Erik the Great

JUST HOW IMPRESSIVE was senior safety <b>Erik Coleman</b> against UCLA? So impressive that a day after becoming the first player in Pac-10 history to simultaneously earn player of the week honors for both defense and special teams comes word that he has been chosen National Defensive Player of the Week as well.

Coleman today was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after posting 10 tackles, intercepting two passes, nearly intercepting two others, forcing two fumbles, and recovering a fumble in WSU's 31-13 win over the Bruins.

His first forced fumble came at the end of a 29-yard punt return by UCLA's Craig Bragg. The ball was recovered by teammate Jeremy Bohannon, who returned it 72 yards to the Bruin 12-yard line to set up a Cougar touchdown.

On Monday, Coleman earned a remarkable double-whammy in the awards category, as he was named both Pac-10 defensive and special teams Player of the Week, in the process becoming the first player in conference history to accomplish that feat.

The Pride of Spokane's Lewis & Clark High, Coleman is the first Cougar to earn the Nagurski honor since free safety Lamont Thompson in 2001. Thompson, Coleman's mentor for two seasons before moving on to the NFL, also won the award following a victory over UCLA.

Coleman now has been added to the watch list for the Nagurski Trophy, which goes annually to the best defensive player in college football. It will be presented Dec. 8 in Charlotte, N.C.

Coleman leads Washington State with 69 tackles on the season and is tied for the team lead with six interceptions. A year ago, en route to honorable mention all-conference recognition, he had a team-high 86 tackles for the Pac-10 champion Cougars.

With 11 career INTs, Coleman ranks among WSU's all-time top ten air theft artists.

Cougfan Top Stories