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Tracking the College Gridiron Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Friday, September 30, 2005

By Sammy Batten


2006 Thumbnails    •    2005 Thumbnails    •    2005 Report Card    •    Signing Day Audio

2005 LISTS:      East Carolina   •   C-USA   •   Carolinas   •   Top Classes   •   Top Signees

O-line of the future starts with a survivor


D.J. Scott has survived a collision with a semi-truck, so it’s a good bet he’ll be tough enough to handle the rigors of major college football in Greenville next fall.

Scott is the first member of East Carolina coach Skip Holtz’s recruiting Class of 2006, having given the Pirates a verbal commitment during the summer. A 6-foot-6, 291-pound offensive lineman from Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, FL, Scott would have probably been a highly recruited prospect this season if not for serious car accident that wiped out the second half of his junior season.

Five games into the 2004 campaign, Scott’s car was T-boned by a semi-truck and he suffered a lacerated spleen.

“He’s lucky to be alive,’’ Clay High coach Jim Reape said. “While the injury didn’t require surgery besides just stitching him up, it did require time to let the spleen heal. Consequently, he missed the second half of the season. It was disappointing, but better than the alternative.

“We made it to the playoffs, and he and his dad were scheming to get him back into uniform. His mom put an end to that, but that shows you how tough the kid is. He was ready to get back on the field again.’’

Instead of playing, Scott wound up focusing his energy on the weight room.

“He really dedicated himself to the weight room, and consequently he’s a stronger, quicker player this year,’’ Reape said. ‘He weighed about 265 last year and he started preseason camp at 291. He’s every bit of 6-foot-6 and 291 pounds, but he’s still very lean. There’s plenty of room for growth.’’

Schools from Florida to Bowling Green were in contact with Scott throughout the summer. But it was East Carolina that showed the quickest and most sincere interest, Reape said.

“D.J. went to all the camps, but from the time he met the East Carolina coaching staff they treated him most sincerely and were most up front with him,’’ Reape said. “They saw his film, shook his hand, watched practice and offered a scholarship.

“His best football is ahead of him. East Carolina got themselves quite a sleeper.’’

Scott has played just two seasons of varsity football, according to Reape, and is expected to play offensive tackle at East Carolina.

Improving the talent on the offensive line is expected to be one of several priorities for the Pirates in recruiting the Class of 2006.

Here’s a glance at six players who already have scholarship offers from East Carolina, as well as one under consideration for an offer:

   •••   BRETT AINSLEY, C-G (6-3, 285) Western Branch HS, Chesapeake, VA — Ainsley impressed the ECU staff at summer camp with his intelligence, quick feet and his ability to execute the shotgun snap from center. They Pirates quickly extended an offer. James Madison is his only other offer at this point.

   •••   KYLE FOX, G (6-3, 285) Madison County HS, Greenville, FL — Fox is a tough, physical blocker who delivered 38 “pin’’ blocks as a junior to earn second-team all-state 2-A honors. His team has reached the state finals three times in the last four years. ECU, North Carolina and Southern Miss have offered scholarships.

   •••   CANNON GASKIN, G (6-4, 265) The Bolles School, Jacksonville, FL — Gaskin has the speed (4.9 seconds in the 40-yard dash) to play defensive line, but his potential to pack pounds on his lean frame makes him an ideal guard or tackle candidate at the next level. ECU has offered along with Kentucky and Temple.

   •••   DOUG POLOCHAK, G (6-4, 268) Nease HS, Jacksonville, FL — Polochak is another tall, lean blocking prospect who’ll need to pack on some weight once he reaches the DI level. Central Florida and Toledo have offered him along with ECU, and Navy has recruited him for football, too.

   •••   KEVIN MCCASKILL, C (6-0, 287) Godby HS, Tallahassee, FL — McCaskill has been a varsity starter since his freshman season and earned second-team all-state 3-A from the Florida Sports Media as a junior. He’s gotten plenty of interest and counts offers from Illinois, Iowa State, Louisville, Marshall and Mississippi as well as ECU.

   •••   TRAVIS MELVIN, T (6-6, 250) Cape Fear HS, Fayetteville — Melvin is one of those natural talents who can do just about anything he wants, when he puts his mind to it. That’s why ECU got in early with an offer, but Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia and Virginia Tech are watching his progress closely.

   •••   BILLY CUFFEE, T (6-5, 330) Deep Creek HS, Chesapeake, VA — The Pirates haven’t offered, but they’re watching Cuffee closely to see how he responds after missing the second half of his junior year with a hip injury. If he’s healthy, Cuffee’s a major prospect. Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Nebraska, N.C. State, South Carolina and Virginia Tech are just some of the others staying in contact.

We’ll take a look at other positions and possible recruits at those spots in the next two weeks.

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02/23/2007 02:36:51 PM

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