Trio of Eagles Selected to Preseason All-America Team

A trio of seniors who helped lead the Eagles to the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs as underclassmen in 2012 – Steven Forgette, T.J. Lee and Ronnie Hamlin – have been selected to The Sports Network Preseason All-America squad announced Monday (July 1). Forgette and Lee were selected to the second team and Hamlin earned third team accolades.

All three earned All-America accolades a year ago and had highly-successful seasons for EWU, which finished 11-3 overall and 7-1 in the Big Sky to share the league title with Montana State. Forgette is a 2009 graduate of Heritage High School in Vancouver, Wash., and Lee graduated the same year from West Seattle High School. Hamlin is a senior from Lacey, Wash., who graduated from Timberline High School in 2009.

Forgette helped EWU rank seventh in the FCS in passing yards per game (318.9), 14th overall in total offense (442.0) and 17th in scoring (33.7). He started all 14 Eastern games at left offensive guard a year after breaking his fibula against Montana (9/17/11) and missing the rest of the season. He earned honorable mention All-Big Sky honors as a redshirt freshman in 2010 when the Eagles won the NCAA Division I title.

Despite missing most of the 2011 season because of an injury, Forgette’s 31 career starts are the most among all returning players. The only game he didn’t start in his 32-game career was to allow a senior to start on Senior Day in 2010. In 2012, he earned honorable mention All-America honors from the College Sports Journal and second team All-Big Sky accolades. He was also named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team.

Lee earned All-America honors in 2012 from The Sports Network (second team), and was also honored on the College Sporting News “Fabulous 50” All-America squad. Lee also was a first team All-Big Sky selection for the second-straight season. He ranked third on the team with 90 tackles and finished with 11 passes broken up to rank 10th in school history. His average of 6.4 tackles per game ranked 29th in the Big Sky and his total of 11 passes broken up were second. He also had 2 1/2 sacks, nine total tackles for loss, an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

A two-time first team All-Big Sky selection, Lee now has 149 tackles, three interceptions, 14 passes broken up and 2 1/2 sacks in his 34-game career. He is just 51 tackles from becoming the 34th Eagle in school history to finish with 200 career tackles. He needs just four passes broken up to rank on EWU’s top 10 list in that category.

In 2012, Hamlin earned All-America honors from Phil Steele Publications (fourth team) and was a first team All-Big Sky Conference selection. He was also named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team after starting all 14 games for the Eagles. In addition, he was chosen as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. He had 136 tackles in 2012 to rank fifth in school history, and his average of 9.71 per game ranked 31st in FCS and fourth in the Big Sky.

A 22-game starter for the Eagles, Hamlin has 221 tackles already in his 25-game EWU career to rank 22nd in school history.

The Sports Network Preseason All-America Team includes 98 players from 59 different schools and all 13 FCS conferences.  The Missouri Valley Football Conference, home to two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State, had nine selections on the first team and 17 overall. The Big Sky and Southern conferences both have 15 selections and CAA Football follows with 14. Next up are the Ohio Valley Conference with eight and the Southland Conference seven.

LIST OF PRESEASON HONORS WON THUS FAR BY EASTERN PLAYERS

70 – Steven Forgette – 6-4 – 300 – Sr. – 3L – Vancouver, Wash. (Heritage HS ’09)
The Sports Network Preseason All-America (Second Team)

31 – T.J. Lee III – 5-9 – 170 – Sr. – 3L – Seattle, Wash. (West Seattle HS ’09)
College Football Performance Awards Defensive Back Award Watch List
Lindy’s Magazine Preseason All-America (First Team)
The Sports Network Preseason All-America (Second Team)
Football Gameplan Preseason All-America (First Team)
Beyond Sports Network Preseason All-America (Third Team)

39 – Ronnie Hamlin – 6-2 – 235 – Sr. – 2L – Lacey, Wash. (Timberline HS ’09)
College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Award Watch List
The Sports Network Preseason All-America (Third Team)
Beyond Sports Network Preseason All-America (Second Team)

3 – Vernon Adams – 6-0 – 190 – So. – 1L – Pasadena, Calif. (Alemany HS ’11)
College Football Performance Awards Quarterback Award Watch List

48 – Jake Miller – 6-5 – 225 – Jr. – 2L – Spokane, Wash. (Central Valley HS ’10 / Washington State)
College Football Performance Awards Punter Award Watch List

EWU in National Preseason Rankings
4th (Sporting News) . . . also, #1 North Dakota State, #3 Montana State, #6 Sam Houston State, #9 Illinois State, #14 Montana, #17 Northern Arizona, #21 Cal Poly, #24 Sacramento State
6th (Lindy’s Magazine) . . . also, #1 North Dakota State, #3 Montana State, #10 Sam Houston State, #22 Illinois State, #23 Montana, #24 Wagner