With many of the top in-state prospects already pledged to
other schools, new East Carolina football coach John Thompson appears to be
focusing some of his early recruiting efforts in talent-rich states South of
At least 10 prospects in the states of Florida and Georgia
are giving ECU serious consideration with the national signing period just
days away on Feb. 5.
The group features two wide receivers and a cornerback who
are regarded by national recruiting analysts to be among the best college
prospects in those states.
Armand Cauthen is a wide receiver with excellent speed (4.4
seconds in the 40-yard dash) and strong fundamentals. Cauthen caught 39
passes for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at Douglas County High
School in Douglasville, Ga., where he also was the punter (26 for 44-yard
average) and kickoff return man (32-yard average per return).
The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, who is rated Georgia’s No. 43
prospect by SuperPrep recruiting magazine, made an official visit to ECU on
Jan. 17 and was scheduled to trek to the Pirates’ Conference USA-rival
Louisville this weekend. He had previously made an official visit to Ohio
University. Those are Cauthen’s top three schools, although Duke, Kansas,
UAB and Wake Forest have also offered.
Another Georgia Peach scheduled to make an official visit to
Greenville this weekend is 6-1, 175-pound receiver Steven Rogers from Evans,
Rogers, who has 4.6 40 speed, is rated the state’s No. 54
prospect by SuperPrep. He had 58 receptions for 800 yards and eight
touchdowns as a senior, highlighted by one game in which he had 10 catches
for 137 yards and a score and 100 yards in kickoff returns.
The Pirates are expected to offer Rogers a scholarship
during his visit. He’s also considering Southern Miss, UAB and Vanderbilt.
A third highly regarded Georgian is Jeffrey Robinson from
Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone. A rare physical player at the cornerback
position, Robinson also has super speed (4.4). He made 52 tackles and one
interception as a senior and earned a No. 48 ranking in Georgia from
The 6-1, 179-pounder made an official visit to ECU on Jan.
17 and is scheduled to visit North Carolina this weekend. He had previously
visited Delaware. A pair of I-AA schools, Georgia Southern and Western
Carolina, have also offered Robinson.
Two other Georgia prospects being pursued by the Pirates are
6-3, 300-pound offensive lineman Ryan Coggins from Mount Zion High School in
Jonesboro and 6-1, 180-pound safety Nicos Chavis of Lakeside High in
ECU will be getting Coggins’ final official visit on Jan.
31. He has already made officials to Georgia Southern and Tennessee Tech.
Chavis has only recently been contacted by the new coaching
staff and is in the process of setting up an official visit. He’s already
made a trip to Delaware and is also looking at hometown Georgia Tech.
The five Floridians considering ECU are wide receiver Mike
Walker from Orlando, twin defensive backs Eric and Thomas Miller from
Melbourne, defensive end Brandon Jones of Hialeah, and linebacker Andy Kelly
from Daytona Beach.
Walker, a 6-1, 185-pounder with 4.5 speed and a 40-inch
vertical leap, played at Edgewater High School. His stock really rose after
a stellar performance in the California-Florida All-Star Game last month.
He’s already visited Mississippi and has offers from ECU, Central Florida
The Miller brothers played for state champion Palm Bay High
School. Thomas, a 6-2, 182-pound with 4.4 speed, had 58 tackles and five
interceptions as a senior to earn second-team all-state honors.
Both brothers made official visits to ECU on Jan. 17 and are
scheduled to be at Louisville this weekend. Indiana is another possibility
for the twins.
The 6-5, 240-pound Jones is an athletic defensive end who
will visit East Carolina on Jan. 31. He’s also being pursued by Auburn, N.C.
State and Rutgers.
Kelly, a 6-3, 225-pounder, is somewhat of a sleeper in
Florida. He didn’t play football as a junior at Seabreeze High, but came on
strong once he came out as a senior.
ECU will get an official visit from Kelly on Jan. 31. He’s
also being pursued by Florida State and was visited by Seminoles’ coach
Bobby Bowden at his home last week. Central Florida, South Florida and
Florida are the other contenders for Kelly.
There has been some discussion/concern that the Pirates may
not be able to secure a full class on signing day because of the late start
Thompson got in recruiting. But that actually could work to ECU’s advantage.
By not signing a full class that day, the Pirates would have
scholarships left to give to late academic qualifiers, or players who are
still undecided about their college choice on signing day.
One such player could be 6-5, 275-pound lineman Brandon
Setzer from Thomasville, N.C.
Setzer is rated by SuperPrep as the state’s No. 20 prospect,
but he is still working to qualify academically. The Pirates and Tennessee
have stayed in touch with Setzer in hopes he can shore up his academics by
spring or summer. Getting the Shrine Bowl defensive lineman would be a real
steal for any school at this stage of the game.
Another possibility could be 6-7, 270-pound lineman Simon
Alston of Pittsboro, N.C. Alston is an awesome physical talent who had 70
tackles, 26 tackles for losses and 12 sacks as a senior at Northwood High
School. But Alston waited very late to take his SAT (1/11) and that has
hindered his college recruitment.