Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

By Sammy Batten

Class of 2014 off to 'big' start

Britt offensive lineman Erickson commits to Pirates

By Sammy Batten
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Kyle Erickson knew East Carolina had an interest in his football talents. But Erickson was still surprised earlier this month when the Pirates offered him a scholarship.

"They were in contact throughout my junior season with flyers and letters,'' Erickson said. "But we had never talked on the phone or emailed very much. Then, the offer came. I was a little surprised. I wasn't really sure how serious they were about recruiting me.''

Once he figured out how serious ECU was, it didn't take the 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive lineman to get serious about the Pirates.

Erickson, who plays at Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, took less than two weeks to accept ECU's offer. He gave his pledge Saturday before the annual Purple and Gold scrimmage to head coach Ruffin McNeill, making him the first member of the Pirates' recruiting Class of 2014.

"I went up there for a scrimmage two weeks ago and just fell in love with it,'' Erickson said. "I already had it planned to commit when I went back for the spring game.

"Coach McNeill actually called me into his office before the game, and I committed. He gave me a big hug and was really excited. I was the first one, so he was pretty happy.

McNeill wasn't the only coach excited about Erickson's decision.

Jack Britt coach Brian Rimpf is a former East Carolina offensive lineman and two-time Pirate team captain. Rimpf, who played under both Steve Logan and John Thompson at ECU, logged 40 career starts, including 37 straight between 1999 and 2003. Three times he earned first-team All-Conference USA honors after making the All-Freshman team in 2000.

Rimpf didn't attempt to influence Erickson's decision, despite his ties to ECU. But he was proud to be sending a quality player to his alma mater.

"By no means did I pressure him into the decision,'' said Rimpf, who led Jack Britt to the state 4-AA finals in his first season. "But I did speak to my personal experience (with ECU). I still know some of the staff there and I knew they would take care of him.

"Personally, I like it (Erickson's decision).''

Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest had also been expressing interest in Erickson, but the Pirates struck first with an offer.

Erickson hails from a football family. His father, Kevin, lettered in 1985 as a center at Humboldt State University, an NCAA Division II school located in Arcata, Calif., and was also a walk-on player at Colorado.

Kyle Erickson began following in his father's footsteps when he started playing the game, too, at age 6. Like his father, he also became an offensive lineman and progressed fast enough to see varsity action at Jack Britt as a freshman after receiving a late-season promotion from the junior varsity.

Erickson moved into the varsity's starting lineup as a sophomore and helped the Buccaneers reach the state 4-AA Eastern finals. The Bucs made it all the way to the state title game last season as Erickson earned first-team All-Mid-South 4-A Conference and All-Cape Fear region honors.

He helped the Buccaneers rack up a Cumberland County-best 5,422 yards of total offense.

"He's a good player,'' Rimpf said. "For one, he's aggressive, and that doesn't necessarily come with size. It's a mentality. As an offensive lineman you have to have that.

"He's also very athletic. He played basketball for us, so he can move. He's been starting at left tackle for Jack Britt the last two years. So he's been in a lot of (state) playoff games and faced good competition. He had tenacity and an aggressiveness on the field, which our coaches love. He has all the physical traits that they look for on the Division I level.''

Rimpf predicts Erickson will be close to the 300-pound mark when he arrives at ECU in 2014.

"He's only ending his junior year, so he has another year to fill out,'' Rimpf said. "The one thing that is important to the Division I coaches in their offensive linemen is height. You can't control how tall people are. You can control how big they get. So he'll already have the height coming in. He'll start to fill out and by the time he gets there he'll be pushing 300 pounds.''

The Pirates have recruited Erickson to play guard or center, positions which he's never played during his career. But Erickson isn't concerned about having to learn a new spot.

"I think I'll be able to handle the transition,'' Erickson said. "I've been taking some reps at guard this spring just to try to get used to it.''

Both players expected to start at guard for ECU in 2013 Jordan Davis and Will Simmons will complete their eligibility when the season is finished. So will starting left tackle Adhem Elsawi.

Those losses, and the departure this spring of last year's right tackle starter, Robert Jones, will open up plenty of opportunities for playing time when Erickson arrives on campus.

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04/25/2013 07:30 PM