Insights from Brett
Friday, November 21, 2014

By Brett Friedlander

Biletnikoff voters missed the boat

ECU's Justin Hardy heads to the end zone for a touchdown against Southern Methodist earlier this season. The senior receiver from Vanceboro needs to haul in four more passes to surpass the all-time NCAA career receptions record held by Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles. The record-breaking catch could come as soon as Saturday when the Pirates host Tulane.  (Bonesville photo by W.A. Myatt)

American Football Schedule

SMU at UCF, 12 pm (ESPNN)
Tulsa at Houston, 3 pm (ESPN3)
Tulane at ECU, 3:30 pm (ESPN3)
USF at Memphis, 4 pm (ESPNN)
Cincinnati at UConn, 8 pm (CBSSN)
LAST WEEK'S AAC SCORES >>> ..... | Thursday > Cincinnati 54, ECU 46 (ESPN2) ..... | Friday > UCF 31, Tulsa 7 (ESPN2) ..... | Saturday > Penn State 30, Temple 13 (ESPN2) ..... Memphis 38, Tulane 7 (ESPNU) ..... USF 14, SMU 13 (CBSSN) ..... .....


Transfers pace Pirates

GREENVILLE — Florida State transfer Terry Whisnant made four of seven attempts from behind the 3-point line and scored 16 points to lead East Carolina to a 92-51 nonconference basketball win over Virginia-Lynchburg at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum on Thursday night. ... Story, photos and audio...
Pictured: The East Carolina bench reacts after walk-on Peyton Robbins scores a basket in the final minutes of the Pirates' 92-51 victory over Virginia-Lynchburg on Thursday night at Minges Coliseum. Thirteen ECU players scored in the rout, five of them in double figures. (Photo by W.A. Myatt. ©Bonesville.net)

Post-game: Lebo, Tyson, Nzege...



Losses set stage for Tulane's arrival

Al Myatt

Saddled with a two-game losing streak under adverse conditions in the rugged American Athletic Conference, East Carolina's football team has been looking forward to returning to competition following a layoff from a Thursday night game at Cincinnati on Nov. 13. ... More from Al Myatt...



Fifteen Questions for B.J. Tyson

Bunyon Devell (B.J.) Tyson, Jr., is off to a good start in East Carolina's basketball program. Two games into the 2014-15 season, the 6' 3" freshman is averaging 17.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and leads the Pirates in steals with seven. He is playing 23.5 minutes per game. Tyson has hit nine of his 10 free throws (90 percent) and 12 of 22 field goal attempts (54.5 percent), although he has made just one of seven behind the arc. ... More from W.A. Myatt...

Pictured: Freshman guard B.J. Tyson has hit the court running after attending East Carolina for a year before joining the roster this season. The Wadesboro product leads the team in steals and is second in scoring. (ECU Media Relations photo)



Justin Hardy deserves better

Justin Hardy has been snubbed. East Carolina's spectacular receiver will most likely set the all-time NCAA record for career receptions this week when the Pirates host Tulane. Hardy needs just four catches to break the record set by Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma in 2011. ... More from Brian Bailey...


Audio: The Brian Bailey Show

The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Brian's guests were prep football coaches David Wojtecki, Bobby Curlings, Paul Cornwell, Sport Sawyer, Scott Gardner: Replay show...


Audio: Coach Ruff Weekly Presser

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the media at his weekly press conference on Monday as the Pirates prepare to host Tulane on Saturday (courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250; file photo): Select clip...



UNC-Asheville holds off Pirates

GREENVILLE — UNC-Asheville's Andrew Rowsey stands 5 feet, 10 inches but he was huge on Sunday afternoon. Rowsey, a sophomore, scored 28 points to lead an 83-79 nonconference basketball win at East Carolina. ... More...


Pirates cruise in hoops opener

GREENVILLE — East Carolina rolled past North Carolina Wesleyan 99-81 to open the 2014-15 basketball season at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum on Friday night. The Pirates won their first game of the season for the 15th consecutive time. ... Story, photos, post-game audio...
Pictured: Sophomore forward Michel Nzege compiled a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds in ECU's season-opening win over N.C. Wesleyan. The native of Geneva, Switzerland sat out last season after transferring from Winston-Salem State. (Photo by W.A. Myatt.)

Post-game: Lebo, Nzege, Guilmette...




Inside Game Day | Ruff Post-game Audio...

