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EWU football notes: Eagles’ record should impress recruits

In this Sept. 3, 2016 file photo, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin is all smiles after his team defeated Washington State. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
In this Sept. 3, 2016 file photo, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin is all smiles after his team defeated Washington State. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Eastern Washington football coaches hit the recruiting trail this bye week with five wins in their pockets, which is sure to impress most 17-year-old athletes.

It also doesn’t hurt that Eastern has made a habit of competing with – and sometimes beating – teams from the Football Championship Subdivision.

“Everyone goes into recruiting talking about what they’re going to do, but we have some results that you can really validate, that this is what we’ve been consistently doing,” coach Beau Baldwin said before practice Tuesday.

“It’s a validations that we believe we can compete with anyone nationally (in the Football Championship Subdivision), and even teams at the next level,” Baldwin said.

The Eagles bolstered their resume with a season-opening win at Washington State, followed by an overtime loss at five-time FCS champion North Dakota State.

The win over WSU figures to make an impact with in-state athletes, who make up the bulk of Eastern’s recruits.

In recent years, Eastern has beaten Oregon State and lost to Washington by a field goal and a touchdown.

“Those types of wins are important,” said Baldwin, whose next game is Oct. 22 at Montana State.

Eastern aims high in recruiting

After recruiting one of their best recruiting classes in history last winter, but the Eagles are aiming high again.

They have only one verbal commitment so far in 300-pound defensive lineman Amir Rashad Matheney from Olympia, but have sent out at least 17 offers this year.

Among the targets:

Michael Matthews of Camas, Washington, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker who rates two stars from Scout.com and also has offers from Wyoming, Columbia, Lafayette and Montana State;

Wyatt Musser of Kennewick, a 6-5, 275-pound, three-star offensive tackle who’s been offered by Nevada, Hawaii, Colorado State, Nevada and Hawaii;

Musser’s Kamiakin teammate Darreon Moore, a 5-11, 165-pound defensive back who also rates three starts by Scout.com but has no offers apart from Eastern’s;

Damon Cole, a three-star wide receiver from El Cerrito, California. The 6-0, 175-pound Cole has offers from eight FBS schools.

Last year, the Eagles signed several two- and three-star recruits, including running backs Antoine Custer Jr. and Tamarick Pierce. Both have played extensively this season as true freshmen.

Adams on the bench at Montreal

Former Eastern All-American quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. is struggling to find playing time with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Adams has appeared in 11 games for the 4-14 Alouettes, but has completed one pass in four attempts. He’s rushed 16 times for 32 yards and one touchdown.

Adams is third on the depth chart, behind veterans Kevin Glenn and Rakeem Cato.

Other former Eagles on CFL roster are T.J. Lee and Ryan Phillips at British Columbia, J.C. Sherritt at Edmonton, Bo Levi Mitchell at Calgary and Matt Nichols at Winnipeg.

North Dakota, Weber State impress

It’s early, but Eastern Washington is tied atop the Big Sky standings with two teams it won’t play in the regular season.

North Dakota is 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the conference after rolling past Sacramento State 40-7. Picked to finish fifth in the conference, the Fighting Hawks have the league’s third-best rushing attack and rank second in scoring defense and total defense.

Weber State is a bigger surprise. The Wildcats (3-2 and 2-0) were predicted to finish sixth, but are coming off a 14-10 win over Portland State.

Eastern could meet North Dakota or Weber in the FCS playoffs should they qualify.

Big Sky TV deal still in the works

Three months ago at the Big Sky Conference Kickoff event, new commissioner Andrea Williams said a new TV deal with ROOT Sports was imminent.

A deal has yet to be finalized, but Williams said last weekend that the sides are close to agreement.

“We’ve had multiple calls, we’ve been there and visited with them in person, and so we’re still going through the process,” Williams told the Missoulian.

“Our hope and goal would be to have something lined out by the end of this month, but sometimes timelines get pushed as we’ve already seen,” Williams said.

This is the final year of the current five-year television contract.

Taiwan Jones, a running back with the Oakland Raiders, is the only former Eastern player currently in the NFL.

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