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Tracking the College Gridiron Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Monday, December 8, 2003

By Sammy Batten
Staff Writer for The Fayetteville Observer

Pirates cast wide net for football talent


East Carolina’s coaching staff appears to be focusing its efforts heavily in Florida and the national junior college ranks as the intense final two months of recruiting for the Class of 2004 gets underway.

College coaches cannot comment publicly on recruits. But based on interviews with high school coaches, recruits and on published reports of scholarship offers extended, the Pirates’ efforts can be pinpointed to a certain degree.

A total of 18 Florida high school seniors have confirmed offers from ECU along with eight JUCOs, at least four of whom are also originally from the Sunshine State. It is believed the Pirates would like to add as many as eight JUCOs in an effort to get some immediate help from the 2004 class.

Six players have already given commitments — four from the prep ranks and two from junior colleges.

Charlotte, N.C., quarterback Antonio Miller, Jacksonville, Fla., center Zach Davis and Mike Williams, an offensive lineman from Orlando, Fla, have verbaled to the Pirates, along with free safety Jonathan Warren of Madison County High in Florida, whose pledge to don the purple and gold was reported by on Saturday.

More immediate help might come from tight end Willie Metcalf and free safety Zack Baker, a pair of teammates from Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., who, according to's Saturday report, have also committed to ECU.

Here’s a position-by-position look at the ECU offers we’ve been able to verify, including an update on the player’s current recruiting status:



DAVON DREW (6-4, 215, 4.65 40-yard dash) NEW BERN, N.C. — Drew is mobile, has a strong arm and is a winner — he’s taken New Bern to back-to-back state title games. Offers have been made by Clemson, East Carolina and Maryland, but he’s probably won’t get serious about recruiting until after the state championship on Dec. 6.

BLAKE FIELD (6-3, 195, 4.68) NORTH FLORIDA CHRISTIAN HS, TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — Field is a consummate field general who committed to Auburn on Oct. 20 over East Carolina, which was his only other Division I-A offer.

OMAR HAUGABOOK (6-0, 205, 4.43) CENTRAL HS, BELLE GLADE, FLA. — Haugabook quarterbacks one of the best programs in Florida, but most colleges envision him playing wide receiver or cornerback in college. Still, Haugabook wants to give quarterback a try. He’s got one visit scheduled with South Florida (1/9), but also has offers on the table from ECU and Mississippi State. The Pirates are expected to get an official visit.

ANTONIO MILLER (6-1, 190, 4.5) OLYMPIC HS, CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This dual-threat quarterback is already bound for ECU. He committed to the Pirates in July over offers from Kansas State, Maryland, Marshall, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

PATRICK PINKNEY (6-1, 190, 4.5) PINE FOREST HS, FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The son of former ECU defensive back Reggie Pinkney is adept at running and throwing the football. He’s also an excellent field general. Surprisingly, ECU remains his only firm Division I-A offer, but Duke’s interest is picking up.

WILLIAM RICHARDSON (6-5, 210, 4.8) SUMTER, S.C. — Richardson is the younger brother of former Penn State and NFL quarterback Wally Richardson. He also happens to be the best quarterback prospect in the Palmetto State this season. Clemson, ECU and South Carolina State are his offers, but Richardson’s early top three are Clemson, Maryland and N.C. State.


ANTHONY CAMPBELL (5-9, 175, 4.4) HIALEAH, FLA. — Versatility is Campbell’s game. He’s played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and cornerback in high school. The Pirates like him as a running back. Auburn, Michigan State, Mississippi, N.C. State and Pittsburgh are others who have offered.

CHRIS JOHNSON (6-0, 175, 4.4) OLYMPIA HS, ORLANDO, FLA. — Johnson is one of the fastest athletes in Florida. His senior year was shortened due to a broken leg, but he returned to gain 400 yards and score seven touchdowns in the final three games of the season. Johnson said he will make an official visit to ECU in January. His only other offers to date are from Eastern Kentucky and Georgia Southern.

NORRIS SMITH (5-10, 190, 4.46) ELY HS, POMPANO BEACH, FLA. — Smith is a big-time, blue-chip rushing star who is calling ECU one of his favorites along with Kentucky and Tennessee. His offer list is more expansive than that, however, and includes Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Mississippi, N.C. State and Pittsburgh. The interest in Smith is amazing considering he spent last year as a backup to current Miami freshman Tyrone Moss. The all-purpose back rushed for 1,002 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.


YAMON FIGURS (6-0, 180, 4.4) GARDEN CITY, KAN., CC, FORT PIERCE, FLA. — An explosive receiver and kick-return man, Figurs cast his lot with Kansas State on Nov. 25 over offers from ECU, Texas A&M and Utah.

