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Football Recruiting Report
Saturday, May 4, 2002

By Sammy Batten
Staff Writer for The Fayetteville Observer

Pirates' 2003 recruiting needs come into focus


Catch Up on Football Recruiting:

Batten's 2003 Recruiting Crystal Ball...

Scotland Connection Keeps Flowing...

Lineman Devours Barbells & Groceries...

Batten's Signing Day Report Card...

Newest Pirates & Thumbnail Profiles...

Bonesville Scores 92% — 22 of 24 Sign...

Signing Day Reflects Progress at ECU...

Coach Primed for His Favorite Time...

Video Clips from Signing Day...

Signees from the Carolinas & C-USA...

Catch Up on Hoops Recruiting:

Wiley refining his game for C-USA wars...
Holcombe-Faye 'pipeline' flows eastward...

'Hot Hand Luke' sold on ECU & C-USA...

Juco wings top off dazzling class...

It's a wrap — ECU signs Moberly's Wiley...

Pirate recruiting class almost complete...

JC Transfer Mackay Makes It Official...

Herrion Snares Aussie Shooting Guard...

High-scoring Rivers signs with ECU...

Pirates seek experience in Juco targets...

Rivers attracted by 'tough' schedule...

'Minges Maniacs' impacted decision...

ECU makes early offer to Enloe junior...

C-USA transforms Pirates' recruiting...

ACC schools' pursuit of Rouse too late...

Mumau's C-USA recruiting roundup...

Kinston forward Rouse officially signs...

Math has never been my strength. That's why I majored in journalism. But by using a little deductive reasoning, it would appear that East Carolina will be putting an emphasis on securing defensive help in compiling the recruiting Class of 2003.

Only the coaching staff knows for sure at this stage, but the numbers add up to the Pirates seeking a major haul of defensive talent over the next nine months leading up to the national signing period in February.

Only eight of ECU's 22 signees last February are scheduled to start their college careers on defense, and one of those — defensive back Richard Moton — is a junior college transfer who will only be around for two seasons.

Moton is one of 22 defensive players who will complete their college eligibility over the next two years (11 seniors and 11 juniors) as compared to 15 on offense (5 seniors, 10 juniors). Fifteen of those defensive players were listed as starters or second-team players on the depth chart at the end of spring practice.

A third significant number factoring into recruiting is 16, which is the total of scholarship seniors who will depart after next season. So we can expect the Pirates to sign at least 16 players in next year's class, although the number of available scholarships will probably be more due to normal attrition from injuries, academics and fifth-year players deciding not to return.

Keeping all those figures in mind, here's a position-by-position breakdown of the players ECU currently has on scholarship and a brief projection of what the Pirates' recruiting needs are shaping up to be for 2003:

Jump to Position: [ QB | FB | H-B | WR | FLEX | OT | OG | C | DE | DT | NG | OLB | ILB | SS | FS | CB | K ]

QUARTERBACK (Paul Troth, Soph.; Desmond Robinson, Soph.; Sakeem Wright, R-Fr.; William Bland, Fr.; James Pinkney, Fr.; Kort Shankweiler, Fr.):

Normally, under circumstances like the Pirates are blessed with at quarterback, it might be hard to convince a hot-shot high school passer to enter such a crowded picture. But Steve Logan's reputation for developing quarterbacks is a drawing card most schools don't have, and so is ECU's offensive scheme. Besides, there's a good chance that one or even two of the freshmen QBs could wind up playing another position before they get too far along in their college careers.

The abundance of high school quarterback talent in-state this year also makes it a sensible decision to sign at least one guy there, too. Look for the Pirates to latch onto to one of the state's top five QB prospects other than Charlotte's Chris Leak. ECU may wind up with a better college quarterback than Leak in the long run.

FULLBACK (Art Brown, Jr.; Dominique Hatcher, Jr.; Dale Simmons, Jr.; Marvin Townes, Soph.):

The Pirates are dangerously thin here, though they have some exceptional talents in Brown and Townes. A serious injury would leave ECU in the precarious position of relying on unproven players in Hatcher and Simmons. Simmons has been in and out of the program due to injuries and Hatcher is a converted linebacker.

Either way, three of those four are gone in two years, making the signing of at least one premier running back a necessity in the Pirates' recruiting efforts. And they couldn't go wrong if they decided to bring two aboard.

H-BACK (Terrance Copper, Jr.; Damarcus Fox, Soph.):

Fox's injury during spring practice has put his status for next fall in question, so expect a true freshman — Will Bland perhaps? — to make an impact here, or a veteran receiver like Richard Alston to shift over to H-Back in the fall. Somewhere in this year's recruiting class the Pirates will need to grab an extra running back or receiver who can be groomed for this position.

WIDE RECEIVER (Richard Alston, Sr.; Wes Herlocker, Soph.; Derrick Leathers, R-Fr.; Torey Morris, Sr.; Garrett Peterkin, Soph.; Tyrell Powell, R.-Fr.; Edwin Rios, Soph.; Marcus White, Jr.; Bryson Bowling, Fr.; Iverick Harris, Fr.; Mickey McCoy, Fr.; Kevin Roach, Fr.):

This is the most well-stocked position on ECU's roster. Nine of the 12 scholarship players at receiver are sophomores or freshmen, so this should be a low-priority area in recruiting. But taking one or two for insurance at receiver or other positions will probably the the Pirates' course of action.

