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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

By Sammy Batten

Offensive Analysis  •  Defensive Analysis  •  Thumbnails

QB's & Receivers  •  O-Linemen & RB's  •  Thumbnails

Big results can come in small package

Tidewater wideout Freeney, a 5-11 playmaker, could contribute early to ECU's pass-oriented attack

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Too often in the world of college football recruiting we get caught up in the numbers game. A prospect’s 40-yard dash time may not be fast enough, he might not meet the weight standards of the day or he didn’t score enough touchdowns for the amount of carries he attempted.

But numbers don’t always tell the complete story of a prospect’s ability to excel at the college level.

Darryl Freeney is a case in point, according to his head coach at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk, VA. He’s not the fastest, biggest or strongest athlete in the state, but the guy can play.

“Some people backed off of him because of his size,’’ Brian Maus said of his star wide receiver. “They all want 6-foot-4 receivers now. He’s not real tall, but he’s a muscular kid. He has sure hands. When the ball hits his hands you don’t even hear it.

“He’s got good speed. He’s a real student of the game. For us, he’s a real playmaker. I think you’ll see him do very well at the next level.’’

The East Carolina Pirates are counting on it.

The Pirates received a verbal commitment from the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder in August over an offer from Akron.

Freeney enjoyed a solid junior season at Nansemond River, making 27 catches for 540 yards and seven touchdowns. He also produced three interceptions as a secondary player.

But college recruiters were slow to recognize his talents.

That all changed last spring when Freeney began making the rounds at the various combines and summer camps. His performance at a regional combine for players from the Chesapeake and Suffolk areas in May was especially eye-catching.

Freeney was timed at 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, posted a 4.41 clocking in the shuttle run and logged a 35-inch vertical jump.

“After the combines a couple of coaches came up and told us they’d probably offer the kid,’’ Maus said. “They said they’d check with their head coaches and would let us know. So I followed up by sending out a highlight film to the schools he was interested in, and it was an impressive highlight film to say the least.

“Akron offered. Virginia Tech showed interest. Tennessee was interested and told us to be patient because they were going to offer. But the offer never came. Then Darryl pulled a hamstring at a summer camp and some of the schools backed off a little bit.

“East Carolina had actually offered him back in May. He did go to a one-day camp down there. He believes that will be a nice situation for him, academically and athletically. It’s a little closer to home and the fact he’s a receiver and they like to throw the ball certainly interested him as well. He was just impressed with the school overall.’’

A three-year varsity player, Freeney is a playmaker who has the ability to make a contribution as a true freshman for the Pirates. ECU loses three wide receivers from this year’s team to graduation, including All-American candidate Aundrae Allison.

“He’s definitely our playmaker and a big-play receiver,’’ Maus said. “Darryl will go up and get it. He’s very smooth in everything he does. When the ball hits his hands you don’t even hear it.

“He’s got the ability to help them out next year. I don’t know what else they’re bringing in. But he’s one of the best in our area without a doubt. And the Tidewater has some great football.’’

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02/23/2007 02:37:49 PM


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