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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Friday, June 9, 2006

By Sammy Batten

Offensive Report Card • Defensive Report Card • Profiles

QB's & Receivers • Offensive Linemen & RB's

Bucs looking for some beef and some backs


Building depth along the offensive front and finding some immediate help at center were two objectives Coach Skip Holtz established for East Carolina’s recruiting Class of 2007 prior to the start of spring practice in April.

Based on some of the early scholarship offers extended by the Pirates, Holtz and his staff seem to be following through on that quest.

Four offensive line targets, including three in-state blockers, have been confirmed. The most intriguing of those, and perhaps the one ECU needs the most, is 6-foot-5, 265-pound center Desmond Roberts from Northampton-West High School in Gaston.

Roberts has been a two-year varsity starter and was an All-Tar Roanoke Conference pick as a junior as Northampton-West reached the state 1-A championship game. The Hurricanes, who run a wishbone offense, fell to Elkin 42-12 to complete a 14-2 season.

The younger brother of former Duke defensive back Anthony Roberts, who is now the defensive backs coach at Northampton-West, Desmond Roberts has the long arms and frame that recruiters covet in a center. He’s also an outstanding long snapper, which has increased his status as a prospect.

Roberts does, however, have a lot more growing to do and needs to greatly improve his strength levels before he’s ready to join the NCAA Division I-A wars.

Still, the honor student has already picked up scholarship offers from the Pirates, N.C. State, North Carolina, Louisville and Virginia Tech. Although Roberts is calling the Wolfpack his favorite, he isn’t ruling out any program at this early stage in recruiting.

That’s good news for the Pirates, who may offer the best opportunity for quick playing time for Roberts. Two of the three centers on ECU’s post-spring depth chart, Tom Wingenbach and Drew Sutton, will both be seniors next fall. The third center is junior Fred Hicks, who just moved to center this spring after two years as a defensive lineman.

East Carolina is also going head-to-head with N.C. State in the battle for 6-6, 285-pound tackle prospect Kyle Fischer from Spring Valley High in Columbia, SC. The Wolfpack, Vanderbilt and the Pirates have all offered Fischer, a second-team all-state pick as a junior.

An intelligent (3.9 grade-point average) and physical blocker (74 knockdown blocks as a junior), Fischer graded out at 90 percent on his assignments and was twice selected Spring Valley’s offensive player of the week.

Another player in Fischer’s size range who is considering ECU is 6-6, 285-pound Doug Weaver from Person High in Roxboro.

Weaver initially committed to Duke last October, but has since re-opened his recruitment. He’s now looking at the Blue Devils, East Carolina, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia and Wake Forest, all of whom have offered scholarships.

Although Weaver still has strong feelings toward the Blue Devils, he claims to be wide open with his recruitment entering the summer camp period.

Just down the road from Weaver is another ECU blocking prospect in 6-4, 260-pound guard Quinn Barham from Durham’s Hillside High. The Pirates, along with Duke, have been the first schools to offer Barham, who is a tremendous drive blocker with the quickness to pull or trap effectively.

The Pirates would like to land a top-flight running back this year to run behind those big linemen. They have their sights set on one of the state’s best in Daronte McNeil from Elizabeth City’s Northeastern High.

McNeil, a 6-1, 220-pounder with 4.6 speed, chewed up 1,500 yards rushing as a sophomore and added 2,521 more yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior running behind Virginia Tech signee Devven Sutton at fullback. Some have compared McNeil’s running style to a freight train because of the way he runs through defenders.

East Carolina has a long history of recruiting Northeastern athletes, which is one reason McNeil is taking a serious look at the Pirates. Louisville, Nebraska, Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech have also offered him.

Chris Douglas, a 5-9, 183-pounder from Peachtree Ridge High in Suwannee, GA, has also been extended an offer by ECU. The versatile Douglas ran for 622 yards on 89 carries as a junior. He’s also been offered by Central Michigan, and is being courted by Memphis, Central Florida and Ohio.

Another tight end to add to ECU’s hit list is 6-7, 255-pound Greg Nosal from Kellam High in Virginia Beach, VA. In addition to the Pirates, Nosal also has offers from Akron, Connecticut, Kent, Marshall, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

In our next column, we’ll take at look at the defenders who are being pursued by East Carolina.

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02/23/2007 02:37:36 PM


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