Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

Sponsor SAMMY BATTEN'S Recruiting Report and put
your message in front of thousands of hard-core Pirate fans!

Tracking the College Gridiron Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Thursday, November 27, 2003

By Sammy Batten
Staff Writer for The Fayetteville Observer

Pedigreed Pinkney not overlooked by ECU


Pine Forest High School coach Dean Saffos believes the recruiting of his quarterback Patrick Pinkney might make a good episode for the television program "Unsolved Mysteries.''

Because despite a senior season that would be the envy of many prep quarterbacks, Pinkney's list of scholarship offers to date consists of a handful from NCAA Division I-AA or II schools and East Carolina. Other schools, such as Duke, are only interested if Pinkney commits to playing another position.

Some might suggest that the even the ECU offer is based in part because Pinkney's father, Reggie, was an All-Conference player for the Pirates in 1976.

Saffos will tell you in the blunt manner that is a trademark for the veteran prep coach that Patrick Pinkney is deserving of the Pirates' offer, and more.

"One of those TV guys came up to me after our Millbrook (playoff) game,'' Saffos said earlier this month as Pinkney spearheaded a Pine Forest drive into the third round of the 4-AA playoffs. "I doubt if they put it on, but I turned around and said, 'Hey, you can't tell me this kid can't play in the ACC after tonight. If the coaches in the ACC don't think he can play, you deserve the records you've got.'

"And I really believe that. He can play anywhere.''

OK, so Saffos is a little prejudiced when it comes to Pinkney.

Former N.C. State quarterback and NFL wide receiver Charles Davenport also shares Saffos' belief that Pinkney can play big-time college football. Davenport is a Pine Forest graduate and served as Pinkney's personal tutor during the 2003 season.

"A lot of people are going to miss on Pat, and it's going to cost them,'' Davenport said. "You don't find many people who can make plays like this kid. He's made them week in and week out for four years. I told him before the season when it came to recruiting, 'No matter what happens, don't let anybody tell you you're not a quarterback, because you are a Division I quarterback.'

"In my mind, I feel like that kid will play on Sunday. He's no different than a lot of other guys I came along with that are still playing (in the NFL) today, even Jeff Blake. And Patrick has a lot more footspeed and a lot more running ability. He can throw the ball. He's not a thrower. He's a passer. Pat has all the skills. He's strong, he's smart. He knows how to play the game.

"Somebody is going to make a mistake,'' he said. "I hope he goes to a team that can utilize his skills.''

East Carolina may be the perfect team to do that, and not because it's his father's alma mater or the only Division I-A school to offer.

Pinkney would appear to be the perfect fit for the style of offense first-year coordinator Rick Stockstill is developing at ECU. Stockstill likes a mobile quarterback who is capable of stressing the defense with his ability to pass or run on every play.

The state playoffs provided the perfect showcase for Pinkney's ability to do just that.

In an opening-round, 35-32 overtime win against Raleigh Millbrook, Pinkney showed off his passing skills by competing 24 of 32 passes for 442 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 75 yards rushing on 16 carries.

The second-round matchup against Raleigh Broughton provided a stage for Pinkney's running abilities. He ripped off touchdown runs of 96 and 82 yards en route to a 280-yard game rushing on 17 carries in lifting the Trojans to a 41-35 win.

"I'm a quarterback with a lot of athletic ability,'' Pinkney said. "I can throw or run, whatever it takes to help my team win. It doesn't matter if that's running, throwing or just handing the ball off. I'm versatile. I'm an option quarterback and a throwing quarterback. You put those two together, and it's hard to stop.''

Pinkney's numbers took a dip in a third-round loss against Southeast Raleigh when he completed 8 of 21 passes for 102 yards and gained only 1 yard rushing. Still, the performance impressed Southeast Raleigh coach Chad O'Shea enough that during a quick meeting with the quarterback after the game he offered to call "anyone I know'' in the college ranks to give Pinkney a recommendation.

The furious finish helped Pinkney post some pretty impressive statistics for the year. He completed 122 of 237 passes (51.5%) for 1,680 yards, 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, then tacked on 1,172 yards rushing on 202 carries (5.8 yard-per-carry average) and 17 scores.

Now that his season is finished, Pinkney will begin to concentrate more on recruiting. He said the schools making the most serious contact with him at the present are East Carolina, Duke, Appalachian State, N.C. A&T, Richmond and Wofford.

Pinkney has a high interest in the Pirates and has been in constant contact with the coaching staff. First-year head coach John Thompson actually extended Pinkney his scholarship offer soon after his arrival in Greenville last January.

"They haven't been putting too much pressure on me because we were in the playoffs, but they've still called once a week,'' Pinkney said. "I am very interested in them and I've been very impressed with Coach Thompson and Coach (Jerry) McManus (his recruiter).''

Sharing a house with a former Pirate doesn't put pressure on Pinkney to choose ECU.

Dad Reggie Pinkney lettered three years as a defensive back and kick returner for the Pirates between 1974-76. A first-team All-Southern Conference pick as a senior in '76, Reggie's name is still prominent in the ECU record books. He owns the school single-game record for interception return yards with 137 and average per interception returns with 68.5 against Richmond in 1976. Reggie also owns the single-season record for interception return yards (197 in '76) and average per interception returns (32.8 in '76).

The elder Pinkney, who went on to play in the NFL after graduating from ECU, is now a principal in Cumberland County.

"My Dad doesn't pressure me about going to any school,'' Patrick Pinkney said. "He just says whoever gives me the best chance to get a good education is what I should think about. It doesn't matter to him where I go as long as I have a full scholarship and my education is paid for.''

Patrick Pinkney isn't bothered by the fact that even at ECU he'll face some tough competition to become a factor at quarterback. The Pirates will return starter Desmond Robinson next season and James Pinkney and Florida transfer Patrick Dosh are expected to challenge for playing time next fall. ECU also has already gained a verbal commitment from one high school senior quarterback, Antonio Miller from Charlotte's Olympic High.

"To me, that's not a factor,'' Pinkney said. "Everybody is good in college. There will be competition no matter where I go. It's about who is the best, who works the hardest and who plays up to their potential.''

Pinkney, who is scheduled to make an official visit to ECU on Jan. 6, is focused on playing quarterback in college, but said he would consider a position change under certain conditions. A 6-foot-1, 190-pounder who can run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, Pinkney is more than capable of playing another position.

"If it comes down to that, I'll do whatever it takes to help the team out no matter where I play, whether that's quarterback, wide receiver or defensive back,'' Pinkney said. "I just want to help my team get to a championship and I'll do whatever it takes.''

That unselfish attitude is just another reason Saffos is baffled by the limited Division I-A attention Pinkney is receiving on the recruiting trail.

"I think whoever gets him has got a winner,'' Saffos said. "He'll get his grades and I don't think he'll do stupid things. I can't say it enough. As good of an athlete as he is, he's a better kid than he is an athlete. I've never had anything but yes sir and no sir (from him). He's made some mistakes here. But he's always on the honor roll. He makes excellent grades. He studies and gets his work done. He hasn't skipped school that we know about. I don't know what he does on weekends because I'm not with him all the time, but I don't think he does stupid things then either.

"In June, we're going to clone him so we'll have him for four more (years).''

Send an e-mail message to Sammy Batten.

Click here to dig into Sammy Batten's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 02:35:58 PM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.