One coveted member of East
Carolina's football recruiting class of 2008 reminds his former high
school coach of NFL Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin.
That’s just an example of
the talent Dayon Arrington will be bringing to Greenville next fall.
Arrington was one of the 18 players officially bound to the Pirates
after signing national letters-of-intent last Wednesday.
Arrington, from Silver
Spring, MD, spent this past season catching passes at Hargrave Military
Academy in Chatham, VA. Playing for Hargrave’s star-studded
post-graduate team, Arrington had several outstanding performances in
the team’s 5-3-1 finish.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder
scored his first touchdown of the year on a 20-yard run on Sept. 3
versus Robert Morris, but his biggest outing came on Oct. 14 against
Louisburg. Arrington hauled in six catches for 115 yards and two scores
versus the Hurricanes.
It was at Paint Branch
High School in Burtonsville, MD, that Arrington’s career got off the
“From they day he walked
in the door as a freshman, he was about 6 feet and about 165 or 170
pounds,’’ said former Paint Branch head coach Ernie Williams. “He was
very athletic. He’s just one of those kids from the moment he walked
through the door you knew he was special.’’
Arrington began his
football career at Paint Branch playing quarterback, running back and
wide receiver on the freshman team. But before that season ended,
Williams had promoted Arrington to the varsity as a utility player.
Over the next three years,
Arrington would become a star at Paint Branch in football, basketball
and track. He led the basketball team in scoring as a junior and senior
and was one of the state’s top high jumpers in track (he has a 31-inch
On the football field, he
developed into one of the area’s best receivers, and as a senior led
Montgomery County with 40 catches for 914 yards and three touchdowns.
“I remember one game we
were playing our arch rivals on television,’’ Williams said. “On the
first pass of the game we threw a deep route to him, but the ball was
overthrown over his opposite shoulder. But he reached up, snagged the
ball with one hand and fell backwards. It was one of the greatest
catches I’ve seen from a high school kid.’’
Despite the prep success,
Arrington wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school, mainly because
many scouts felt his speed – he was running a 4.65-second 40-yard dash
at the time – was too slow for a major-college wide out. But after
working with a personal trainer and spending a season at Hargrave he’s
trimmed that to 4.5.
Virginia seemed destined
to sign Arrington out of Hargrave. Arrington had been a Cavalier fan
growing up. But once the Pirates got involved in early December,
Arrington’s plans began to change. He eventually chose ECU over offers
from Kent and Virginia.
ECU head coach Skip Holtz
said on national signing day that he thought Arrington was the one
player in this year’s recruiting class who is most likely to see action
as a true freshman in 2008.
Williams, who now coaches
at Blake High School, understands why.
“He reminds me of Michael
Irvin when you watch him play because he’s a big kid,’’ Williams said.
“He’s physical and he doesn’t run away from people. When he gets in a
tight corner he uses his body extremely well and has great hands.’’
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thumbnail sketches of all players in ECU's football
recruiting class of 2008.]