Freshmen feel a part of the Eagle family


The EWU football team takes the field before its scrimmage on August 25 | Jeremy Burnham for The Easterner

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

The EWU football team stepped onto Roos field today for its second scrimmage of training camp, one week before the season opener against Central Washington University.

Ahead of the scrimmage head coach Aaron Best said that the focus would be on finding first and second year players who may play a role offensively, defensively or on special teams. He added that they want to get off the field with good health.

This year the Eagles return 28 seniors and 56 total letterwinners, including 17 starters, leaving the opportunity for freshman to find their way onto the field even more difficult than past years.

After the scrimmage, Best highlighted freshmen Tre Weed, Champ Grayson, Isaiah Lewis and Darrien Sampson as some of the freshman that have come into camp and impressed him thus far.

“At the end of the day we’re a better team because they’re better freshman,” Best said. “Whether they play or not, that’s to be determined. Everybody wants to play, but everyone that didn’t redshirt after their first year wishes that at the end of their career they would’ve redshirted.”

Tre Weed, a freshman defensive back from Sumner, said that he chose to play at EWU because of the way he connected with the coaches on their visit, and the family atmosphere they created.

“When [the coaches] came over for my home visit, it felt normal,” Weed said. “It felt like I had a bunch of friends over hanging out, they were making jokes with my parents and just chilling. I definitely feel more comfortable with these coaches than any of the other ones that recruited me.”

Weed said that once he got into camp the veteran guys took him under their wing and helped him along with anything he was struggling with. He’s noticed that the game is more advanced in college so far, from the depth of the playbook to the overall speed of the game and thinks that he has progressed both physically and mentally over the course of training camp. He took some reps in the scrimmage today and said it felt great.

“It was super fun out there flying around with the guys.” Weed said.

Champ Grayson, a freshman wide receiver from Kennewick, joined the Eagles with his former high school teammates, now two redshirt freshmen, Darreon Moore and Wyatt Musser.

“It was nice knowing some people coming into here,” Grayson said. “I got to meet their friends and that helped me, and then everyone is like a family. They come up to you if you’re eating alone, and we’ve done a few things, like you had to sing in front of all the guys, which sucked, but it’s fun and all the rookies have to do it. They do a good job of getting to know you and making sure you’re not left out.”

Grayson said about the scrimmage today that it is different than high school ball. Like Weed, he noted the difference in speed of the game, and added that you can’t take any reps off because everyone is good at what they do.

Isaiah Lewis, a freshman running back from Monroe, received praise audible from the stands from head coach Best after a series where he took several hard-fought carries for gains of 5-10 yards a piece. Coming out of high school Lewis had three offers to play college football and chose to come to EWU because of the higher level of competition.

“It felt good to finally get into my groove,” Lewis said. “I felt like over camp, no matter what anybody says, I felt like I haven’t done a lot, or what I could do. I felt like out here with the few carries I did have that I was kind of able to show myself a little bit, but I’m still not satisfied at all.” 

Senior QB Gage Gubrud hands off to freshman RB Isaiah Lewis| Jeremy Burnham for The Easterner

Lewis said he can’t put exactly where he sees himself getting to in the future, but that he has high standards for himself, and he picked EWU for a reason. He wants to show that he can compete with the best.

Lewis added that the family talk around the program is real.

“Honestly coming in as a freshman I was super scared,” Lewis said. “I was like, ‘dang none of these guys are going to like me, I’m just going to be the little freshman again’. But all these guys, I’ve known them for a month, and I already feel closer to them than most people at home. I love it here.”

The Eagles will resume a full week of practice on Monday in preparation for their home opener against Central Washington University on Sept. 1.