Insights and Observations
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
By Henry Hinton
Recruiting: The Pirates are
back in vogue
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Wednesday afternoon, the truth will be known about the 2007 recruiting
class. Expectations are definitely high after hearing of the caliber of prep
players who have committed to Skip Holtz and his hard working, hard
recruiting coaching staff.
always at least one or two guys that change their mind at the last hour, but
this year’s East Carolina recruiting class promises to be one of the best
ever. Some are even predicting that it will be the absolute best.
Carolina usually signs a few players every year that have offers from teams
in the ACC, Big East or some other school in one of the BCS conferences.
Often there is some special reason a player signs with ECU instead of
heading up the road and playing for one of the other in-state schools or a
couple of states away.
of that would be David Garrard or Marcus Crandell, both offered by the
in-state ACC schools to the west, but signed by East Carolina. Garrard and
Crandell were drawn to the Pirates because of the promised opportunity to
come in and start at quarterback — a commitment the other schools would not
Skip Holtz and staff have put together a class of high school seniors that
many Division I-A football schools would be proud of, with as many as seven
players from this year’s class fielding offers from “BCS” schools.
Louisville, Virginia and Virginia Tech reportedly offered a scholarship to
one player who eventually gave Holtz a verbal commitment. Florida, Auburn,
Georgia and LSU offered another.
Carolina and N.C. State were still after Harnett Central quarterback
Rodney Cox as late as this week, but he is expected to sign his letter
of intent with the Pirates later today.
expected to sign somewhere around 25 high school seniors. Approximately 20
of them hail from the state of North Carolina. The change in the recruiting
strategy from former Pirate head coach John Thompson to Holtz is evident.
Thompson concentrated on out of state targets, and primarily Florida kids.
recruiting strategy has been put to the test by many universities hoping to
take advantage of the rich talent pool in that large and populous state.
East Carolina’s rank in the minds of 17-year olds, however, has proven to be
a challenge. The Pirates have plucked a few gems over the years out of
Florida. For instance, Jeff Blake and Larry Shannon both hailed from the
staff are getting back to what has worked at ECU in the past, particularly
during the Steve Logan years, recruiting North Carolina, particularly the
star high schoolers east of I-95.
Some of the
bigger names expected to be announced as Pirates later today include:
Running back Jonathan Williams from JH Rose High School in Greenville.
Jonathan was the offensive MVP of the 2006 Shrine Bowl and led Rose to
its fourth consecutive 4-A state championship.
back Tyrell Worthington from South Central High in Winterville. Tyrell is a
highly recruited two-sport star and also wants to play for Billy Godwin’s
Diamond Pirates. He is also projected to be selected in this year’s Major
League Baseball draft, a factor that could come into play, depending on the
round in which he is drafted.
Back Daronte McNeil from Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City. Daronte
may be one of the most highly touted prospects in this class. He is a beast
at 6 foot 1 inch, 233 pounds, and he reportedly has received at least ten
Division I offers.
aforementioned quarterback, Rodney Cox from Harnett Central High in Angier.
Rodney is projected to play wide receiver in college. His 6 foot 6 inch
frame and athletic ability make it easy to see why he received a lot of
attention through the recruitment process.
Quarterback D.J. McFadden from Charlotte’s Independence High School. D.J. is
a proven leader. He quarterbacked the state’s high school powerhouse to
another undefeated season and another 4-AA state championship for
Tackle Linval Joseph from Santa Fe High in Alachua, FL. This guy is huge at
6 foot 6 inches and 310 pounds. He is projected to play defensive tackle or
offensive line for the Pirates. Linval originally committed to Urban Meyer
and the Florida Gators last July. He held offers from some of college
football’s most storied programs in the SEC. ECU defensive backs coach Rick
Smith is receiving the credit for convincing Joseph to come play for the
Back Emmanuel Davis from Manteo. Davis committed to play for John Bunting’s
North Carolina Tar Heels back in July. After Bunting’s release at UNC-Chapel
Hill, Davis began to weigh his options and decided he felt more comfortable
wearing purple and gold.
seven players seem to be the most sought after by other I-A programs but
they just scratch the surface on the talent that Holtz and company will
be bring to Greenville next fall.
machine and Fed Ex man will be busy bringing in their national letters of
intent all day in the football offices inside the Ward Building on campus.
unless they are positive ones. That is the theme Holtz and his staff are
hoping for on the biggest day in college football outside of the regular
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:06 PM.