LA GRANDE — No one from Eastern Oregon University heard their name called when teams from around the National Football League drafted 259 players — a total that included five from the University of Oregon and two from Oregon State — from Thursday, April 29, through Saturday, May 1.
But 64 years ago, Eastern tied Oregon State University for the highest number of players the league drafted from the state.
Pro football teams drafted two players from Eastern and two from OSU in the 1957 NFL Draft, according to the website pro-footballreference.com. The players from Eastern were Jack Harmon, an end, who the Baltimore Colts drafted in the eighth round, and Bill West, a back, who the Detroit Lions took in the 13th round. Harmon was the 90th player taken and West was the 155th player drafted.
Harmon and West were members of the 1956 Eastern team that won the old Oregon Collegiate Conference title. While the pros drafted the pair, they never played in the NFL.
The Oregon Collegiate Conference existed from 1950 to 1970 and included Eastern, George Fox, Oregon College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State College and Southern Oregon University. During the league's existence, Eastern Oregon either won or shared the title twice, sharing the title with Oregon College, which is now Western Oregon University, and Southern Oregon in 1955, before winning it outright in 1956.