Evergreen Athlete of the Week: Easop Winston Jr.

Redshirt junior receiver takes honors after big play Saturday night



Redshirt junior wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. attempts to wiggle free from group of Utah defenders Saturday in Martin Stadium. Winston has 22 receptions for 327 yards and five touchdowns this season.

SHAWN P. O'CONNOR, Evergreen columnist

The Cougs were in trouble. Trailing by three points with less than five minutes to go, WSU had the ball on their own 11-yard line.

That’s when the magic happened. Graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew II dropped a pass right in the breadbasket to redshirt junior receiver Easop Winston Jr., who made two University of Utah defenders miss on his way to a go-ahead 89-yard touchdown.

Martin Stadium exploded, the defense held and Winston walked off the field a hero, saving the game and the season for the Cougs.

Winston had a field day against the Utes, catching four balls for 115 receiving yards and a game-winning touchdown. Saturday was just another chapter in the incredible season Winston has had so far this year.

In his first year of action Winston has 22 receptions for 327 yards and five touchdowns. Winston has stretched the field for the Cougs in the last two games, burning the University of Southern California and Utah for 59-yard and 89-yard touchdown receptions, respectively. Winston is the second-leading receiver in total yards through five games, trailing only junior receiver Dezmon Patmon.

Winston’s path to stardom on the Coug’s roster is a unique one. He played his first two seasons of collegiate football at the City College of San Francisco, where he played his freshman year with fellow Coug redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Gordon. In two seasons and 22 games with the Rams, Winston caught 133 passes for 2,157 yards and 24 touchdowns.

He has been a winner in college, as his Rams team finished with a record of 12-1 his freshman season, including a Northern California Football Conference championship and a California Community College Athletic Association championship. His sophomore season was also quite successful as the team finished 7-4 despite a loss in the San Francisco Community College Bowl.

Winston tore up Utah on the way to collecting the Evergreen’s Athlete of the Week award this week. He has had a profound effect on the Cougar offense, gashing opposing defenses for long scores and providing a reliable red zone target for his quarterback.

Winston’s route to the Cougs is a story of perseverance as he climbed his way from a city college in the Bay Area to the big stage of WSU and the Pac-12.