Possessing perhaps the top wide receiver trio in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, two Eastern Washington University football players on that unit have been selected to The Sports Network preseason All-America team released Monday.
Record-breaking senior Nicholas Edwards (Tacoma, Wash. – Foss HS ’08) was named to the first team, and junior Brandon Kaufman (Denver, Colo.) was selected to the third team. Kaufman, who along with Edwards helped lead the Eagles to the 2010 NCAA Division I Championship, was an All-American in 2010 before redshirting in 2011 as an injury hardship.
Along with senior Greg Herd (Tacoma, Wash. – Steilacoom HS ’09), all three starting receivers for Eastern have earned All-America accolades and have 1,000-yard seasons in their careers. They have combined for 99 games worth of experience (69 starts), and have collective totals of 405 catches for 5,475 yards and 56 touchdowns.
Edwards is by far the most decorated Eastern player returning for the 2012 season, having earned first team NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America accolades in the 2011 season on seven different teams -- American Football Coaches Association, The Sports Network, College Sporting News “Fabulous Fifty”, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Phil Steele Publications, Beyond Sports College Network and College Sports Journal. He also earned second team accolades from Associated Press and Collegesportsmadness.com after catching a school-record 95 passes for 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead FCS.
Kaufman redshirted the 2011 season as an injury hardship case, but in 2010 was a first team All-America selection by the College Sporting News and a fourth team pick from Phil Steele Publications. He was a first team All-Big Sky selection with 76 catches for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore when he helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Division I title.
Herd earned Beyond Sports College Network honorable mention All-America recognition in 2011, having caught 67 passes for 1,022 yards and seven scores. He was a second team All-Big Sky Conference selection.
The Eagles begin practices for the 2012 season on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 3 p.m. at Roos Field. Eastern opens its season Aug. 30 at Idaho and plays at Washington State a week later on Sept. 8. Eastern’s home opener at Roos Field is against Big Sky Conference rival Montana on Sept. 29.
The 2012 Sports Network All-America Team will be announced after the regular season on Dec. 19.
The Sports Network also presents the four major awards in the division - the Walter Payton (FCS outstanding player), the Buck Buchanan (FCS outstanding defensive player), the Jerry Rice (FCS outstanding freshman player) and the Eddie Robinson (FCS coach of the year) - after the season. In addition, TSN presents the FCS's most widely recognized weekly Top 25 poll and weekly awards honoring the nation's top offensive player, defensive player, special teams player and freshman.