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


Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.



Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Friday, October 12, 2007

By Sammy Batten

RECRUITING THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008

ECU breaks through with athletic family

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.


Athletic quarterback Womack ECU-bound
Pirates land Cape Fear's Brown
Breakaway back Spencer finally makes the call
Joyner reinforces the ties that bind
SE Guilford star brings versatility to Pirates
Fleet Gryphon running route to ECU
ECU breaks through with athletic family

Other Recent Items

Bradsher: Bucs' new action hero steals spotlight
Batten: ECU breaks through with athletic family
Audio: Mack McCarthy Press Conference
Myatt: Kass-Pinkney tag team tests foes
Audio: Skip Holtz Press Conference
Bailey: From one shootout to the next
BVL: Harris Interactive College Football Poll
Denny O'Brien's weekly Harris Poll ballot

East Carolina became the first major school to offer linebacker Rodney Paulk of Richland Northeast High in Columbia, SC, a football scholarship back in March 2005. Paulk chose instead to accept a grant-in-aid from South Carolina.

The Pirate coaching staff didn’t let that setback discouraged them. Instead, they repeated their recruiting strategy with another member of the Paulk family, becoming the first school to offer Rodney’s younger brother Leonard while he attended ECU’s summer camp in June.

This time the Pirates got their man.

Leonard Paulk, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound defensive back, became the seventh player overall and the first from out of state to join ECU’s recruiting Class of 2008 late last month. The Pirates are the only Football Bowl Subdivision program to offer Paulk, who has been a starter the last two seasons at Richland Northeast.

“It was all similar to his brother,’’ said Richland Northeast coach Jay Frye. “They (ECU) were the first ones to offer. Leonard really thought a lot of their coaches. He knows their program is on the rise and he was just very impressed by everything up there.’’

Leonard is the just the latest product of a football-playing family that started with cousin Tim Paulk. Tim Paulk was an All-Southeastern Conference linebacker at Florida in 1990 and 1991 and was selected in the seventh round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.

Next came Rodney, a 6-foot, 217-pounder who was rated one of the nation’s top linebackers as a senior in 2005 at Richland Northeast. Rodney earned second-team freshman All-American honors from The Sporting News last year with the Gamecocks.

Leonard Paulk joined his brother on the Richland Northeast varsity squad in ’05 as a sophomore, working mainly on special teams. He earned a starting job last season at safety, making 75 tackles, five pass breakups and five fumble recoveries.

“Because everybody in my family plays sports I grew up in a competitive environment,’’ Leonard Paulk said. “My brother and I were always trying to outdo one another. It didn’t matter what it was we were doing … track, wrestling, football, basketball. Neither one of us likes to lose, and I think that’s helped me become a better football player.’’

Frye said Leonard and his older brother play with similar styles.

“Neither one of them is afraid to stick his nose in there, that’s for sure,’’ he said. “Rodney is probably a little bigger and stronger. But Leonard is still growing and he’s getting bigger all the time. Leonard is not even 17 years old yet. I think he turns 17 in November or December. When he matures he’s going to be a strong kid, no doubt about it.

“But both of those kids are aggressive and they have tremendous character about them. They’re both excellent in the classroom and they are kids you don’t have to worry about in regards to discipline.’’

Frye is using Paulk in a variety of ways this season. Paulk has played safety, cornerback and returned kicks.

“He has tremendous instincts,’’ Frye said. “He does a great job breaking on the football. He’s a good open-field tackler and he’s aggressive. He’s coming through and making big plays for us.’’

Through the first six games this season, Paulk had produced 54 tackles on defense and returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.

“We’re not doing as well as I hoped we would,’’ Paulk said. “But now we’re getting into region play and I hope we can step it up now.’’

The Pirates have recruited Paulk to play cornerback, according to Frye. But Paulk himself is ready to play anywhere Coach Skip Holtz wants to use him.

“Anywhere I can help the team,’’ Paulk said. “I think I can come in there and help them right away. It doesn’t matter where I play. I just want to go there and help them win.’’

Paulk is the fifth defensive back prospect to commit to the Pirates.

[View thumbnail sketches of other players verbally committed to join ECU's recruiting class of 2008.]

Send an e-mail message to Sammy Batten.

Click here to dig into Sammy Batten's archives.

10/12/2007 03:34:31 AM


©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.