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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By Sammy Batten

Va. DB locks in, Ga. QB peels away

One-on-One with...
(ECU Media Relations File Photos)

Bonesville features writer Ron Cherubini conducted one-on-one interviews with East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley (left) and Pirate defensive boss Brian Mitchell (right). Links to the wide-ranging Q&A sessions:

Lincoln Riley Q&A
Brian Mitchell Q&A

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

View the Bonesville Mobile Alpha version of this page.

East Carolina added one dynamic athlete to its recruiting Class of 2012 over the weekend, but also lost a significant prospect.

The Pirates received a verbal commitment from Midlothian, VA, defensive back Deshaun Amos while he was still on campus last Sunday completing an official recruiting visit to Greenville. About 24 hours later, ECU lost Flowery Branch, GA, quarterback Kanler Coker to in-state rival North Carolina.

The 6-4, 217-pound Coker had given an oral commitment to the Pirates back in December. But when UNC's new offensive coordinator Blake Anderson visited Flowery Branch High School earlier this month in hopes of talking with the team's Oklahoma State-bound receiver, C.J. Curry, he got a glimpse at Coker's senior highlight film.

Coker threw for 2,809 yards and 31 touchdowns after transferring to Flowery Branch for his senior season. He amassed 3,800 yards of total offense, according to Coach Chris Griffin.

Griffin said Coker struggled with the decision to switch his commitment because the ECU staff had done such a great job recruiting.

“He's the type of kid who doesn't like to disappoint anybody,'' Griffin said. “Until North Carolina came into the picture, he was totally committed to East Carolina. They are good people there at ECU. So I know it was tough on him.''

Coker told the ECU coaching staff personally in a phone call about his decision.

“I'll say the East Carolina coaches were really good to me,'' he said. “It wasn't the best situation, but at the same time they wished me the best. They hoped that I have a bright future and wished me the best of luck. I told them the same thing.''

The loss of Coker was offset somewhat by the addition of Amos, a versatile three-sport athlete who earned All-Dominion District football honors at three positions as a senior for Manchester High School. Amos was a first-team selection at wide receiver and kick returner, and a second-team pick as a defensive back.

ECU was the first school to offer a scholarship to the 6-1, 175-pounder, who has also starred for the Manchester basketball and baseball teams. But it's on the football field where Amos showed his promise as a freshman playing for the Manchester varsity.

A “family decision'' sent him to the sidelines as a sophomore, and that was followed by an injury-plagued junior season. The setbacks caused Amos to have limited exposure to college scouts entering his senior season.

“We saw him play in middle school, and we knew he had potential,'' Manchester coach Tom Hall said. “But what happens is as a sophomore playing three sports, sometimes a kid gets overwhelmed, and his family gets overwhelmed. So the family made the decision for him not to play his sophomore season.

“Then he gets injured his junior year, so he flew under a lot of (college) people's radar. But I was always telling (college) coaches, 'If this kid steps up and plays the way I know he can, he's going to be something special. And he was. His senior year was incredible.''

Griffin said Amos scored 12 touchdowns on the season — five on offense, five on special teams and two on defense.

The performance didn't just happen. Amos spent much of the time between his junior and senior years training hard in preparation for the 2011 season.

“He bought into everything we did in our off season program,'' Griffin said. “He didn't miss a single play his senior year. He was the only kid on our team who played both ways full time.''

Amos developed a knack of making big plays for Manchester when it needed them most. Perhaps the biggest of those came in a 21-13 early season upset of rival L.C. Bird. Bird was riding a streak of 33 straight district victories, but was deadlocked 0-0 with Manchester at halftime.

Bird seized momentum early in the third period with a long touchdown drive.

“It pretty much took our momentum away,'' Griffin said. “But then they kicked off to us. Deshaun returned the kick 80 yards for a touchdown and we took it from there.

“In our biggest games, he had the biggest plays.''

The Pirates are hoping Amos can continue his big plays next fall playing cornerback or safety, both of which he played in high school. ECU loses both its starters at cornerback and one at safety to graduation.

“I think one of the things that is attractive about Deshaun is he's a tall, long kid with great speed who could play cover corner or the free safety spot,'' Griffin said. “He's excited about getting to East Carolina. He's already talking about going up this summer and taking classes, so he can be ready to compete next fall.''

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01/18/2012 02:42:11 AM


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