Pre-season All-Big Sky team includes wide receiver Cooper Kupp, offensive guard Aaron Neary, offensive tackle Clay DeBord and defensive end Samson Ebukam
Four Eastern Washington University football players – led by offensive MVP Cooper Kupp – have been selected to the 2015 Big Sky Conference Preseason All-Conference Team, announced Monday (July 19) by the league.
Kupp, a consensus All-American his first two seasons in the program, was named to the team and as the offensive MVP. He is EWU’s player representative at the Big Sky Conference Football Kickoff in Park City, Utah, with head coach Beau Baldwin also attending. The preseason team picks will be announced Tuesday.
Senior offensive guard Aaron Neary, senior offensive tackle Clay DeBord and junior defensive end Samson Ebukam were also honored on the preseason squad. Kupp is a 2012 graduate of Davis High School in Yakima, Wash.; Neary is a 2011 graduate of Hanford HS in Richland, Wash.; Debord is a 2011 graduate of Asotin (Wash.) High School; and Ebukam graduated in 2013 from David Douglas HS in Portland, Ore.
Kupp has averaged a touchdown reception every 5.3 catches in his career, with totals of 197 receptions for 3,122 yards and 37 touchdowns. He is just nine TDs behind the school and Big Sky record of 46 held by Eric Kimble (2002-05). Kupp has scored at least once in 24 of the 28 career games he has played, with 15 performances of at least eight catches and 15 with at least 100 receiving yards.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ebukam, earned second team All-Big Sky honors as a sophomore. The “Buck” defensive end had 45 tackles in the 2014 season, including a team-leading 7 1/2 sacks and 15 total tackles for loss, with two blocked kicks. In his 28-game career (13 as a starter), he has 73 tackles with 10 1/2 sacks and 19 total tackles for losses totaling 74 yards.
Neary, who stands 6-4, 300 pounds, was a first team All-Big Sky Conference selection in 2014 and earned second team All-America honors from Beyond Sports Network. DeBord was a honorable mention all-league pick as a junior, and a second-team choice as a sophomore. Neary started all 13 games he played last season in his first year as a starter. The 6-6, 305-pound DeBord was a starter in all 14 Eagle games to increase his career total to a team-best 41.
Together on the left side of the line in 2014, Neary and DeBord were the team’s co-offensive players of the week after helping EWU rush for 224 yards and finish with 582 total yards in a 52-51 win at Montana State (9/20/14).
They helped lead Eastern’s offense to new heights in 2014, especially on the scoreboard. For the first time in school history, Eastern scored at least 50 points in six games, including outings of 56, 54, 52, 52, 56 and 56. Only once previously in school history – 105 previous years – has EWU scored 50 or more three times. The Eagles were first in FCS in scoring offense (44.1 per game) and first downs (361 total), second in passing efficiency (163.52), third in total offense (513.4) and second in passing offense (328.2).