Despite missing four games to injury, Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams is the Offensive Player of the Year in the Big Sky Conference, the league announced Tuesday.
Adams is one of six Eagles named to the first team. Others are wide receiver Cooper Kupp, offensive linemen Aaron Neary and Jake Rodgers, linebacker Ronnie Hamlin and safety Tevin McDonald.
Adams is the first repeat winner since Eastern quarterback Erik Meyer won the honors in 2004 and 2005. The junior from Pasadena missed four games with a broken foot, but threw for 2,876 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Adams guided EWU to a 7-1 record, with the only loss coming 59-52 on the road against Washington. The Eagles went on to win the Big Sky title with a 7-1 conference mark. They are 10-2 overall and have earned a bye into the second round of the FCS playoffs.
McDonald, in his second season with the Eagles after transferring from UCLA, tallied 68 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Hamlin had 86 total tackles. Rodgers and Neary anchored an offensive line that helped the Eagles average a national-best 44.6 points and 522.8 yards of offense per game.
Five Montana State student-athletes and four from the Montana Grizzlies were selected to the First Team. Grizzly senior defensive end Zack Wagenmann earned Defensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the All-Conference First Team for the third straight season.
The teams and individual award winners were selected by the 13 conference head coaches on Monday.
Southern Utah junior quarterback Ammon Olsen, a transfer from BYU, was named the Newcomer of the Year. Idaho State redshirt freshman linebacker Mario Jenkins was selected as the Freshman of the Year.
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