By Joel Willits
The true measure of a MVP can be seen in their performances in the clutch: It’s been said that the big players step up in big games.
It can be seen across all leagues: David Ortiz owns the Yankees, Tom Brady holds a 10-1 record in the NFL playoffs and Mark Messier won six Stanley Cups. A true MVP comes up biggest when his team needs him the most: whether it’s Kirk Gibson stepping up to the plate and hitting his way into history or Broadway Joe guaranteeing victory and backing it up. The MVP simply steps it up when everything is on the line.
A blind man could see that Erik Meyer has done this his entire career at EWU.
Meyer passed for over 300 yards in 17 games in his career. Three of these games came against arguably Eastern’s biggest rivals, Montana and Montana State. Another came against Southern Illinois in the Division I-AA playoffs. Meyer’s stats in these four big games: 14 touchdowns, 1,524 yards and only four interceptions. The big games are the ones that count, and Meyer came through for the Eagles.
His time at Eastern has been nothing short of spectacular. After a career in which he broke nearly every EWU passing record, he was awarded with the Walter Payton Award as the 2005-2006 Division I-AA top player. He was also the Big Sky Offensive MVP two seasons in a row.
Meyer amassed 10,261 yards and 84 touchdowns in his career, and quarterbacked the Eagles to back-to-back Big Sky Championships, the first time ever in school history. Without Meyer at the helm, it’s hard to see that accomplishment happening.
While Rodney Stuckey is surely the future at Eastern Washington University, Meyer’s time is now. Stuckey will almost certainly (and deservedly) earn this award every single year until he leaves EWU, but these past few years have belonged to Erik Meyer.
His last year is no exception.
By Eric Schwartz
Choosing between Erik Meyer and Rodney Stuckey for EWU MVP is like choosing between $1 million in diamonds and $1 million in silver Ã¢?” The worth is the same, but a beautiful, glistening diamond will always be more attractive than a simple precious metal.
Rodney Stuckey was a diamond for EWU.
Sure, Meyer has the longevity. In four years at Eastern, this California boy has erased the history books, rewritten them and erased them again. He’s made other marks as well, scribbling EWU on the collegiate football map while racking up two conference championships, a Big Sky MVP and recognition as Division I-AA’s best player.
But Stuckey was able to accomplish more than just records. After leading his Kentwood High School (Wash.) team to a state championship in 2004, he had the audacity to believe he could have similar success at the collegiate level Ã¢?” and that he did. In one season donning the red and white, Stuckey was named the Big Sky MVP and Collegeinsider.com NCAA Freshman of the Year. His average of 24.2 points per game is a record for both EWU and Big Sky freshmen.
Stuckey, with his flair for the clutch and ability to amaze with pure athleticism, brought students back to Reese Court in droves.
While both Meyer and Stuckey were masters of their trade and irreplaceable representatives for EWU athletics, it has been Stuckey who has motivated the students. Not to take anything away from the loyal EWU football fans, but the transformation of Reese Court basketball from a cricket-bed to a premiere event complete with a rabid student section has been much more impressive than Woodward Field’s continuation as a stadium that’s full at kickoff and empty by third quarter.
Meyer has left his own indelible mark on EWU, and it won’t be erased anytime soon.
Stuckey, however, has just begun to pen his way into EWU history, and has everybody clamoring for a few more chapters.