Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

Special Preview

Bonesville Magazine, Vol. V, Teaser No. 1
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
By Ron Cherubini
Staff Feature Writer


Holtz recruiting strategy nets class of distinction

In his first full recruiting season, Pirate skipper hauls in serious talent


Holtz recruiting strategy nets class of distinction
Passionate Pirate gives his all to pursue a vision
Pirate Club's new boss brings strong track record

'The Year of the Pirate'

If you're not a Pirate Club member, you may get your copy of Bonesville Magazine by placing your secure order online now, or you can pick up the 112-page volume starting next week at select locations. (*Note: Pirate Club members who had renewed as of July will receive Bonesville Magazine, Volume V, as well as upcoming 2006-07 issues of The Pirates' Chest by mail as a membership benefit. The Pirates' Chest, an exclusive perk for Pirate Club members, will not be available for online ordering or at retail locations.)

Bonesville Magazine

112 pages of features, pictures and information...
  • Letter from Pirate Club Executive Director Mark Wharton
  • Happy Anniversary to Us! A Look at Our Past, Present & Future
  • Hall of Fame Moment Bigger than Sports
  • No Time Like the Present: Pirate Coaches Lining Up Talent Against Needs for 2007
  • James Pinkney: Poised to Take his Place Among the Elite Pirate Quarterbacks
  • ECU PREVIEW: Compared to 2005's Climb, the Pirates Face a Mountainous Challenge in '06
  • Q & A with Coach Skip Holtz: Pirates Coach Cautiously Optimistic
  • C-USA PREVIEW: Newcomers Breed Parity In the Now Truly Wide-Open Conference USA
  • Pirate Recruiting: Holtz & Crew Working Wizardry Inside and Out
  • Visit with the Voice, Jeff Charles
  • The New Pirates 2006
  • The Rookie Books
  • Tracking the Classes: Recruits of 2002-2005
  • Holtz Embedding Himself into the Community: Coach's Passions Run Deep Off the Turf of Dowdy-Ficklen
  • Wharton Brings Business-like Approach to Pirate Club
  • Pirate Time Machine: Walter Williams: A Witness to It All
  • LeClair Leaves Sweeping Legacy
  • The 1966 Team: Champions Ushered in a New Football Era
  • Pirate Club Events and Information

By Ron Cherubini
Editor, Bonesville Magazine
All rights reserved.

Living up to his promise to tap eastern North Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina first, and then branch out for needed players, East Carolina coach Skip Holtz hauled in a class in his first full recruiting season that looks to be a pretty good one.

With 10 of 29 signees hailing from in-state and another nine coming from Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, the Pirates stayed close to home for the bulk of their 29 signees.

Many had felt that because of John Thompson’s abrupt firing in 2004, the state of Florida would be unkind to the Pirates.

But not so.

With a coaching staff that is deep in experience and as well connected as any in the country, the Pirates stormed Florida for some A-list talent, landing seven Florida prep stars in all.

The instant impact players in the class, as one might expect, came from the junior college ranks. Georgia Military linebacker Fred Wilson and lineman Willie Barton were both high recognizable names in JUCO circles and are expected to start for the Pirates this fall as are Lackawanna bookend linebackers Orlando Farrow — who shunned North Carolina State for the Pirates — and Danny Muhwezi.

Perhaps the biggest gem in the class was former Georgia signee Jamar Bryant, a product of ECU hall of famer Ed Emory's powerhouse Richmond County High School program. Bryant, who many in Georgia had penciled in as a freshman starter at wide receiver, should be a force whether it is at receiver or safety for the Pirates.

The class was officially announced at 23 signees, but for this summer's Bonesville Magazine, we included mid-season signees as well as late additions. The class for our purposes breaks down to 23 signees, four mid-season signees, and two latecomers for a total of 29 new players.

Of this group, two players will gray-shirt, two will enroll for their first year and join the program — barring academic setbacks — in 2007. And one, or possibly two, will enroll in pre-selected JUCO programs to become academically prepared for Division I football.

Using this breakdown, the class includes 16 defensive players and 13 offensive players. Further broken down, offensively, the class includes seven offensive linemen, three wide receivers and two running backs. On the defensive side, the breakdown is three defensive linemen, seven linebackers, four defensive backs and two athletes, both former star quarterbacks.

“I believe we answered our immediate needs on the offensive line and at the linebacker position, two areas we were hit hardest,” Holtz was quoted as saying on signing day. “I like our numbers by having four mid-year players with us during spring ball and being able to sign a balanced blend on both sides of the ball.”

In recruiting battles, on paper, the big wins for this year were getting Sean Allen over Virginia Tech; Melvin Patterson over N.C. State; Orlando Farrow over N.C. State, Maryland, and Michigan State; Dwayne Harris over Boston College, Maryland, and North Carolina; A.J. Johnson over South Carolina and Mississippi State; and Fred Wilson over Illinois.

From an impact perspective, the aforementioned JUCO's, as well as Bryant, should be instant impact players. Other players that may quickly make their presence felt include Doug Palmer (form N.C. State OL signee) and safety Patterson — and perhaps Hargrave prepster Andrew Farr on the OL.

Obviously, Coach Holtz will look to red-shirt as many players as he can and, with depth at most positions this year, a large portion of the class should be able to do so in 2006.

On the relationship building front, feedback we've received from Florida prep coaches tells us that Coach Rick Smith has a firm handle on all-things Florida as the prep coaches who sent players to ECU this year could not stop raving about him as a recruiter.

Likewise, Coach Steve Shankweiler was regarded widely as being simply an honest guy who quickly builds relationships with players who commit almost as readily to him as a coach as they do to ECU.

Other input we've received indicates that if Coach Donnie Thompson wants a player, the chances are that he'll get him. Moreover, when Thompson calls on a defensive lineman, it carries a ton of weight as Thompson has the reputation of being able to expertly size up a D-lineman. To put it simply, if Coach Thompson thinks you can play, you can play.

Junior Smith was cited by more than one prep coach for his ability to connect with the young high school player. He received big kudos for consistency of contact and content in his pitching of ECU. Coach Donnie Kirkpatrick, too, was noted as being a sensational recruiter by Florida coaches. And just about all of the linebackers coming to ECU could not stop talking about Coach Rock Roggeman and his infectious, fired-up personality.

Harold Robinson, particularly in North Carolina, was credited by most of the coaches as being the catalyst for trust, and strength coach Mike Golden also drew high praise from the players who met him.

Yes, something is really working well for the Pirates. A winning season this year could, indeed, fuel an even greater haul of talent in the class of 2007.

Diehard Pirate fans know all of the numbers on the incoming Pirates players. But, to really know the player behind the numbers, pick up a copy of Bonesville Magazine and check out the "New Pirates" section with a feature on each incoming player as well as retro- and pro-active looks at each of the recruiting classes that comprise the current Pirates program.

Send an e-mail message to Ron Cherubini.

Click here to dig into Ron Cherubini's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 02:07:03 PM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.