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Tracking the College Gridiron Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Tuesday, December 6, 2005

By Sammy Batten


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

Ga. Military pipeline still producing

ECU lands stellar LB from one of country's top JC programs


East Carolina has enjoyed excellent success recently recruiting the powerhouse junior college program at Georgia Military College, landing the likes of wide receiver Aundrae Allison, cornerback Demetrius Hodges and kick returner extraordinaire Keith Stokes.

The Pirates are hoping for a similar success story with their latest Georgia Military College recruit, linebacker Fred Wilson, who has become the fourth member of the 2006 recruiting class.

Graduation will wipe out most of ECU’s linebacker corps from this year, including first-team All-Conference USA pick Chris Moore. So, signing several players at the linebacker positions is a major priority for head coach Skip Holtz and his staff.

Wilson, a 6-foot-2, 255-pounder from Cross, SC, is the second linebacker prospect to join the Pirates’ class in the last two weeks. He follows 6-1, 220-pound Nick Johnson from East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte who made a verbal commitment last week.

ECU’s past connections to Georgia Military paid dividends in recruiting Wilson, as did the coaching staff’s connections to the University of South Carolina. Holtz, offensive coordinator Steve Shankweiler and quarterbacks coach Phil Petty were all part of the Gamecocks’ coaching staff when Wilson’s older brother Rod played there between 2000-2004. Rod Wilson is now a linebacker with the NFL’s Chicago Bears, but is currently on injured reserve.

“I was familiar with Coach Holtz and two of my former GMC teammates are up there, so I knew about East Carolina,’’ Wilson said Monday afternoon in a telephone interview. “I kept up with what Aundrae Allison and those guys were doing up there. And I knew that Coach Holtz wouldn’t have gone to a program that wasn’t going to be good.’’

Thomas Roggeman, the Pirates’ offensive line coach, began recruiting Wilson last April. Kent State, Memphis, SMU, Troy State and Western Kentucky were also showing serious interest, but ECU pulled the trigger first on a scholarship offer.

“I had heard nothing but good things about East Carolina,’’ said Wilson, who is making his official visit to Greenville this weekend. “It was close to home, but not the same place my brother played. I wanted to go somewhere I could make a name for myself. East Carolina offered me something new and different. Plus, they just recruited me harder than anybody else. I felt needed by them.’’

Wilson was recruited by many major college powers following his senior season at Cross High School, but wound up signing with South Carolina State. He failed to qualify academically and enrolled in August of 2003 at Georgia Military. But because he hadn’t completed a portion of South Carolina’s required high school graduation test, he had to return to Cross, according to Georgia Military College defensive coordinator Taylor Burks.

“He came back to us that January and he’s been a leader for us in the cadet corps on campus and on the football field the last two years,’’ Burks said. “He’s put himself in position to graduate this month, so he can move on to East Carolina and do some great things. He’s a great kid and comes from a great family.’’

Wilson was one of several players Burks rotated at inside linebacker the past two seasons, including this year as the Bulldogs rolled to a 9-2 record. GMC finished its season last Saturday by knocking off the nation’s No. 4-ranked junior college team, Coffeyville (KS) Community College, 21-17.

The victory should help GMC crack the national top five after entering the game ranked No. 6.

Wilson finished the year with about 40 tackles, three sacks and one pass break up.

“He had such a good understanding of how our defense fits together,’’ Burks said. “He was our leader and he was able to assist other players on the field. He was a student of what we were doing and that showed every game.’’

Wilson hopes to visit Chicago during the holiday break to work out with his older brother. He wants to improve his speed, which has been measured at 4.8 in the 40-yard dash.

“My brother is faster than me,’’ Wilson said. “So I’m hoping to go up and work out with him a couple of days and maybe some of that will rub off on me. I’m quick, but I know I can be quicker.’’

GMC may not be finished sending members of its 2005 squad to ECU. Two of Wilson’s teammates, 6-5, 320-pound offensive lineman Willie Barton and 6-1, 196-pound defensive back Tyrell Broughton, are also being recruited by the Pirates. Broughton has received a scholarship offer from ECU and will make an official visit to Greenville on Jan. 14.

Wilson also said the ECU staff is expressing interest in 6-1, 215-pound GMC wide receiver Octavius Everett.

“I’m going to try to talk them into coming,’’ Wilson said. “I’ll try to get four or five more Bulldogs to come up here. There are so many good athletes at the school and it would be fun to keep playing together.’’

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02/23/2007 02:36:59 PM

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