By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.
Dre Scarborough did things
in one quarter as a sophomore at East Duplin High School that most
players don't achieve in an entire career.
Playing defensive end for
the Panthers in an early season game against Southeast Halifax,
Scarborough equaled a national record by returning two fumbles for
touchdowns in the first quarter. He didn't stop there, however,
recovering a blocked punt for a third score in the same period to spark
a 68-0 rout.
The performance netted
Scarborough attention outside the confines of his home in the tiny
Southeastern North Carolina town of Beulaville — population 1,067 — and
ultimately helped land a scholarship offer from East Carolina. The
6-foot, 224-pounder (his measurements at the Shrine Bowl combine in
Williamston, NC, on May 5) accepted the offer April 27 to become the
second member of the Pirates' recruiting Class of 2012.
“When I went down (to ECU)
for Junior Day, I felt like I could fit in and play there and be part of
the family,’’ Scarborough said at the Williamston combine. “And I really
like Coach Ruffin (McNeill).
“It’s a real good feeling
to be going to a good college to play football, and to go to college
The Pirates are getting an
athlete who will enter his fourth straight season as a starter at one of
the state’s top Class 2-A programs.
Scarborough, 17, was named
the Jacksonville Daily News Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 when he
made 108 tackles, eight sacks and returned two fumbles for touchdowns.
East Duplin coach Battle
Holley received an up close and personal look at Scarborough from the
opposite sideline during the 2009 state 2-AA playoffs. Holley was head
coach at Kinston, which edged Scarborough and the Panthers, 17-14, in
the second round.
“He stood out when we
played against him at Kinston,’’ Holley said. “We tried to run away from
Holley left Kinston last
June to become offensive coordinator at East Duplin. He was named head
coach in January. A Scarborough-led defense that limited foes to a mere
seven points a game helped the Panthers produce a 12-2 finish that
included the East Central 2-A Conference championship in 2010.
Scarborough played with
his hand on the ground as a defensive end in East Duplin’s 4-3
“We used him mostly at end
and put him at nose guard some,’’ Holley said. “This year we’ll work him
at more places, like linebacker.
“He always has his nose
around the football. Anytime the football is loose, he is around it. He
just has great instincts and a high motor on defense.’’
Scarborough combines that
instinct with some impressive athleticism. During the Williamston
combine, he displayed his strength (26 repetitions of 185 pounds on
bench press), speed (4.74 in 40-yard dash) and agility (4.48 seconds in
Those attributes earned
Scarborough the scholarship offer from ECU and serious interest from
schools like Georgia Tech, Maryland, N.C. State and North Carolina,
according to Holley.
Some of those schools and
others are still pursuing Scarborough. Holley expects other offers to
come Scarborough’s way after the summer camp circuit.
“People are still
recruiting me, and I’m keeping that in the back of my mind,’’
Scarborough said. “But right now I’m a Pirate.’’
Holley isn’t sure how
soon, but he believes some day Scarborough will be a force in the middle
of ECU’s defense.
“It comes down a lot of
times to x’s and o’s and jimmy and joes,’’ Holley said. “They (ECU) have
a lot of great players, and last year had a lot of young players. So how
fast he gets on the field for them is hard to determine.
“But I think he’s a good
fit for them, no matter where they put him.’’