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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

By Sammy Batten

Star LB looks to polish his craft at ECU

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Jeremy Grove was looking for a place to play college football where the philosophy and coaching matches best with his style as a linebacker.

Grove found that in East Carolina and its defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Greg Hudson.

As a result, Grove became the fourth player to make a verbal commitment to ECU's recruiting Class of 2010 last week. The Ijamsville, MD, product chose the Pirates over offers from Louisville and Navy after a short courtship that began about three months ago, according to Grove.

“I had sent my tape there and they liked it, so they invited me down for spring practice to meet me in person and get to know me,'' Grove said. “I went down there and they ended up offering me.

“I went down there again for the spring game (in April). I've been to just about every ACC and Big East school. East Carolina just felt like the perfect place for me. There was nothing negative to say about it.''

Grove, who attends Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, cited Hudson and the way he's molded current ECU linebacker Nick Johnson into an all-star candidate heading into his senior season as other factors in his decision.

“Coach Hudson has a great background,'' Grove said. “He was a linebacker himself at Notre Dame, so he knows the position from that perspective.

“Then, I looked at the guys he's coached. I play a lot like Nick Johnson. My style is very much like his. So I knew I could go there and I would have coaches who can teach me to be the best linebacker I can be.''

Grove has already displayed some pretty fair talent as a linebacker. He began his football career at age 6, and by his third season earned most valuable player honors as a linebacker on a championship team.

It was during that championship season that Grove began watching with admiration the star receiver for Urbana High in Ijamsville, Billy Gaines. Gaines had helped spark Urbana to a state title the year before and the two struck up a friendship.

The relationship ended tragically when Gaines died from a fall after his freshman year at Pittsburgh.

“After that happened with Billy, I was determined I was going to play Division I football,'' Grove said.

Grove followed in Gaines' footsteps for two years at Urbana and led the varsity squad in tackles as a sophomore. He transferred to Thomas Johnson last season where he ranked second on the team in tackles with 95, despite missing three games with an ankle injury.

“His first game back he made about 15 tackles, even though he played only about three quarters because he re-injured his ankle,'' Thomas Johnson coach Ben Wright said. “He's an excellent player. He plays really tough against the run and is real aggressive. East Carolina is getting a good one.''

Wright says Grove's work ethic is impeccable. He spends long hours in the weight room where he maxes out at 365 pounds on the bench press and squats over 500 pounds.

Grove isn't just powerful. He's extremely athletic as well, having posted a vertical leap of 34 inches and run the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds.

It's those abilities that Grove hopes will lead to early playing time at East Carolina.

“I think if I work hard enough and listen to the coaches I can get in there early and help out,'' Grove said. “That's every player's goal. But I'm willing to do whatever the coaches want me to do because I trust their judgment.''

Grove joins an ECU class that already includes two other defensive recruits in safety Damon Magazu from Weddington High in Matthews and cornerback-safety Tyrone Johnson from Westover High in Fayetteville.

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05/29/2009 03:35:02 AM


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