LARRY FREEMAN (6-3, 185, 4.5) FORT MEADE, FLA. — Freeman is a prep quarterback who projects as a wide receiver or safety in college. His offer lists includes Central Florida, Connecticut, ECU, Iowa State, LSU, Louisville and Michigan State.

BRIAN HARE (6-3, 200, 4.45) PIMA, AZ., CC, ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL. — Hare is a rangy, big-play threat who turned down offers from Arizona State, ECU, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Marshall and Pittsburgh to commit to Purdue on Nov. 7.

KEAVETT MICKLE (6-3, 175, 4.57) BOONE HS, ORLANDO, FLA. — Mickle has excellent hands and doesn’t mind catching the ball in a crowd. But his real forte is getting upfield and in position to haul in the deep ball. ECU is his only offer, but Georgia Tech and others are lurking around.

JEROME SIMPSON (6-2, 180, 4.4) REIDSVILLE, N.C. — Simpson has been one of the state’s most prolific receivers for the last two seasons, piling up almost 3,000 yards receiving. ECU is his only offer, but no date has been set for an official visit.

JOMAR WRIGHT (6-2, 185, 4.5) J.F. BYRNES HS, DUNCAN, S.C. — The Pirates offered Wright, but have been eliminated from the process along with Duke and Memphis. The list is down to Georgia, Kentucky and Wake Forest. Wright will make an official visit to see the Deacons on Dec. 16.


WILLIE METCALF (6-7, 260, 4.7) PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, TUCSON, ARIZ. — Committed to ECU along with teammate FS Zack Baker. Metcalf originally signed with Ohio State but fell short academically and embarked on a journey through three junior colleges, including a stint as a basketball player. Has one year of eligibility remaining but offers enough potential that he also drew recruiting interest from Miami, noted his coach.


ZACH DAVIS (6-4, 250, 4.9) TRINITY CHRISTIAN HS, JACKSONVILLE, FLA. — Davis is a pure center prospect who accepted an offer from ECU last summer over Central Florida, South Florida and Vanderbilt.

KURT FALK (6-7, 320, 5.0) BLINN, TX, CC, BELLVILLE, TX. — Falk spent the 2001 season as a scholarship player at Duke, but left prior to the start of his red-shirt freshman year. He wound up at Blinn and has again been the object of an intense recruiting battle. Baylor, ECU, Houston, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico, Tennessee and Tulsa have all offered. Falke has already visited his two favorites, Central Florida (Nov. 14) and Syracuse (Nov. 21).

JAMES THOMPSON (6-5, 310, 5.2) SUMTER, S.C. — One of the top blocking prospects in South Carolina, Thompson is more athletic than most. He’s drawn offers from Clemson, ECU, Maryland, N.C. State and South Carolina. Thompson has narrowed the possibilities to Clemson, UNC and South Carolina.

PAUL WALSH (6-6, 288, 5.2) NORTH FLORIDA CHRISTIAN HS, TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — Walsh, who plays for one of Florida’s premier private-school programs, is expected to head out of state to play, which bodes well for ECU. The Pirates were one of the first to offer and are in the hunt along with Central Florida, Iowa State, North Carolina and N.C. State. Central Florida (1/9) and UNC (1/23) already have visits scheduled.

JUAN WILLIAMS (6-3, 292, 5.1) GARNER, N.C. — Williams is a talented guard-center who plays with better technique than most prep linemen. ECU has extended the only offer to Williams, and he likes the Pirates along with Connecticut, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest.

MIKE WILLIAMS (6-3, 285, 5.0) BOONE HS, ORLANDO, FLA. — Williams committed to ECU on June 30 after also considering an offer from Central Florida. He’s a disciplined, hard-nosed blocker with quickness to trap or pull when the need arises.


C.J. HUNNICUTT (6-2, 215, 4.65) MANATEE HS, BRADENTON, FLA. — A 5-A all-state pick as a junior, Hunnicutt could wind up playing linebacker in college. ECU offered, but it looks like Hunnicutt’s focus is Auburn (11/21 official visit), Ohio State (1/23), South Florida (1/16) and West Virginia (12/5).

CEDRIC KOGER (6-5, 247, 4.6) DODGE CITY, KAN., CC, OKEECHOBEE, FLA. — Koger was a second-team All-Jayhawk Conference pick this year at Dodge City CC after making 31 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He’s already made an official visit to ECU on 11/14. Koger is also considering Clemson, Kentucky, UAB and Troy State.

DENNIS MARSH (6-4, 275, 4.8) NE GUILFORD HS, MCLEANSVILLE, N.C. — Maryland won the recruiting battle for Marsh early, picking up a commitment in June over offers from Clemson, ECU and North Carolina.

HILEE TAYLOR (6-4, 215, 4.4) SCOTLAND HS, LAURINBURG, N.C. — Taylor’s quickness is the best of any lineman in the state. ECU gave Taylor an offer early, but he chose to commit to North Carolina in August.

