Eastern Washington football has a storied history filled with accolades, including the 2010 FCS national championship and an FCS-leading seven major national award winners. With such success from the Eagle program, here's a look at the top individual players in Eastern Washington history.
The top-5 players all-time for Eastern Washington football
*Eastern Washington joined the FCS in 1984. This list looks at players since that season, taking into consideration things including, but not limited to, national awards won, championships won, and All-American accolades*
1. WR Cooper Kupp
Cooper Kupp set school, conference and FCS receiving records in his college career at Eastern Washington. Kupp has a claim to the title of best receiver in FCS history, winning a Walter Payton Award and Jerry Rice Award. With 30 career All-American honors, Kupp finished with 428 career receptions for 6,464 yards and 73 touchdowns.
MORE: See all of Cooper Kupp's career stats, highlights and records
2. OT Michael Roos
The name of Eastern Washington's iconic home field is Roos Field. Former offensive tackle Michael Roos is the namesake of the red turf; he was pivotal in the creation of the field.
Roos' football career is just as iconic as the stadium as he earned accolades like 2004 lineman of the year and multiple All-American honors. Voted the best offensive lineman in Eastern Washington history in 2008, Roos came a long way from his original position at tight end and later at defensive lineman. Roos is forever in Eastern Washington history as the second player in the program to have his jersey retired.
3. QB Bo Levi Mitchell
Eastern Washington would not have its national championship without Mitchell. In the 2010 national championship, the Eagles trailed 19-0 with 7:12 left in the third quarter. That's when Mitchell came alive, throwing three touchdowns on 80, 89 and 69-yard drives.
Behind Mitchell's 302 passing yards and three passing touchdowns on 29 of 43 passes, Eastern Washington would go on to win the title 20-19. What makes Mitchell's performance more impressive is that the Eagle offense ran only seven run plays in the second half.
#FriscoMemories: January 7, 2011. The first #FCSChampionship game in Frisco featured Eastern Washington and Delaware. The Blue Hens led 19-0 in the 3rd quarter, until Bo Levi Mitchell throws 3 touchdown passes as the Eagles rally for their first FCS title, winning 20-19. pic.twitter.com/lZBwwRKMP7— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) January 7, 2021
Mitchell followed up the championship season with the 2011 Walter Payton Award, staking his claim as one of the best players in Eastern Washington history.
AWARDS: Walter Payton Award history | Buck Buchanan Award history | Jerry Rice Award history
4. LB J.C. Sherritt
Sherritt is the second Buck Buchanan Award winner in Eastern Washington history. He won the award in 2010 after finishing as runner-up the year before, thanks to his record-setting 176 total tackles.
Sherritt is also one of the few FCS players to win a national award and a national championship in the same season. In the 2010 championship game, Sherritt had 18 tackles and led the defense to the game-winning stop to secure the only FCS title in Eastern Washington history.
Overall, Sherritt finished his impressive career with 432 career tackles, good for 10th all-time in FCS history.
Peach vs. Barriere: The battle for the final spot
The final spot on the list for top-5 all-time Eastern Washington players came down to Buchanan Award-winning defensive end Greg Peach and Payton Award-winning quarterback Eric Barriere. Here's what stands out about both:
DE Greg Peach
- Career stats: 35 1/2 sacks and 63 total tackles (school records)
- Finished fourth in FCS history for sacks
- Single-season stats (2008): 18 sacks and 28 tackles for loss (school records)
- Won the Buck Buchanan Award by the largest margin in history at the time
RECORDS: 7 of the most unbreakable records in FCS football history
QB Eric Barriere
- Career stats: 15,394 total yards of offense, 13,809 passing yards, 121 passing touchdowns, 22 rushing touchdowns
- Finished third in FCS history for total offense and passing yards.
- Tied for fourth in FCS history for passing touchdowns.
- Set a school record for touchdowns accounted for 143.
- Single-season stats (2021): 5,070 passing yards, 46 passing touchdowns, 222 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns.
🏆: The top plays from Walter Payton Award winner Eric Barriere’s 2021 season
As you can see, both players have a strong case for a top-five spot. Peach was the first player in Eastern Washington history to win the Buchanan Award, while Barriere won the Payton after finishing second the year prior.
Ultimately, the final spot on the list for top-5 all-time Eastern Washington players goes to Barriere. Barriere followed a long line of great Eastern Washington quarterbacks, including two fellow Payton Award winners, and shattered their records. Barriere finished his career as one of the most prolific passers in FCS history and as a top-5 Eagle all-time.
- QB Erik Meyer
- QB Vernon Adams
- RB Jesse Chatman
- RB Taiwan Jones
- WR Kendrick Bourne
- WR Erik Kimble
- OG Matt Alfred
- DE Greg Peach
- DB Kurt Schulz
We can't ignore the veteran amongst the omissions, Kurt Schulz; he was the first-ever Academic All-American in Eastern Washington with 17 career interceptions and 224 career tackles. However, he misses the list because his last collegiate season was in 1991, causing Schulz to miss out on the 1992 Big Sky title — the first in school history.
Two great running backs, Chatman and Jones, also just missed out. Chatman is Eastern Washington's all-time leading rusher, but he never made the FCS postseason tournament. Jones did make the FCS playoffs, rushing for 230 yards (a school playoff record) in the 2010 quarterfinals against North Dakota State. Unfortunately, Jones suffered an injury against the Bison that led him to miss the remainder of the postseason. If a healthy Jones continued his playoff success, there's no doubt he would've etched himself in the top 5.
ALL-TIME UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS upset here
Two electrifying quarterbacks, Meyer and Adams, missed out on the top five. While Meyer does have a Walter Payton Award (2005) to his name, he is also one of four Payton Award winners in Eagle history; someone had to get left out of the top-5. Adams was on his way to leading every Eastern Washington passing category by a wide margin and potentially could have won accolades of his own. However, Adams finished his career at Oregon instead of on the red turf.