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Future bright for Eagles freshman QB Eric Barriere

EWU freshman Eric Barriere is the quarterback of the future for the Eagles. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
EWU freshman Eric Barriere is the quarterback of the future for the Eagles. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Eric Barriere is taking a lot of “mental reps” these days.

The physical reps are harder to come by, thanks to the depth and talent at the quarterback position at Eastern Washington.

And that’s OK for now, said Barriere, one of the top prospects in the Eagles’ latest recruiting class.

“I’m just getting the feel of everything,” Barriere said Wednesday as Eastern began the second day of fall camp on the grass fields behind Reese Court.

Added Barriere: “I want to get better each day and improve on the little things.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Barriere was a big thing as a high schooler in northern California, where in three years he threw for 7,586 yards and 104 touchdowns. Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, he also ran for 26 TDs while leading La Habra High to a 30-8 record.

“We thought Eric was an incredible fit in our program and was our No. 1 quarterback,” coach Beau Baldwin said on national letter-of-intent day. “We’re excited to have him be a part of Eastern football and our offense, and continue in the long line of great quarterbacks we’ve had here.”

Some reckon that Barriere is Eastern’s quarterback of the future, another Vernon Adams Jr. in the making. Then again, even Adams spent his first year on the scout team.

And so it goes for the Eastern’s 18 true freshmen, most of whom have high hopes that will probably be deferred until next year.

Besides Barriere, they include three-star running back Antoine Custer from national power De La Salle High School in Concord, California.

Also in the fold are two-star backs Jason Talley from Portland and Tamarick Pierce of Albany, California. One day they may be following the blocks of another three-star recruit, Tigard (Oregon) offensive lineman Conner Crist.

Will that day be Sept. 3 at Washington State? Perhaps. Recent history indicates that at least one true freshman running back will see action this fall. Mario Brown did it in the 2010 national title game.

Two years later, Jordan Talley – Jason’s older brother – saw the field as an 18-year-old. Last year, Malcolm Williams (who has since left the program) and Sam McPherson got on the field immediately.

Said Baldwin, “There’s been very few years where we recruited two or more running backs and one didn’t play.”

“It’s a position that to me requires four to five bodies. … and I expect that all three of those guys (Custer, Pierce and Talley) will compete all through camp along with the veterans,” Baldwin said.

Pierce has been competing for awhile now. The 5-10, 205-pounder from Oakland joined the Eagle veterans during voluntary summer workouts.

“I wanted to get the plays down so I wouldn’t get behind, and it also helped with team bonding,” Custer said.

Does that mean he expects to suit up on Saturdays?

“We’ll let my play on the field do the talking,” Pierce said.

Notes: After practice, Baldwin said he was pleased with the team’s ability to stay on pace. “We were sloppy in some things, but we were able to run a lot of plays in a short amount of time,” Baldwin said after Wednesday’s 2 1/2-hour session. “That speaks to they’re being in shape but also how you are mentally, and how the guys have retained things from the spring,” Baldwin said. … The Eagles got a special visitor at the end of practice. Former NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Michael Roos gave the team a few words of encouragement, including the need to pay attention to detail and to keep poise during tough times “in football and in life.” … EWU practices again today at 9:15 a.m.

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