Final Part of Two-part Feature on ECU Recruit
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Notebook No. 55
Monday, March 4, 2002
By Denny O'Brien
Staff Writer and Columnist
Scotland High Connection to ECU Keeps
East Carolina recruit David
Jorgensen, an All-Conference lineman at Scotland County High
School, cuts upfield in the 2001 North-South Shrine Bowl in
Rock Hill, SC.
The Laurinburg Exchange}
For Jorgensen, Pirate Football Makes Perfect Fit
LAURINBURG — For David Jorgensen, finding the perfect pair of jeans can
be a difficult task. Selecting the appropriate college, on the other hand,
was easy as pie.
Since his freshman year, Jorgensen has had his sights set on East
Carolina, envisioning himself sprinting into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium amidst
the sounds of "Purple Haze." That's been his dream since he first attended
one of head coach Steve Logan's increasingly popular summer camps, where he
had the opportunity to work with the ECU staff.
Now, with the dream about to become a reality, the future Pirate has
turned his attention toward securing a starting position — something he
hopes to obtain as early as next season.
"The (ECU) coaching staff said I'm as ready physically as anybody they've
seen come through there at my age," Jorgensen said. "They've invited me to
come up early to work out, and I plan to do that.
"They talked to me earlier about redshirting, but I'm going to do what I
can to position myself for a starting job. Everybody's got to have goals,
and that's mine."
Such a goal might seem unrealistic, even for a player of Jorgensen's
stature. Logan annually redshirts the majority of his incoming freshmen,
with the occasional exception made to fill immediate needs.
But Scotland head coach Mark Barnes is quick to point that we aren't
dealing with your average freshman here. At six-foot-three, 300-pounds,
Jorgensen already has the size to play at the next level, and with a
world-record bench press under his belt, he certainly has the muscle.
"The thing that David really brings to the table is the strength factor,"
Barnes said. "He will be way ahead of the other freshmen at the next level.
"He is a very athletic person — he's never been fat. David has very good
footwork, and is very quick for a kid his size."
Physically, there's no debating that Jorgensen is ready for big-time
college ball. It's the mental and emotional strains of adjusting to college
life that concern his parents most, which is why they'd prefer their
youngest son take advantage of his redshirt year.
For the time being, though, Jorgensen continues to work toward his goal —
and is doing everything in his power to achieve it.
"Right now, I feel like I'm there with my upper body," he said. "But I
need to get quicker. I'm working hard on my lower body to strengthen my
One factor in Jorgensen's favor is the high school program in which he
played. Scotland County competes in arguably the state's toughest conference
— Mid-Southeastern 4A — where the Scots tied traditional powers Douglas Byrd
and Richmond County for the league crown last season.
While at Scotland, Jorgensen had the opportunity to learn from former ECU
standout Norman Quick, widely considered one of the state's best offensive
line coaches. Under Quick's tutelage, Jorgensen blossomed into an
All-Conference tackle, one good enough to earn an invitation to the Shrine
Bowl last season.
Sound fundamentals were one of the biggest selling points for ECU
offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler, who projects the Laurinburg product
as a guard in the Pirates' complex blocking system.
"One of the things I really look for in offensive linemen is whether or
not they have what we call a good bend," Shankweiler said. " A lot of times,
kids that size can't get a good bend in their knees. They are so top-heavy
that they just tip right over.
"David can really get down and play in a low plain. He has powerful hips
and legs. He really fits what we look for in our guards."
Jorgensen (right), teammate and
friend Akeem Hale (left) and personal fitness coach Brooks Hale
display awards after a July weightlifting competition in Hickory
in which Jorgensen set a world bench press record for his age
The Laurinburg Exchange}
Jorgensen accentuated his diverse skill set in the Scots' versatile
offense, which underwent a major overhaul this past season. Throughout the
first nine years of Barnes' tenure, the Scots were defined by their
smash-mouth style, which changed last year when they deployed a high-octane
The experience of playing in two different offensive systems should come
in handy for Jorgensen in Greenville.
"He's been in two different offenses since he's been at Scotland," said
Barnes, who has compiled an 81-35 record in ten seasons at the school. "I
think that diversity will really help him at the next level.
"When he was a sophomore and junior, we were more of a straight-ahead
power running team, which gave him the chance to use his strength to knock
people down. During his senior year, we ran a spread offense, which gave him
the opportunity to fine-tune his skills in the five-step passing game. I
think that experience will really pay dividends at East Carolina."
And if Jorgensen has anything to say about it, the pay-off will begin
Of all the in-state Division I-A schools, East Carolina is the most
distant from Laurinburg. The 170-mile trek is highlighted by a 90-mile
stretch of I-95, which can sometimes transform a three-hour drive into a
Yet, the inconvenient haul hasn't turned away some of Scotland's finest
players, who played integral roles in creating Pirate football lore at
various times over the last couple of decades.
"If you really do your research," Barnes said, "you'll see that the
bloodlines from Scotland County to East Carolina go way back to the 80s with
Norman Quick and Jeff Pegues.
"I think the relationship is quite a tribute to the two schools. They
have a very good program up there, and so do we. I'm happy anytime we can
get a player looked at by East Carolina."
Both Quick and Pegues were members of the legendary ECU team of 1983 that
finished nationally-ranked at 8-3, with the three losses coming against
Miami, Florida, and Florida State by a combined 13 points. Quick combined
with consensus All-American Terry Long to anchor a stout offensive front,
while Pegues shined as a dominant defensive end, earning honorable mention
All-America honors during that remarkable season.
There was a lengthy span in the 90s, however, when the Pirates' roster
was missing that hint of Scotland flavor. It's not that Barnes wasn't
manufacturing Division-I talent, rather the school's blue chippers were
But that trend has changed of late, as February 6 marked the
third-consecutive year the Pirates have gathered a signature from a
Laurinburg native. Defensive back Brandon Rainer and receiver Garrett
Peterkin signed in 2000 and 2001, respectively, and should figure
prominently into the Pirates' plans next season.
Now, Shankweiler hopes East Carolina can maintain that momentum, plucking
Laurinburg's finest on an annual basis. To do so, he'll continue to sell the
Pirates' winning tradition, not to mention Greenville's down-home
"We've always recruited the Scotland County area really hard, and we will
continue to do so," Shankweiler said. "It is a strong football culture, one
that gets a lot of support from the community.
"Our recent success down there is a tribute to where our program is right
now. I think those kids are surprised by what we have to offer — the
facilities that we have. And I think kids from towns like Laurinburg feel a
sense of home up here."
And if Vicky Jorgensen has told her son once, she's told him a thousand
times — there's no place like home.
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02/23/2007 01:46:13 AM