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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

By Sammy Batten

THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008  •  2009

Swift wideout runs into Pirates' arms

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Kendrick Wiggins is so fast that sometimes people have had a hard time believing it when he runs.

For example, Wiggins was clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash during a Shrine Bowl all-star game combine in Apex last April. The time was so fast that the coaches running the drill asked Wiggins to run the 40 again to make sure they hadn't made an error in timing.

Wiggins turned in another 4.39 the second time around, according to his coach at Southern Durham High, Adrian Jones.

"He did the same thing at the Wake Forest camp later in the summer,'' Jones said. "He is usually the fastest person on the field when we play.''

That super speed is one of the major reasons East Carolina began pursuing Wiggins last March after viewing highlight video from his junior season. "Reese,'' as his teammates at Southern Durham know him, had 491 yards and five touchdowns receiving as a junior. He also displayed his speed by compiling 212 yards on kickoff returns, one of which he took back 98 yards for a score.

Three days after watching video on Wiggins, ECU offered a scholarship, according to Jones. The early attention paid off just before Christmas when Wiggins made a verbal commitment to the Pirates.

East Carolina beat out Wake Forest and Northwestern for Wiggins, who carries a 3.8 grade point average. Northwestern did offer a scholarship, but the Deacons didn't because Wiggins didn't want to make the transition to defensive back in college, Jones said.

"They (ECU) showed him love,'' Jones said. "They called him on a regular basis, talked and met with his parents. He went down there for a visit and it was a good atmosphere for him. I think he really likes what they're doing with their program.''

And what's not to like about ECU, especially if you're a wide receiver?

The Pirates run a spread offense that can produce big passing statistics. But the aerial attack was inconsistent at times this season, especially after ECU lost its top two receivers, Jamar Bryant and Dwayne Harris.

Bryant, a junior, was suspended indefinitely in October for violating team rules. He had made 18 straight starts and was the team's second-leading receiver when the suspension was announced. Bryant's status for the 2009 season is still unclear, although he has remained in school.

ECU then lost Harris, its leading receiver, to a fractured foot in late November. Harris, a sophomore, should be fully recovered by next season.

Those absences forced the Pirates to turn to younger receivers like true freshman Joe Womack, redshirt freshmen Darryl Freeney and Michael Bowman, and transfer Reyn Willis.

Even if Bryant returns to the team, ECU will need contributions from its incoming freshman class to bolster the receiving corps next fall.

Jones believes the Pirates see Wiggins as one of those who can help them in 2009.

"Their receivers coach (Donnie Kirkpatrick) came down to a game this year and watched him,'' Jones said. "He (Kirkpatrick) went back to East Carolina saying Reese could get playing time on the 2009 team if he comes in and works hard.''

Wiggins has been working hard at Southern Durham since making the varsity as a freshman. He's been a starter the last two seasons, including this year when he caught 44 passes for 659 yards and four touchdowns. Wiggins also returned 16 kickoffs for 515 yards and four more scores.

Among those kickoff returns was a 90-yarder in the season opener against Mount Tabor that Wiggins took back for a touchdown.

But his most spectacular play may have come later in the season against city rival Jordan High.

"He caught a bubble screen and there were about five or six guys around him,'' Jones said. "We thought the play was dead. But he caught the ball, and because he was the fastest guy on the field, he outran the angle and took it home. It was really amazing.''

Wiggins' senior-year performance, and his 40 times at the combine, earned him a spot on the North Carolina squad for the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star game in December.

Although several other schools have begun inquiring about Wiggins since the Shrine Bowl, Jones said his star is firm with the Pirates.

"He's still solid, even though a lot of other schools are asking,'' Jones said.

Wiggins is the second wide receiver to join the ECU Class of 2009. New Bern's Mike Price made a pledge to the Pirates in July.

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01/07/2009 01:32:29 AM


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