ANTONIO SEARCY (6-3, 305, 4.9) DODGE CITY, KAN., CC, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — Searcy is a big-time defensive tackle prospect who is highly coveted by the Pirates. He took an official visit to ECU on 11/14 and has consequently made trips to Kansas State (11/21) and South Florida (12/5). He also has offers from Illinois and Kansas.

NICK WILLIAMS (6-3, 240, 4.7) PLANTATION, FLA. — Williams is a physical end who has offers from Boston College, ECU, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh and South Florida. He’s already made an official visit to Pitt (11/28).


ALONZO MIDDLETON (6-2, 230, 4.6) WILKINSON HS, ORANGEBURG, S.C. — ECU offensive coordinator Rick Stockstill developed a relationship with Middleton while he was a coach at Clemson. Stockstill’s efforts have put the Pirates at the top of Middleton’s list along with Clemson. He’s also been offered by South Carolina. Middleton is the type of athlete who could be a real difference maker for ECU.

BARRY WRIGHT (5-11, 215, 4.5) COFFEYVILLE, KAN., CC, PENSACOLA, FLA. — Wright was a first-team All-Jayhawk Conference pick this season after collecting 72 tackles, 9 tackles for losses and 3 sacks. He’s made one official visit to West Virginia (11/14) and has other offers from ECU, LSU and South Carolina.

LAMAR MYLES (6-1, 205, 4.45) LAKE REGION HS, EAGLE LAKE, FLA. — Myles is a speedy outside linebacker who makes plays from sideline to sideline. Auburn is his favorite, but ECU, Louisville and South Florida have also offered scholarships.

TONY RICHARDSON (6-1, 210, 4.5) WASHINGTON COUNTY HS, SANDERSVILLE, GA. — Richardson had an incredible junior season in which he racked up 38 tackles for loss and 21 sacks. His ability to disrupt offenses has drawn offers from Brigham Young, ECU and Louisville, but he’s yet to set up any official visits.

ANTONIO WILSON (6-3, 212, 4.6) PAHOKEE, FLA. — Wilson isn’t just a great football player, but he’s one of Florida’s top scorers on the hardwood as well. ECU is in his top five along with favorite West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Indiana and Wake Forest. All except the Deacons have offered.


KEVIN PATTERSON (6-0, 172, 4.45) CAMDEN COUNTY HS, KINGSLAND, GA. — A swift corner with excellent coverage skills, Patterson says he favors Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets haven’t offered yet. But Delaware, ECU, Tennessee State, Wake Forest and Wofford have, and so has Vanderbilt where he had an official visit scheduled for 12/5.

ALPHONSO SMITH (5-10, 176, 4.55) PAHOKEE, FLA. — A prep quarterback who projects as a secondary player in college, Smith took a long look at ECU before committing to Pittsburgh in May. He also entertained offers from Iowa, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

DANNY VERPAELE (5-11, 186, 4.53) MERRITT ISLAND, FLA. — Verpaele is the brother of Central Florida strong safety Kevin Verpaele and favors that school, too. But ECU and Navy are also in the picture for this versatile athlete.

STACY WALLS (5-9, 171, 4.4) WASHINGTON COUNTY HS, SANDERSVILLE, GA. — A speedy jitterbug, Walls excels at returning kicks. He carried five punt returns back for touchdowns as a junior. Walls favors Clemson and Georgia Tech, but his two offers are from Brigham Young and ECU.


ZACK BAKER (6-2, 205, 4.5/40) PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, TUCSON, ARIZ. — Committed to ECU along with teammate TE Willie Metcalf. With his combination of size and speed, Baker appears to have the tools to help the Pirates shore up what has been a vulnerable secondary.

PIERRE BELL (6-3, 200, 4.45) WEST CRAVEN HS, VANCEBORO, N.C. — Bell emerged as a prospect with a big senior year at West Craven. He has excellent speed and a nose for the football. ECU and Wake Forest are his two offers presently, but the attention is expected to increase significantly in the next month.

DEMOR BOLDEN (6-0, 200, 4.6) PAHOKEE, FLA. — Physical and fierce are traits that have earned Bolden offers from East Carolina and West Virginia. He doubled as a wide receiver in high school, but projects as a safety in college.

SHAWON GOLIGHTLY (5-10, 200, 4.5) SW DEKALB HS, DECATUR, GA. — Golightly is the type that is always around the football making plays. The Pirates are in a battle with Duke, Middle Tennessee and Wake Forest for his services.

JONATHAN WARREN (6-1, 190, 4.5) MADISON, FLA. — This highly regarded safety prospect will make an official visit to ECU on Jan. 9. The Pirates, who battled Florida (1/16), Florida State (1/23) and Iowa State (1/2) for Warren's services, have obtained his commitment ahead of that visit.


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02/23/2007 02:35:49 PM

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