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 252.349.2221 for flexible options & rates.




Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Saturday, August 21, 2010

By Sammy Batten

Pirates land prime target in Hairston


By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

As a Pop Warner star for the Greyhounds back in 2001, Chris Hairston dreamed about playing running back at Winston-Salem's Parkland High School. Hairston would often go from Greyhounds practice on Friday night to watch the Mustangs and their star running back Jed Bines during their run to the state 3-A championship.

“I couldn't wait to put on that uniform and play for Parkland,'' said Hairston, who now wears the same jersey No. 1 that Bines wore while piling up 3,388 career yards for Parkland.

Of course, Hairston was an offensive lineman back in those early years with the Greyhounds. But he eventually found his way to running back and is now in his second straight season as a starter in the Parkland backfield.

Next fall, the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is hoping he can have a similar impact at East Carolina. Hairston made a verbal commitment to play for the Pirates on July 31 over scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Coastal Carolina and Winston-Salem State.

Hairston said the ECU staff made him feel like he was their priority at the running back position in recruiting for the Class of 2011.

“The coaches made me feel at home,'' he said. “I liked all the coaches, especially Coach Ruffin (McNeill). He is really family oriented.

“They also told me they were only going to take one player at my position in this class, and that was the No. 1 on the their (recruiting) board. That really got me, too.''

Hairston's football career began at age 10 in the Pop Warner ranks. He first played on the offensive line, then became a wide receiver-kick returner, linebacker and finally a running back.

“I was a pretty big kid back then, which is why they put me on the offensive line to start out,'' Hairston said. “That was tough. But as that first year progressed, I got better and better. Even though I was big, I was also pretty fast. So they eventually got around to trying me at running back. I've been there ever since.''

Speed is also one of Hairston's best assets today. He's been timed at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash, at 10.92 seconds in the 100 meters and 22.3 in the 200.

That's one of the reasons he was poised to become a member of the Parkland varsity as a ninth grader. A broken collarbone suffered in the preseason, however, derailed those plans.

Hairston would begin his sophomore year on the junior varsity, but after two games was promoted to the varsity. It was after that promotion and the subsequent playing time he received on the varsity that Hairston realized he might have a chance to play at the college level.

“I had a pretty good sophomore year after I made it to the varsity,'' he said. “I thought to myself that if I kept doing what I was supposed to in the weight room and just kept working hard, I could make that dream of playing college football come true.''

Hairston became even more convinced he was capable of playing at the major-college level after piling up 1,279 yards and nine touchdowns on 187 carries as a junior.

Those numbers are likely to increase dramatically for Hairston this season. Parkland coach Deangelo Bell has changed the Mustangs offensive alignment from the spread to a one-back set, which should translate into more carries for Hairston.

Although he loves to run the football, Hairston said that's not his only skill.

“I would say I'm an all-purpose back,'' he said. “I can do anything. Whatever the coaches need me to do, that's what I can do.''

Hairston believes his talents will mesh well with ECU's new offensive philosophy.

“They said I'll get the ball, no doubt about it,'' he said. “They'll get it to me running, passing with screens, everything. I think I'll fit in well.''

The Pirates will graduate three players from their running back corps following the 2010 season, including Giavanni Ruffin, Jonathan Williams and Norman Whitley. Hairston will join a group of young remaining backs (Michael Dobson, Alex Owah, Damonte Terry) in the fall of 2011 to battle for the starting job.

E-mail Sammy Batten

Sammy Batten's Archives

08/21/2010 07:48:40 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.