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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Friday, January 6, 2006

By Sammy Batten

2006 Thumbnails   •   2005 Thumbnails   •   2005 Report Card

2005 LISTS:   East Carolina   •   C-USA   •   Carolinas

Cape Fear's Melvin just the right size for ECU


Once upon a time, Travis Melvin was considered too big for football.

“I played rec basketball when I was a kid, but they had weight limits in football and I was too big,’’ Melvin said. “So I didn’t start until I got to Mac Williams (middle school).’’

Melvin's size — he stands 6-foot-7 and weighs in at 265 pounds — is a coveted commodity these days, especially by the East Carolina Pirates.

Melvin, from Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, became one of the latest prep players to make a verbal commitment to ECU right before the Christmas holiday. The Pirates had offered Melvin near the end of his junior season at Cape Fear where he’s been a two-year starter at offensive tackle.

Catawba, an NCAA Division I-AA program, was the only other school to offer Melvin a scholarship. But major colleges such as South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech had shown serious interest.

ECU saw something in Melvin that made him an early priority for head coach Skip Holtz and assistant Junior Smith, who was in charge of recruiting Melvin.

“They liked him right away because of his frame and the way he moved on his junior film,’’ Cape Fear coach Mark Heil said. “He moves very, very well for somebody 6-7 and 265 pounds. He is not a fat kid at all. He’s lean. He’s a nice, lean-looking kid who could put on 30 pounds of muscle in a year-and-a-half easily.’’

Melvin comes by his athleticism honestly.
His father, Keith Melvin, played football and basketball in high school, while older brother Rodney Melvin was a basketball star at Cape Fear and went on to play collegiately at UNC-Pembroke and Greensboro College.

Melvin was born in Columbia, SC, but also spent time living in Germany and Augusta, GA, because his father served in the U.S. Army. The family moved to Fayetteville about 11 years ago when the elder Melvin was assigned to Fort Bragg. Frank Melvin is now retired.

Travis Melvin couldn’t play recreation football when he was young, but it didn’t stop him from enjoying the game.

“I studied the game on TV and watched every little thing,’’ Melvin said. “I think that helped me progress faster once I was able to start playing organized football in middle school.

“Plus, I had been playing basketball all along and I think that helped me develop my speed, agility and footwork.’’

Still, Melvin had some maturing to do once he reached Cape Fear. He played on the junior varsity as a freshman, but sat out his sophomore season.

“He got into trouble at the end of his freshman year and skipped his sophomore season,’’ Heil said. “But he comes from a really great family and like all kids, he just made a mistake. He realized his mistake and turned himself around.

“He’s so smart. He saw where his bread was buttered and went after it hard in the weight room and displayed a great attitude. This was his goal. He wanted to get better in football and he wanted to got to a Division I school.’’

Melvin’s quest encountered a hurdle this season when he suffered a broken foot in late October. The injury occurred in practice during a tackling drill when a teammate fell on his foot.

The injury required a surgery in which screws and a metal plate were inserted to mend the break. Melvin has been in a walking boot since, but is expecting to start rehab on Jan. 16.

Melvin’s injury is one reason the ECU staff has told Heil they expect to red-shirt him as a true freshman. Another reason for red-shirting Melvin is the fact the Pirates plan to move him to the defensive line.

“It was somewhat of a surprise when the East Carolina coaches started talking to me about playing defensive line,’’ Melvin said. “I’ve always played offense, so I just figured they’d want me at the position I’d been playing. But football is football. I just love the game. I’ll do whatever they want me to do.’’

Despite the injury, Melvin still managed to earn a spot on the All-Two Rivers 4-A Conference and All-Cape Fear region teams as a senior.

Melvin is scheduled to make his official recruiting visit to Greenville this weekend, and he’s looking forward to the trip.

“I’ve been there for football camp and for their junior day, but this is my first chance to really look around the campus,’’ Melvin said. “I’m hoping to enroll in July for summer school, so I need to learn my way around. I’m excited about becoming a Pirate.’’

Melvin isn’t the only recruiting additions ECU made over the holidays.

The Pirates also added three prospects during the junior college signing period in December who are scheduled to be enrolled this semester.

One of those is linebacker Fred Wilson from Georgia Military Academy, who we profiled earlier.

The others are Andrew Farr, a 6-4, 280-pound offensive lineman from Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia and linebacker Danny Muhwezi, a 6-3, 235-pounder from Lackawana Junior College in Scranton, PA. [View thumbnail sketches of 2006 recruits]

While it is a general belief you can’t build a program on junior college recruits, it was a shrewd move by Holtz to dip into those ranks to help fill some immediate needs on his depth chart.

Wilson and Muhwezi figures to make immediate impacts at linebacker this spring where graduation claimed starters in Richard Koonce and Chris Moore, as well as top reserve Josh Chilsom.

Farr, too, should contend for playing time on an offensive front that loses three starters to graduation.

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02/23/2007 02:37:23 PM


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