AAC SCOREBOARD >>> ..... | Thursday > Cincinnati 54, ECU 46 (ESPN2) ..... | Friday > UCF 31, Tulsa 7 (ESPN2) ..... | Saturday > Penn State 30, Temple 13 (ESPN2) ..... Memphis 38, Tulane 7 (ESPNU) ..... USF 14, SMU 13 (CBSSN) ..... .....

Time to deal with loss

Al Myatt

CINCINNATI — The schedule will soon compact for East Carolina's 2014 football team with three games in 13 days. The Pirates will host Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 22 to start the close to the regular season. They'll play at Tulsa the following Friday before returning home to face Central Florida on Thursday, Dec. 4. ... More from Al Myatt...


By Brett Friedlander
©2014 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

View ECU's 2014 football schedule


At some point during Saturday’s game against Tulane, probably in the first half, Justin Hardy will come off the line, get a step on his defender and catch his fourth pass of the day from quarterback Shane Carden.

When he does, he will surpass Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles to become the all-time receptions leader in FBS history.

It’s an achievement that will be acknowledged with an announcement over the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium PA system. The game may even be stopped for a short ceremony.

But while the Pirates and their fans will celebrate the moment with the respect and admiration it deserves, it’s likely to come and go with barely a mention on SportsCenter and little to no fanfare among those not as familiar with Hardy and his prolonged greatness.

That’s a group much larger than anyone could ever have imagined.

We learned that earlier this week when Hardy was inexplicably left off the list of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation to the top receiver in college football.

The omission, in its simplest terms, means that according to the award’s 268-member voting panel, the ECU star isn’t among the nation’s 10 best players at his position. All it takes is one look at the statistics to debunk that notion.

The 5-foot-11, 188-pound senior, who started his career as a walk-on, currently ranks third in the FBS with an average of 8.9 catches per game (80 in nine games). He is eighth nationally in receiving yards per game at 111.3 and is ranked higher in both categories than six of the 10 players named as Biletnikoff semifinalists.

Though Hardy has clearly caught the eye of those who actually matter in football, as his selection along with Carden as one the first players named to the prestigious Senior Bowl proves, his award snub means that despite all he’s accomplished, one of the greatest players in Pirates history is also, sadly, one of the most underappreciated players in college football history.

It’s a reality that managed to do something that doesn’t happen very often – raise the public ire of ECU coach Ruffin McNeill.

“That’s the most idiotic thing I have ever heard in my life that they would not put that young man on there,” McNeill said at his regular weekly press conference Monday. “What are you looking for? A student? He already graduated. We had an academic meeting today and tried to find out how he can make the Dean’s List. He’s getting ready to break the all-time receptions record.

“I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but here is a `C’, here is an `A’ and I think there’s a `T’ around here somewhere (and) that spells CAT. Justin Hardy isn’t on there? I don’t know who is picking that. I hope these words get back to whoever didn’t choose him.”

The roster of Biletnikoff voters is available on the award’s official website. I happen to be one of them. As such, I’m embarrassed that so many of my colleagues were too lazy to look past the usual suspects when casting their ballots.

Only one of the 10 semifinalists, Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, plays for a non-Power 5 conference team. That disparity, as McNeill made sure to point out, means that ECU was disrespected just as much as Hardy by the Biletnikoff Award semifinal snub.

“We conduct our athletic program from top to bottom, with first class and if someone doesn’t understand that, then they need to come over here and spend some time,” McNeill said. “There is respect and disrespect. When you’re young, you probably deserve some. But when you respect others then, in theory, they should respect you. And we respect all. So in turn, maybe it’s naïve, but I expect respect to our university, our athletic program and our kids. When it doesn’t happen, I’m going to stand up for them.”

For the record, Hardy was among the top three picks on my semifinal ballot. It should also be noted that I wrote his name in as the top pick on my subsequent ballot selecting the award’s three finalists. Though it won’t help right the wrong of Hardy’s omission, at least perhaps it will make a statement: That both Justin Hardy and ECU deserved better.

Hardy did receive a consolation prize on Tuesday when he named as one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy – symbolic of the nation’s best college player who started his career as a walk-on.

He’ll also get a permanent place in the FBS record book with his fourth catch Saturday. When that happens and he reaches the magic mark of 350 career receptions, Hardy will become – statistically – the best receiver in major college football history.

Whether the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation recognizes him with trophy or not.

E-mail Brett Friedlander

11/21/2014 06:13 AM