CHRONICLING ECU & C-USA SPORTS
from the 'ville
February 2, 2006
By Al Myatt
Recruiting class of '06
Coaches will tell you that the factor that
most frequently determines their ability is the ability of their players.
That's what makes football signing day so
significant, because it defines the talent that a program has attracted and
therefore indicates to a degree a team's potential for future success.
In appraising the class of 23 players that
signed football letters of intent with East Carolina on Wednesday, Pirates
coach Skip Holtz indicated that he and his staff had accomplished their
bottom line goal of bringing better players into the program.
"The thing that we're looking for when we sit
down and watch the film is not necessarily trying to compare one player to
the other player, but what we're looking at is, 'Is he better than what we
have?' Holtz said.
"Is he better than some of the players we have
in the program? That's kind of what we use as our measuring stick because
we're always looking to get better as we go through recruiting. I think
we've improved ourself as a football team right now through this signing
The Pirates addressed needs by signing
offensive linemen and linebackers in volume, but there also appears to be a
nice collection of skill players headed for Greenville.
Still, evaluating recruits in football is a
difficult proposition. Information on ESPN Insider rates Dwayne Harris
(6-foot-1, 190 pounds) of Tucker, GA, as the best of the Pirate signees. He
is No. 52 nationally among quarterbacks, although he is listed as an
"athlete" in information released through the ECU sports information
department, which could indicate that a possible position change is
Dekota Marshall (6-1, 180) of Southwest Onslow
is listed as the No. 93 running back nationally but Holtz indicated his best
opportunity for early playing time may be at cornerback.
D.J. Scott of Green Cove Spring, FL, is also
rated No. 60 among offensive tackles.
ECU's overall class is rated No. 97 nationally
and sixth among the 12 teams in Conference USA. Southern Miss supposedly
signed the best class in the league and is rated No. 69. Although Memphis is
coming off two straight bowl trips, the Tigers have the lowest rated class
in C-USA, according to ESPN Insider's info, at No. 120.
The difficulty in comparing players and
classes in football is that those who compile the rankings see only limited
footage of prospects at best.
Holtz made the comment that a recent signee,
who had gotten a 2-star rating (out of five stars) was one of the best
players he had seen.
There is a much greater degree of validity in
basketball recruiting because the top players often are assembled in summer
camps and go head to head in competition. That gives recruiting evaluators a
more effective and meaningful tool in compiling ratings.
As former ECU coach Steve Logan used to say
when asked how good a particular class was, "I can tell you in four years."
Regardless of where the Pirates are rated,
Holtz likes the incoming class and says some will have the chance to make an
immediate impact. That's the bottom line.
Holtz said his approach is to take players
from North Carolina first. The Pirates signed a significant in-state ECU
legacy of sorts with Norman Whitley of the storied program at Richmond
County. His coach with the Raiders was former Pirates coach Ed Emory.
Noting the heights of some of the receivers
signed by the Pirates and ECU looks to be in favorable position to win "jump
balls" in the secondary.
Holtz and staff also hit talent-rich areas
such as Florida, Georgia and Tidewater Virginia to get players who they
anticipate will make the Pirate program better.
Holtz announces deletions
Rather than deal with departures from the
program as a potential distraction later on, Holtz announced at his signing
day news conference that the building process of additions and deletions had
resulted in a number of players departing from the program.
Five players are planning to transfer. Those
include receiver Brian Howard, defensive back Erode Jean, offensive linemen
Zack Davis and Mike Williams, and defensive lineman Mike Horner. Holtz said
that group will likely transfer to Division I-AA programs to avoid sitting
out a season. He stressed that all were leaving on good terms and that all
felt their opportunities for playing time would be better at other
Defensive lineman Mike MacDonagh must give up
football because of a spinal condition. Holtz also said receiver Robert
Tillman had been suspended for the semester.
Logan in Saints' QB coach mix
Although former ECU coach Steve Logan had been
mentioned as a possibility for the quarterbacks coach position at Green Bay
that went to Tom Clements, he is also in the mix to join the staff of New
Orleans coach Sean Payton at the same position.
Logan will likely return to NFL Europe, where
he has performed well as quarterbacks coach of the Berlin Thunder for the
past two years, if the New Orleans possibility doesn't pan out.
ECU completed its $200,000 annual obligation
to Logan on Jan. 1.
Pirate Club treasure chest
For the fiscal year that ended on June 30,
2005, the ECU Educational Foundation, better known as the Pirate Club,
reported $7,934,052 in total contributions.
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02/23/2007 12:29:51 AM