SPOKANE -- Eastern Washington University linebacker Ronnie Hamlin and kicker Jimmy Pavel have been honored as the Root Sports Big Sky Conference Players of the Week, with Pavel and wide receiver Brandon Kaufman also earning national accolades.
The trio was honored for their performances in Eastern's 20-3 victory last Thursday over Idaho. Hamlin is a junior from Lacey, Wash., and graduated from Timberline High School in 2009. Pavel, who transferred to EWU last season from Boise State, is a senior from Molalla, Ore., and is a 2008 graduate of Central Catholic HS.
Pavel also earned recognition as a College Sporting News National All Star. Kaufman was selected as a national Wide Receiver Performer of the Week in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision by College Football Performances Awards. He is a junior from Denver, Colo., and a 2009 graduate of Heritage HS.
Hamlin led the way for the Eagle defense in the victory over Idaho with eight tackles and a pass broken up for the Eagles. Eastern held Idaho to a long rush of 7 yards, forced Idaho to punt nine times and held the Vandals to a 2-of-15 performance on third down. Eastern’s defense allowed just 237 yards, with 66 of that coming through the air on a defensive breakdown by EWU in the first quarter. It was the fewest points allowed by the Eagles since beating Idaho State 38-3 in the 2009 season and Northern Colorado 16-0 two weeks earlier that year.
In his first game as EWU’s starting placekicker, Pavel made both of his field goal attempts. He made a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter and had a 34-yarder in the first quarter, and also made both of his extra points. Pavel, who handled kickoff duties a year ago, takes over for Mike Jarrett, who was 16-of-18 kicking field goals as a senior in 2011.
Playing his first game in 11 months, Kaufman had his ninth 100-yard receiving performance of his Eastern career with five catches for 148 yards. His receptions, which included grabs of 58, 35 and 33 yards, helped set-up an Eastern field goal and touchdown. Kaufman received an injury redshirt in the 2011 season after playing in the first four games of the year. An All-American in 2010, he now has 133 catches for 2,029 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career.
Also honored by the Big Sky as players of the week were Cal Poly quarterback Andre Broadous and Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp.