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Eagles QB Jordan West looks more than able to fill Vernon Adams’ shoes

QB Jordan West, right, takes charge of the EWU offense. (Dan Pelle)
QB Jordan West, right, takes charge of the EWU offense. (Dan Pelle)

Jordan West already has the height; now he’s gaining some stature.

After one week of practice, the Eastern Washington quarterback is in command of his throws – and in command, period. The latter might be West’s biggest asset as the Eagles open the second week of fall camp ahead of the season opener at Oregon on Sept. 5.

“He’s definitely taken charge as a leader,” Eastern quarterbacks coach Zak Hill said as West and the Eagles took the field Tuesday morning on the practice fields behind Reese Court.

“He’s worked hard in the offseason, had a great spring ball and a great summer,” Hill said.

Not that last fall was a disappointment. Pressed into duty when All-American Vernon Adams was injured, West responded with three wins in four starts to keep the Eagles headed toward a third straight Big Sky Conference title.

“I don’t want say that it (the injury to Adams) was fortunate, but those four games helped me prepare for this,” the 6-foot-4, 220-pound West said Tuesday. For the year, West completed 86 of 142 passes for 1,072 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception.

After Adams transferred to Oregon, West responded with a performance that led coach Beau Baldwin to say that he’d never seen a quarterback improve that much in spring ball.

In three spring scrimmages, West completed 61 percent of his passes for 258 yards and a passing efficiency rating of 124.7.

Pushed throughout spring by redshirt freshmen Reilly Hennessey and Gabe Gubrud, he was 10 of 14 for 112 yards in the Red-White Spring Game.

Despite his size, he’s more than a pocket passer – something for opponents to consider. “He’s got some speed … and he eats up ground pretty quickly,” Hill said. “It’s exciting to watch his progress.”

And what about his leadership?

“A lot of guys look to the quarterback to be a leader,” said West, a former walk-on who will celebrate his 21st birthday today. “That’s not something I want to jump into, but I’m letting it come to me.”

That’s not exactly true, according to Eastern All-America wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

“He’s done a great job this summer of getting the receivers together to work on our extra stuff,” Kupp said. “He’s done a great job, and he knows what’s going on.”

Notes

The Eagle players have elected team captains for this year. They include Kupp, left guard Aaron Neary, roverback Todd Raynes and linebacker Miquiyah Zamora. … The depth chart is still etched in wet cement, but the offensive starters appear to be quarterback West, running back Jabari Wilson, linemen Clay DeBord, Neary, T.J. Boatright, Thomas Gomez and Cassidy Curtis; wide receivers Kupp, Kendrick Bourne and Shaq Hill; and tight end Zach Wimberly. On defense, the number ones are linemen Samson Ebukam and Matthew Sommer, with the other positions up for grabs; linebackers Zamora and Alek Kacmarcik; safeties Miles Weatheroy and Zach Bruce; Raynes; and cornerbacks Nzuzi Webster and Rashad Wadood. … The Eagles will hold their first scrimmage on Saturday at about 9:45 a.m. at Roos Field.

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