Northwestern State All-American receiver and return specialist Ed Eagan admits like everybody else, he’s eager to see who the Demons start at quarterback in their Thursday evening season opener at Turpin Stadium against Southeastern Louisiana.
Eagan has a vested interest. With 119 grabs, he’s nine catches away from becoming the Demons’ career receptions leader, and 740 yards from the career receiving yardage school record.
But he doesn’t think about that, or get worked up about starting the season against SLU, the two-time defending conference champ located an hour’s drive from his New Orleans hometown.
“No, I don’t. It’s a team effort. They have some great players, especially in the secondary, so it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m hoping we come together as a team and that’s how you win,” said the Holy Cross High School product, who has piled up his career receiving totals in just two seasons after playing cornerback as a true freshman.
Eagan’s production at receiver to date has been with 2014 senior quarterback Zach Adkins. Now he’ll count on getting throws from senior transfer Stephen Rivers, junior two-year letterman Daniel “Bear” Hazlewood, or sophomores J.D. Almond or Joel Blumenthal.
Demons’ coach Jay Thomas said he’ll likely set the quarterback rotation when the team resumes practice Sunday afternoon, although he will probably not announce it prior to NSU’s first offensive series following the 6 p.m. kickoff Thursday. All four players will continue to get repetitions in practice, and Thomas said all four could play.
That’s fine with Eagan, who is pleased at the progress he’s seen since the Demons reported for preseason camp Aug. 4.
“We’ve gotten a lot accomplished. All the quarterbacks have worked with the playbook and we’ve all gotten a lot done, gotten our timing down,” he said. “There’s still a lot to learn, but we’ve come a long way.”
While fans and coaches analyze the attributes of each quarterback, Eagan can also add some perspective away from the field.
“They’re all pretty funny, actually. They all have a good sense of humor, always joking, until it’s time to focus in on football and then they compete,” he said.
“Stephen’s pretty good at FIFA, a video game we like to play. We all joke around about FIFA, and I have to give him that. Bear has a lot of skills. He’s good at basketball. He thinks he could play here … they have some good athletes out there.”
Blumenthal, a mid-year transfer from Butler County (Kan.) Community College, is Eagan’s roommate.
“Joel is a lot like me, actually. He likes to focus in, doesn’t do anything crazy. We just hang out and when it’s time for football, go to work,” said Eagan.
Blumenthal’s blazing speed – he ran on an Oklahoma state champion 4×100 meter relay team at Deer Creek High School in Edmond, and his 40-yard dash time ranges between 4.3 and 4.4 – is eye-catching and explosive. It’s also the source of roommate rivalry.
“In the spring he had me by a step, but this summer I’ve been grinding really hard, and he’d let you know now that I’m a little faster now,” said Eagan, with a slow grin.