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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 4, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

It's Christmas Eve for recruiting fanatics

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What will be under the tree?

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It's like Yuletide in February for avid followers of football recruiting. This day before the national signing day has many of the faithful as anxious as kids on Christmas Eve.

The problem is, fans won’t really know for sure which of the presents are gems for several years.

Recruiting certainly isn’t an exact science. Former East Carolina coach Steve Logan would laugh when asked about his class, compared to others. Time and time again he had this comment.

“Those great recruiting classes will do one thing for you,” said Logan. “They’ll get you fired.”

Logan had a valid point. It’s much better to struggle against the in-state schools in recruiting, and then hammer those same teams on the field.

East Carolina fans have long thought the so-called experts' analysis of recruiting in this state was biased against the Pirates. Many observers have pointed at different recruits through the years, players that were "three-star" prospects when they were recruited by East Carolina, and then saw their stock magically rise to four or five stars when North Carolina or N.C. State would show interest.

Keeping up with recruiting has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the media. That’s why I have so much respect for guys like Sammy Batten of the Fayetteville Observer-Times. He and a handful of other reporters around the state keep tabs on the high school players and rank the teams' recruiting classes each year.

It’s a very difficult job.

A 17-year old may tell one reporter that he’s leaning toward one school, and then tell another coach and reporter something different. Add in the various message boards on the Internet, and you’ve got all the makings of a smorgasbord of recruiting rumors.

East Carolina looks to sign 25 recruits, but they may not all come on Wednesday. Coach John Thompson may hold a couple of scholarships out for some potential late qualifiers.

Thompson continues to infuse enthusiasm into the Pirate football program. The coaching staff will host a “signing party” on Wednesday afternoon, and the public is invited.

One person close to the football program told me that Thompson is going all out with the party. He wants any Pirate fan that can get to the Murphy Center to get there.

Batten told me on Monday night that he thinks there may be a surprise or two for East Carolina on Wednesday.

“They want to sign a big class, and I think there are a couple of players that are going to sign that really haven’t been on the Pirates' radar screen,” Batten said. “They have really been working Florida and Georgia hard, so don’t be surprised if there are some new names on their list come Wednesday.”

I got a call from Beddingfield High School on Monday, indicating that Pierre Parker would sign his national letter of intent with East Carolina on Wednesday.

Also from our area, Wendell Chavis from Hertford County and Michael Horner from Williamston will sign with the Pirates.

It’s and exciting time and a new era for East Carolina football. Make plans to get to the Murphy Center and be a part of the hoopla surrounding the announcement of Coach Thompson's first recruiting class.

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02/23/2007 01:25:33 AM

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