Sophomore wide receiver is EWU's male Scholar Athlete of the Month and the leading receiver on the 11-2 Eastern football team
By Krystal Deyo, Eastern Washington Sports Information
Heading into his 14th game of the season, Brandon Kaufman of the Eastern Washington University football team has been named the November Scholar Athlete of the Month, along with senior volleyball standout Alysha Cook.
A sophomore from Denver, Colo., Kaufman has been a force on the red Sprinturf this season, being the first to score at the "Inferno" during the memorable 36-27 defeat of Montana. Kaufman not only has football on the brain, but also school, as he holds a 3.57 cumulative grade point average in sociology/criminal justice, and will be named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team for the second time in his career. His secret to success: time management.
With fall quarter over, Kaufman has plenty of time to devote solely to football, especially with a glimpse of a national championship title emerging. The Eagles have advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, and hosts reigning FCS champion Villanova Friday (Dec. 17) on ESPN2. Kickoff at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., will be 5:05 p.m. Pacific time.
Kaufman has caught a team-leading 59 passes for 959 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010. He had caught at least one pass in 18-straight games until last week against North Dakota State, and the last time he failed to catch a pass was on Oct. 10, 2009, in the third game of his career. He has caught touchdown passes in nine of 13 games this season, including the last seven regular season games of the year with a pair of fourth-quarter game-winners.
He ranks 32nd in FCS in receiving yards per game (73.8), is 70th in receptions per game (4.54) and his 12 touchdown catches are the fourth-most in FCS. Kaufman has had 100-yard receiving performances against Montana on Sept. 18 (five catches for 119 yards), Weber State on Oct. 2 (five catches for 138 yards), Northern Arizona on Oct. 9 (five catches for 117 yards) and Southern Utah on Nov. 13 (nine catches for 129 yards).
Against Southern Utah on Nov. 13, he caught a career-high nine passes for 129 yards with a long of 43, and had touchdown catches of 25 and 24 yards that were of the "how did he make that catch?" variety. His latter TD catch came with 3:39 left and provided the winning points in Eastern's 31-24 victory. In the next game against Idaho State, he scored EWU's first two touchdowns in the 34-7 victory with TD catches of 10 and 30 yards.
He had a five-catch, 94-yard performance against Northern Colorado, which included a 4-yard touchdown pass with 3:08 left that knotted the score at 28. He is a 2009 graduate of Heritage High School in the Denver, Colo., area, just a short distance from the game played in Greeley. His family was at the game in force, reportedly purchasing 80 tickets for the game
Q: Why did you pick Eastern?
A: "During my senior year of high school, I got hurt. Eastern was the only team that offered me a spot on the roster. All of the other schools took my offer away. It felt good that Eastern trusted me enough to still offer me a spot."
Q: What is your favorite thing about Eastern and why?
A: "I really love that the football team is a family and you can rely on anybody. Everybody has your back and you have theirs."
Q: What is a tip that you would give another student athlete to find success in school and in their sport?
A: "I would tell them to always know when assignments are due and to devote your time wisely. When you have practice, focus on practice. And when you have school, focus on that."
Q: Though you are only a sophomore, do you have plans for after college?
A: "I really hope to be playing football after college. That's all I can really focus on right now."
Q: Who is your favorite professor and why?
A: "Todd Hechtman, a sociology professor at Eastern. He is really knowledgeable in the topics that he teaches. He is very smart but also zany and funny, too."
Q: Who is the best player or team you have ever played against?
A: "Probably Trumaine Johnson from Montana. I didn't get to play against him much this year, but he is the best player I've played against when I faced him last season."
Q: Do you have a pre-game ritual?
A: "I always go home and take a nap with my dog."
Q: What has been your favorite play this season?
A: "When I scored against Montana. It was pretty wild with all of the fans being so loud. It was cool getting the first score on the red field."
Q: Do you have a most memorable moment since you have been at Eastern?
A: "This season has been pretty memorable. Every game has been fun. It's hard trying not to get caught up in what's going on. I'm sure I'll look back and know that this was a pretty incredible season."
Q: What is your favorite song right now?
A: "Monster by Kanye West."