Trio of Eagles Earn All-America Accolades

Trio of Eagles Earn All-America Accolades

Cooper Kupp becomes a three-time All-American, Aaron Neary earns his second honor and Clay DeBord is honored for the first time on FCS All-America teams released by College Sports Madness

Complete 2015 College Sports Madness FCS All-America Team

Three important reasons the Eastern Washington University offense was among the best in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in 2015 were honored Thursday (Dec. 10) on FCS All-America teams announced by College Sports Madness.

Junior Cooper Kupp became an All-American for the third-straight year in earning first team honors on the initial All-America team announced thus far. Senior offensive guard Aaron Neary became a two-time All-American when he was picked for the second team. Senior offensive tackle Clay DeBord was picked on the second team as well, and earned his first recognition as an All-American.

Additional All-America squads are expected to be announced soon, including those selected by the American Football Coaches Association, STATS, Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Kupp earned first team All-America honors on six of seven teams released in 2014 and all nine announced in his freshman season in 2013.

All three players were preseason All-America selections, and all three hail from East of the Cascade Mountains in Washington. Kupp is a 2012 graduate of Davis High School in Yakima, Wash.; Neary is a 2011 graduate of Hanford HS in Richland, Wash.; and DeBord is a 2011 graduate of Asotin (Wash.) High School.

Together, that trio earned first team All-Big Sky Conference honors and helped Eastern rank eighth in FCS in total offense with an average of 478.5 yards per game, including the nation’s top passing offense (353.3 per game). Eastern was also 19th in scoring offense (34.6). Eastern had two of the top six performances for total offense in school history in 2015, including 667 against Montana State to rank fourth.

Kupp, who became only the second wide receiver in 42 years to win the Big Sky Conference Offensive MVP Award, is also one of three finalists to win the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Award which will be announced in January. He announced on Nov. 30 he will indeed return for his senior season at EWU in lieu of pursuing professional opportunities a year early.

DeBord and Neary were among a group of 14 Eagle seniors who were a part of three Big Sky Conference championships and a trio of playoff berths. Eastern won 27 of 32 Big Sky Conference games and 40 games overall in the last four years. Kupp has been a part of two championships and playoff berth thus far, and a collective total of 29 wins overall and 20 league wins in three seasons.

DeBord started a school-record 51 games as an Eagle, playing in a total of 52. Neary started 24 of the 46 games he played, while Kupp has started all 39 he’s played in three seasons.

Through his junior season, Kupp has established eight Big Sky Conference records, as well as 17 school marks and seven NCAA Football Championships records. His 122.4 average reception yards per game is currently a FCS career record, while his other six FCS records were set during his freshman season. His 114 catches this season broke the previous league record of 112, and ranks eighth all-time in FCS history. His average of 10.4 catches per game was also a league record (sixth all-time in FCS), to go along with six career marks he set in just three seasons – all ending with first team All-Big Sky accolades.

Kupp led FCS in five categories – receptions, receptions per game (10.4), reception yards (1,642), reception yards per game (149.3) and touchdown receptions (19). The players closest to him in FCS were eight catches, 298 yards and four TDs behind him, and in the league the next-best player for catches and yards was teammate Kendrick Bourne (73-998).

Kupp even passed for a pair of touchdowns this season and had another via punt return, giving him 58 total touchdowns scored and 60 accounted for in his 39-game career (all as a starter). In just three years, he already ranks second in FCS history in touchdown catches (56, two behind the record), second in reception yards (4,764, 486 behind the record) and fourth in receptions (311, 84 behind the record). All three marks are Big Sky records, and he also established a new league record for average catches per game (7.97), which also ranks third in FCS history.

 

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