gage Gubrud earned big consolation prizes Monday.
Kupp and Ebukam, both seniors, were named first-team FCS All-Americans by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), with Kupp winning the honor for the fourth straight year.
Gubrud, a sophomore, was named FCS player of the year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio. He was a second-team pick by the AFCA, which has selected All-America teams since 1945 in all five divisions of college football.
Kupp is only the second player in any division to win first-team honors for four years. The other is Johnny Bailey, a running back for Division II Texas A&M-Kingsville from 1986-89.
Only four FCS players have earned the honor three times.
The awards were announced two days after the Eagles lost to Youngstown State 40-38 in an FCS semifinal game at Roos Field.
Kupp, who’s predicted to go in the middle rounds of next year’s NFL draft, led the FCS in receiving yards per game (130.8), was second in receptions per game (9.0), and tied teammate Shaq Hill for the FCS lead in receiving touchdowns with 17.
Kupp had a Big Sky record 117 catches (sixth in FCS history) for 1,700 yards (fourth in FCS history) in 13 games played this season.
“His biggest attribute is his consistency, and that he continues to find ways to produce when everybody’s eyes are on him,” EWU coach Beau Baldwin said earlier this season. “He has the guts and the toughness not to be worried about any moment – he just goes out and gets it done.”
Ebukam had a team-high 9 1/2 sacks this season to go along with 71 tackles and 14 1/2 total tackles for loss.
Ebukam has 24 sacks in his career to rank sixth in school history, and 188 total tackles total in 53 games (38 as a starter).
“He came in here with a lot of tools,” Baldwin said. “But he takes every offseason and every summer and works to keep getting better mentally and physically.”
Gubrud completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 5,160 yards and 48 touchdowns. He also rushed for a team-leading and EWU quarterback record 606 yards (4.5 per carry) and five more scores.
He finished as the FCS leader in total offense at 411.9 per game, passing yards (5,160) and passing yards per game (368.6).
Gubrud has just 13 career starts (with 11-2 record), but he already owns six of the top eight single-game total offense performances in school history.
In addition to Gubrud’s honor, the TDC of Columbus selected Kupp to receive its President’s Award. Both players have been invited to attend the TDC awards on Feb. 4, 2017.
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