FLEX/TE (Dashaun Stephens, R.-Fr.; Ben Thomas, Sr.; Seth Yates, Jr.):

Have the Pirates had a real pass-catching threat at tight end since Carlester Crumpler, Jr.? A walk-on, junior Tutu Moye, could wind up starting here next fall. That fact alone means ECU could use some help here. Get two if they're available and let's hope he develops into another Crumpler or Luke Fisher.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE (Phoenix Evans, Sr.; Trey Magee, R.-Fr.; Brandon Pope, Jr.; Brian Rimpf, Jr.; Eric Graham, Fr.; Thomas Wingenbach, Fr.):

The presence of Rimpf gives ECU some all-star caliber talent for the next two years and the three freshmen all have excellent potential. But the rule of thumb is to take two here every year and the Pirates shouldn't deviate from that. They already have one secured in the first verbally committed player to the Class of 2003, Michael Horner from Williamston High School.

OFFENSIVE GUARD (Charlie Dempsey, Soph.; Brian Fox, Jr.; Joseph Parsons, R-Fr.; Corey Schmidt, Jr.; David Jorgenson, Fr.; Steve Mercier, Fr.; Drew Sutton, Fr.):

This group is significantly younger overall than the tackles, so grab a good one if you can get him, but don't waste a scholarship on a body. The Pirates should be able to get by at least a year with four freshmen and a sophomore in the fold.

CENTER (Hagen Mason, Soph.; Doug White, Jr.; Hunter Wood, R.-Fr.; Gary Freeman, Fr.):

Nice depth and talent. The absence of a senior means ECU can get away without signing another center this time around.

DEFENSIVE END (Ja'Waren Blair, Sr.; Hosea James, Sr.; Guy Whimper, R.-Fr.; Eric Terry, Fr.):

The top two guys are seniors in Blair and James, but Whimper and Terry are players with superb potential. So talent-wise the Pirates are in good shape. But they need to land at least one recruit here for depth purposes.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (Damane Duckett, Jr.; Eric Foushee, Jr.; James Myrick, R.-Fr.; Lance Neisz, Fr.; Shauntae Hunt, Fr.):

Myrick, Neisz and Hunt give ECU a promising young trio to rebuild this area once Duckett and Foushee depart. Take one if you find somebody special, but if not, let this position ride for a year.

NOSE GUARD (Derek Helms, Jr.; Calvin Phillips, Jr.; Ronald Pou, Sr.; Karl Zubeck, Sr.; Dontre Brown, Fr.):

Dontre Brown is going to be a good one, but he'll need someone to spell him on occasion down the road. One please.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (Ike Emodi, R.-Fr.; Christshawn Gilliam, Sr.; Vonta Leach, Jr.; Kent Nealy, Jr.; John Williamson, Sr.):

This may be the biggest area of need in recruiting this year. Everybody on the depth chart, other than Emodi, will be getting their walking papers in the next two years. So not only do the Pirates need to find some future starters, they need to recruit for future depth as well. Taking three or four at this position wouldn't be stretching it in the least.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (Eric Butler, Soph.; Josh Chilsom, R.-Fr; Richard Koonce, R.-Fr.; Chris Moore, R.-Fr.; Jermarcus Veal, R.-Fr.; Lorenza Pickett, Fr.):

The situation here is the exact opposite of the outside positions. Youthful talent abounds and there'll be plenty of playing time to go around for such a large group as long as ECU sticks to the 3-4 alignment. No need to sign anybody here, unless you get a legit shot at a blue chipper.

STRONG SAFETY (Anthony Adams, Sr.; Antwan Adams, Sr.; Travis Heath, Jr.; Antwane Yelverton, Sr.; Richard Moton, Jr.):

Barring the switch of any young secondary players to strong safety, this position will be completely wiped out by graduation over the next two years. To start filling the void, the Pirates need to sign at least one strong safety candidate, or two or three athletes who might fit the bill at any of the secondary positions.

FREE SAFETY (Kelly Hardy, Sr.; Kevin Jackson, Jr.; Antonie Nealy, R.-Fr.; Mar'ques Woolford, Fr.):

There's reasonably good balance in the classes at free safety, so it's not a huge concern in recruiting this year. But landing two to three secondary candidates every year is always a good practice, as we said above.

CORNERBACK (Travis Cox, R.-Fr.; Brandon Rainer, Jr.; Jerome Steward, Sr.; Donald Whitehead, Soph.; Jared Brogden, Fr.; Reicko Jones, Fr.):

An influx of newcomers will be working themselves into the corner positions over the next couple of seasons and with them will come greater speed. That's the aspect of secondary play the coaching staff has sought to improve with the past two recruiting classes and they have succeeded. But there's no such thing as enough speed or depth at cornerback, so take two. If they don't work out at corner, they can always play safety.

KICKER (Kevin Miller, Sr.; Ryan Dougherty, Fr.; Jared Preston, Sr.):

Depending on where Dougherty fits in, the Pirates will need to pick up a punter or placekicker in recruiting. Dougherty's leg strength makes him a strong candidate to replace Miller in 2003 as the placekicker, so we expect the Pirates to be searching for a punter this time around.

These are merely projections and are subject to change. But they do offer us a starting point to begin following East Carolina's recruiting efforts for 2003.

Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look a closer look at some of the candidates the Pirates may be pursuing for the Class of 2003. The fun has just begun.

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02/23/2007 02:35:36 PM

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