Greensboro Page High School coach Jared Rolfes received some surprising news in a phone call he received in late October.
“A buddy of mine at East Carolina called and said, ‘What’s up with Alex? He’s reached out to our secondary coach and wants to know what is available,”’ Rolfes said.
The caller was referring to Page’s star hybrid safety-linebacker Alex Angus, who back in February had given a verbal commitment to Appalachian State. A three-year defensive starter for Page, Angus had been recruited by the Pirates and offered a scholarship before making his pledge to the Mountaineers.
“I have a good relationship with Appalachian State because I had a kid who played up there a couple of years ago,” Rolfes said. “So I was excited when Alex committed there. He liked the culture and was all in with what was going on there.
“So I pulled him into my office to talk. Going through this major life decision he felt he prematurely jumped on something without exploring other options. So if they (ECU) have an open spot, he wanted to visit and see what they had to offer. He communicated that with Appalachian State.”
The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder came to Greenville on November 3rd to watch the Pirates play Memphis. Despite the 51-41 loss by ECU, Angus left impressed. Four days later, he flipped his verbal commitment to the Pirates, becoming the 20th member of the recruiting Class of 2019.
The Guilford County area in North Carolina has been a major recruiting ground for ECU coach Scottie Montgomery and his staff recently. Current freshmen Jaren Rainey (Southwest Guilford), Nolan Johnson (Southwest Guilford), Trey Love (Southeast Guilford), Myles Berry (Greensboro Dudley) along with sophomore Kenyon Taylor (Southern Guilford) all played for Guilford County high schools. Angus also joins Southeast Guilford’s Chad Stephens in the 2019 recruiting class.
“Alex has a lot of buddies going there and that played a role in his decision,” Rolfes said. “As a student-athlete, he just felt like East Carolina was a better fit for him. He came back (from the visit), we talked and he made his decision.”
In Angus, East Carolina is getting a versatile athlete who began his varsity career at Page playing free safety. He was named to the All-Metro 4-A Conference team first as as sophomore and then as a junior when he made 58 tackles, three tackles for loss and six interceptions. Angus returned two of those picks 38 yards against Davie County and 40 against Ronald Reagan for touchdowns. Those achievements also earned him a spot on the HSXtra All-Area team selected by the Greensboro News & Record.
Rolfes moved Angus to a hybrid strong safety-outside linebacker spot this season from where he’s helped Page win the Metro 4-A Conference title. Despite missing games with injuries, Angus had 30 tackles in the regular season, including seven tackles for loss.
“He’s been asked to do more things this year because of his versatility,” Rolfes said. “Due to graduation losses and his body type, we moved him what we call a bandit position. He has that ability to play a couple of different positions. Since East Carolina is now running a 4-2-5 he could fit in a variety of roles, or where ever they see fit.”
Angus saved his best performance of the season to date for when it counted most for Page. He made six tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in a 25-8 win against Ragsdale that clinched the league title.
“In our last (regular-season) game against Ragsdale he was probably the most dominant defensive player on the field because he just shut down his side of the field,” Rolfes said. “He made a lot of big tackles in space. He’s always matched up against the opponent’s best players and usually comes away with the victory.
“Alex has battled through some injuries this year, but he’s now healthy and really showing it. There are certain things offenses just don’t do when he’s in there. When they do, they find out it’s a bad idea.”
Rolfes expects Angus to graduate in December from Page and enroll at ECU in January. He believes his star can make an immediate impact with the Pirates on special teams and perhaps beyond.
“He’s going to go in early, which will give him some time to put on weight,” Rolfes said. “He won’t be at his physical peak his freshman year, but he could help on special teams because of what he already brings to the table. The kid presents a lot of versatility, depending on how big he gets or what they want to do with him in their scheme.”
East Carolina is also recruiting Angus’ junior teammate at Page, safety Isaiah Fisher-Smith. The 6-foot, 190-pounder has made 69 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss so far this season. He’s already received scholarship offers from the Pirates, Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest.
“He’s kind of a hybrid safety, too,” Rolfes said. “He plays a rover position for us. He’s a speedy kid who runs a 4.4 (40-yard dash), has long arms and is strong and explosive.”