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College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Monday, April 26, 2004

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Ravens come through in clutch for Rimpf


Brian Rimpf had to be feeling a little like the East Carolina baseball team on Sunday — trailing in the bottom of the ninth. Fortunately, there was a happy ending for both.

Rimpf, an All Conference USA offensive lineman at East Carolina for the last three seasons, was in Raleigh at the home of his parents, Cindy and Anton Rimpf, watching the NFL draft on ESPN2.

There had been 44 picks in the seventh and final round late Sunday afternoon. There were 10 compensatory selections remaining and the Baltimore Ravens were on the clock. Suddenly, Rimpf’s afternoon became a lot sunnier. His name flashed on the screen, making him the 246th pick overall in 2004 and the only player from ECU to be selected this year.

“I felt a lot better after that,” said Rimpf, who was projected to go any time on the second day.

Rimpf was looking at free agency if he had not been among the second day’s bottom 10. Ravens offensive line coach Jim Costello, who met Rimpf at the Pirates’ pro day, called to offer congratulations. So did a Baltimore publicist. Rimpf is scheduled to report for a mini-camp next weekend.

His signing bonus will probably be in the neighborhood of $25,000 to $30,000, according to a knowledgeable source. The Ravens paid a signing bonus of $24,125 to safety Antoine Sanders of Utah, the 44th pick in the seventh round last year.

Rimpf’s agent is New York-based Joel Sigal. League minimum for a 3-year deal is $230,000 the first year, $305,000 the second year and $380,000 the third year.

Rimpf is happy to get a chance with the Ravens.

“They’re a winning team,” Rimpf said. “They won the Super Bowl a few years ago (2001). They’re a team that knows how to win. They’ve got a lot of good players and I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Rimpf put in a lot of effort to prepare for the draft. He went to New Orleans to work with fitness trainer Tom Shaw before the Senior Bowl. He was invited to the NFL combine in Indianapolis, where he was measured at 6-feet-5 and five-eighths inches and 318 pounds.

One informed source said the concern with Rimpf was whether he could match up with athletic NFL rush ends as a left tackle, a concern that might ultimately mean a switch to right guard.

Free agents

Several ECU players will probably get shots at the NFL as free agents. Versatile Vonta Leach will likely sign with Green Bay. His agent sorted through 11 teams expressing interest in the linebacker turned fullback and the Packers were deemed his best opportunity. A source had Pirates receiver Terrance Copper signing with the Dallas Cowboys. Defensive tackle Damane Duckett is also expected to hook up quickly with an NFL team.

Brindise close to draft’s stars

Eli Manning of Ole Miss and’s Carolinas Player of the Year Philip Rivers of N.C. State were part of a trade that was the big news of the draft. New ECU offensive coordinator Noah Brindise worked with both at the Manning Quarterback Academy at Southeastern Louisiana last July.

Manning reminds Brindise of Rex Grossman, who he coached at Florida, and Rivers reminds him of Patrick Ramsey, who Brindise worked with as quarterbacks coach of the Washington Redskins.

“(Eli) is like his brother in that both have the personalities of winners,” Brindise said. “Eli is a little quieter. Peyton is a little more outgoing and vocal. ... (Eli) He has a quiet confidence. Physically, he has all the tools. He may throw a better ball than Peyton. He’s a franchise-type player. I’d hate to be the team that passed on him.”

No one, of course, passed on Manning. The San Diego Chargers took him first overall and then traded him to the New York Giants for Rivers, who was taken fourth.

“Great personality,” Brindise said of Rivers. “Physically, he looks like he could play tight end. He throws a good, catchable ball. There’s some debate on his mechanics. He might need a little tweaking, but I don’t think he needs a major overhaul like some people are saying.

"He’s the kind of guy you want in your huddle because guys are going to listen to him and respect him. And you know he’s going to be the kind of guy you want off the field because he’s going to put in the time studying film and learning your system. ... He’s got all the tools, a huge upside.”

Former Indiana head coach Cam Cameron is San Diego’s offensive coordinator.

“He’s widely regarded as a good offensive coordinator and a good developer of young quarterbacks,” Brindise said. “San Diego is a great situation for a young quarterback. They’ve got a great young running back, LaDanian Tomlinson. They use him a lot in the passing game coming out of the backfield...

“The fact that they have a back like Tomlinson can take a lot of pressure off a quarterback with Tomlinson’s ability to run. Defenses have to respect the play action dimension.

“One big thing for Philip is to get more production from wide receivers, which is an area that has been a struggle and they lost David Boston to Miami. They might address that need later in this draft.
Protection-wise, they were really a little thin last year on the offensive line. I think they’ve tried to address that through free agency.

“Brian Schottenheimer [son of Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer] is the quarterbacks coach. He was a year ahead of me in the program at Florida. He’s been at Southern Cal on the college level. He’ll do a good job with Philip.”


East Carolina’s baseball season is becoming storybook stuff. Down a run in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday to Louisville, which was seeking to avoid a 3-game sweep at the hands of the Pirates, ECU got a 2-run homer from Trevor Lawhorn to win a school-record 16th straight game. ... I don’t understand German but I can make out on the Berlin Thunder’s web site that the team for which Steve Logan is quarterbacks coach is now 4-0 after its 14-10 win over the Rhein Fire. The Thunder scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to overcome a 10-0 Fire lead, the first TD coming on a 1-yard scoring pass by Rohan Davey. ... Allegany College men’s basketball coach Bob Kirk was vacationing in Florida last week, which delayed the signing of scoring guard Dwayne Shackleford, who is being recruited by ECU. Shackleford will likely make his choice known by midweek.

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02/23/2007 12:45:31 AM

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