Ed Eagan smashing records at Northwestern State _lowres

Photos by Gary Hardamon – Ed Eagan # 7

LAKE CHARLES — Ed Eagan can’t help but think about breaking records.

The Northwestern State senior receiver and kick returner set five school records and tied another during his breakout 2014 season.

Eagan is already the Demons’ all-time leader in career kickoff return yards, single-season kickoff return yards, single-season kickoff returns, single-season receptions and single-game receiving yards.

With one year remaining, the former Holy Cross High School standout needs only eight receptions, 740 receiving yards and 974 all-purpose yards to secure those three career marks in the Northwestern State record books.

Though Eagan tries not to look ahead or dwell on numbers, he relishes setting new marks.

“It is in the back of my mind sometimes, but you try not to focus on that,” Eagan said Wednesday at Southland Conference Media Day. “You try to focus on the present moment and that play, one play at a time. You make sure your practices are good, and you’ll be all right.”

Eagan is no stranger to breaking records. While playing cornerback at Holy Cross, he snagged five interceptions in a single game, a state record that still stands.

The New Orleans native also flashed his potential on special teams, accumulating six return touchdowns during his high school career.

Northwestern State recruited Eagan as a cornerback, but coach Jay Thomas moved him to wide receiver following the 2012 season after seeing his reliable hands and playmaking ability.

Eagan was the Demons’ leading receiver as a sophomore, but his best was yet to come. In 2014, he ranked second in the FCS with 180.8 all-purpose yards per game on his way to earning College Sporting News FCS Special Teams Player of the Year recognition.

Eagan’s explosive junior year came after he spent some of the previous summer training with Odell Beckham Jr., the former LSU wide receiver who went on to win 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

The 5-foot-10 receiver said he and Beckham became friends in high school and recalled practicing with him at Newman High School.

As a senior, Eagan is a preseason first-team All-SLC selection as a wide receiver, punt returner and all-purpose player. SA College Football also named him a preseason first-team All-America receiver.

Such sky-high expectations could suffocate some players, but Eagan said he thrives under scrutiny.

“The pressure sometimes make it easier for me just to go out and prove myself every day,” he said.

Eagan credited his vision and special teams coordinator August Mangin’s scheme for his success in the return game. His 4.3-second 40-yard dash doesn’t hurt, either.

“People say I’m quick side to side,” Eagan said. “When people say that, I say ‘No, I can run (fast) straight too.’ ”

Even with his elite speed and quickness, Eagan benefitted from playing alongside another record-setter — former Northwestern State quarterback Zach Adkins.

But now the Demons are moving forward with an inexperienced quarterback corps. Their four quarterbacks — two of whom are transfers — have combined for 157 passing attempts on the college level.

Eagan has taken it upon himself to get them acclimated with the system in time for the Demons’ season-opening matchup with defending league co-champion Southeastern Louisiana.

“I need to get them comfortable and show them around,” Eagan said. “We go and eat dinner sometimes and talk about that stuff. I just have to make sure they’re getting the plays down and doing the right things.”

He enjoys being a jack-of-all-trades, but he said returning punts is his favorite responsibility because it has been his only constant position since high school.

But the receiver may find himself filling another role this season — Thomas jested about slotting the speedster at cornerback again.

Eagan simply said he’ll do whatever the team needs him to do.

Maybe he’ll break a few more records along the way.