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Eastern Washington University Football

EWU QB Eric Barriere earns first-team FCS honors, with Walter Payton Award reveal looming

By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

Eric Barriere was a Football Championship Subdivision first-team All-America selection Monday in what could end up being a big week for the Eastern Washington senior quarterback.

In seven games during the 2020-21 season, Barriere threw for 2,439 yards and 19 touchdowns and became the seventh Eagles quarterback to earn first-team All-America honors.

He is joined on the Stats Perform FCS All-America team by Idaho junior linebacker Tre Walker, who had 54 tackles in four games for the Vandals this spring.

EWU receiver Talolo Limu-Jones and Idaho senior punter Cade Coffey earned second-team honors on the list of All-America selections.

Coffey ranked third in the Big Sky Conference in punting average (45.8 yards), landed 16 of his 26 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and also had the most punts of more than 50 yards with nine.

The senior Limu-Jones, Barriere’s top target this season, led the Big Sky in receiving yards (759) and receptions (48) in seven games.

Barriere, who was already named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year, is one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, which honors the top offensive player in the FCS each season. That winner will be announced on Saturday.

Three Eagles players have won the Walter Payton Award, most recently receiver Cooper Kupp in 2015. Quarterbacks Erik Meyer (2005) and Bo Levi Mitchell (2011) are the other two.

Meyer and Mitchell are two of the other six Eagles quarterbacks, besides Barriere, to earn first-team All-America selections. Gage Gubrud, Vernon Adams Jr., Matt Nichols and Harry Leons are the others.

“He’s been phenomenal,” Eastern Washington coach Aaron Best said in a release. “His play-making ability, ability to escape rush and ability to extend plays has been second-to-none. And we’ve had a first-hand glimpse of some great ones here. But Eric’s development has been thorough and consistent.”

In 38 games with Eastern, Barriere is 20-9 as a starter and 13-0 at home. Like all of Eastern’s seniors, Barriere and Limu-Jones are eligible to return for the fall 2021 season; the NCAA granted players an extra year of eligibility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other Big Sky players on the All-America first team include Weber State offensive lineman Ty Whitworth, Southern Utah linebacker La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis, Weber State linebacker Conner Mortensen and UC Davis punter Daniel Whelan.