The first Wednesday in February, the traditional national signing day, came and went with minimal activity on the fax machine in the East Carolina football offices in the Ward Sports Medicine Building.
The Pirates used to announce a class of high school seniors on the traditional signing day. There was even some tailgating in the environs of the Murphy Center. ECU coaches would make an appearance before the fan base with some video highlights of the incoming class of recruits and a news conference for the media would be conducted.
The term transfer portal had not been introduced to the world of college football. NIL (now Name, Image, Likeness) was a name for the score of a team that got shut out in soccer.
Coaches could evaluate a class over a three- to five-year period.
The developmental span for talent has pretty much gone the way of typewriters and landline phones.
Maybe, someday, defensive lineman Torin Brazell of Bradford High School in Starke, FL, will be regarded with a distinction similar to San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy, who will direct the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Sunday night against Kansas City.
Purday was bestowed the title of Mr. Irrelevant as the last player taken in the 2022 NFL draft.
Brazell was the only player the Pirates announced as a signee on Wednesday. He had 71 career tackles for losses in four years, also playing tight end and basketball.
The Pirates revealed a class of 20 signees on Dec. 20. Brazell is No. 21 in the Class of 2024 and reportedly will enroll at ECU this summer. One of the most prominent prizes among incoming high school recruits is Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year Cole Hodge, a quarterback out of Christian Academy of Louisville.
Immediate eligibility for transfers has resulted in an overhaul of the recruiting process.
ECU, which was starved for offensive production during a 2-10 season in 2023, will undergo a makeover via the portal for 2024.
The Pirates have brought in quarterbacks Katin Houser from Michigan State and Jake Garcia from Missouri. Garcia had played previously at Miami of Florida. Both are rated as 3-star prospects.
In the overall team rankings, ECU is rated No. 65 nationally for their group of 13 transfers.
Ole Miss, the program from which new ECU offensive coordinator John David Baker came, is ranked No. 1 in the transfer ratings by 247 Sports.
There is a 30-way tie for No 121 in the team rankings for transfers.
Tulsa and South Florida from the American Athletic Conference are among the teams ranked No. 121.
ECU is ranked fourth among 12 teams in the AAC for its transfer acquisitions. Navy is not ranked because it doesn’t take transfers.
There has been significant traffic in terms of players exiting the Pirate program with departures through the portal numbering 25.
Gone are running back Gerald Green (Troy), corner Antione Jackson (Central Florida), linebacker Teylor Jackson (Liberty), linebacker Tyquan King (Temple), offensive lineman Richard Pearce (New Mexico), defensive lineman Jason Shuford (Marshall), quarterback Mason Garcia (Austin Peay), offensive lineman Isaiah Foote (Western Illinois), and offensive lineman Elisha Samples (Wofford).
Also: wide receiver Zion Agnew (Lenoir-Rhyne), defensive lineman Xavier McIver (Tennessee-Martin), offensive lineman Omari Allen (Hampton), safety Ty Moss (Tennessee Tech), linebacker Jamari Young (Gardner-Webb), long snapper Brock Winstead (East Tennessee State), punter David Chapeau (Central Michigan), kicker Ryan Capriotti (Maryland) and safety Teagan Wilk (Houston).
Teylor Jackson was in on 52 tackles last season, fifth on the team. Green averaged 4.0 yards per rush and had two touchdowns in limited action.
Success of the incoming quarterbacks will depend on their receivers and protection.
Needs in both areas have been addressed.
Watch for recruiting analyst Sammy Batten’s pending report cards for details.