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

Tracking the College Gridiron Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, November 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

Help on the way to shore up ECU's LB corps

East Meck's Johnson brings football pedigree, "physical" style to Pirates


Nick Johnson had received the standard letters of interest from East Carolina, but it wasn’t until recently that the Pirates got serious about the 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker from East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte.

“It wasn’t a long, drawn-out recruitment,’’ said Johnson, who is the third player to join ECU’s recruiting Class of 2006. “They had sent me a package before the season and invited me to come to any games I wanted to. But it was only recently they started to call.

“I guess we spoke for about two weeks and then they asked me to send some game film. I did, and the next day they called and offered me a full scholarship. I couldn’t turn that down.’’

North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee had also been recruiting Johnson, but the Pirates were the first to come through with a scholarship offer.

Johnson was drawn to ECU for many reasons, including the fact that the Pirates graduate a number of veteran linebackers like Chris Moore, Richard Koonce and Deshawn Stephens.

“I know they lose a whole senior crew of linebackers, and that played a part,’’ Johnson said. “Of course, they’ve told me I would probably be redshirted next year. But then I could come in and make an impact as a redshirt freshman and get a lot of playing time. They told me they wanted to build the defense around me, so I liked that.’’

Johnson expects to play middle or inside linebacker at ECU, which is the position he’s played at East Mecklenburg since his sophomore season.

He actually made the East Mecklenburg varsity as a freshman and was expected to play quarterback before he altered that plan and his career in a pre-season scrimmage.

“I had played linebacker and quarterback in middle school,’’ Johnson said. “I was kind of skinny, like about 6-foot, 160 pounds or something like that. We had a middle linebacker that year who was one of the best in the state named Robert Claitt. So they really brought me in and had me working out with the quarterbacks in the preseason.

“But we went to a scrimmage at Kings Mountain and I think I had like crushing hits at linebacker, so they figured maybe that was where I should play.’’

Johnson played extensively at several positions on defense as a freshman, then moved into the starting job at middle linebacker as a sophomore. He earned All-Southwestern Conference honors as a sophomore and repeated that last season when he recorded 151 tackles, five quarterback sacks, 11 tackles for losses and three interceptions. Johnson also blocked five kicks as a junior.

Intelligence and football savvy are two of Johnson’s best attributes.

“I think I’m pretty smart on the football field,’’ Johnson said. “I’m able to read plays, side-step tacklers, get in there and hit them hard. I guess you can say I play physical.’’

Johnson has come by those talents honestly. His father, Ed, was a prep star at East Henderson High where he led his team to an undefeated season and a state championship.

“I’ve been playing football since I was about 5,’’ Johnson said. “I’ve just always been around the game.’’

Johnson isn’t the only Charlotte area prospect the Pirates are pursuing. They’ve also recently offered 6-4, 290-pound offensive tackle Michael Ingersoll from Butler High. Akron, North Carolina and Vanderbilt have also extended grants to Ingersoll, who was selected to represent the state in the annual N.C.-S.C. Shrine Bowl All-Star Game later this month.

East Carolina will also get an official visit on January 6 from one of the state’s top receiving prospects in 6-4, 193-pound Javon Brumsey from Northeastern High in Elizabeth City. Brumsey has also set dates to visit Hampton and James Madison. Rutgers is his only other Division I-A scholarship offer besides the Pirates.

Send an e-mail message to Sammy Batten.

Click here to dig into Sammy Batten's archives.

02/23/2007 02:36:56 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.