In program history, East Carolina football has sent more than 90 players to the National Football League. Out of those 90 players, 16 have been a part of 15 different Super Bowls; and out of those 16, 11 have won a ring. Super Bowl XLVII will mark the third year in a row that a former East Carolina football player will play on the biggest stage football has to offer.
C.J. Wilson won a Super Bowl ring in the 2010-2011 season with the Green Bay Packers. Wilson; picked in the seventh round that same season, wears number 98 and played defensive end in all 16 games; recording 26 total tackles. Since that Super Bowl win, the Packers have lost in the Divisional round of the playoffs the last two seasons, losing this year to the now NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. C.J. played in 11 games this past season and in two playoff games he tallied nine total tackles. Wilson continues to improve every season since being drafted and should continue to make the Pirate Nation proud next season.
Linval Joseph was selected in the second round (46th overall) of the 2010 NFL draft by the New York football Giants. Standing 6 foot 4 and weighing in at 323 lbs, Joseph has been able to make an immediate impact at the defensive tackle position on a potent New York Giants defensive line. In his rookie season Joseph played in six games in which he earned eight total tackles. In the 2011-2012 season Linval proved his worth by playing in all 16 games; recording 49 tackles, two sacks and four deflected passes. The Giants got hot when it mattered last season and put together an impressive playoff run capped off with the second Super Bowl ring for a Pirate in two years. In 2012-2013 the Giants missed the playoffs, becoming the fourteenth Super Bowl champion to miss the playoffs the following season. However; Joseph had his best season statistically finishing with 59 total tackles and four sacks.
Leach’s chance to join the party
Vonta Leach is a battle-hardened veteran at fullback who also played linebacker in his time at East Carolina. Leach signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent back in 2004; two seasons later he signed with Houston and helped to define a franchise clearing the way for a total of 8,636 and 74 TDs in five seasons for the Texans. Vonta signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 where he helped Ray Rice lead the league in yards from scrimmage with 2,068. Leach has made the Pro Bowl for the last three seasons and has appeared to be the golden standard for fullbacks in the NFL. In 2012-2013 Leach has proven that at age 31 he is still the most feared fullback in the league. The Baltimore Ravens had ups and downs this season but have turned it on in the playoffs having already defeated two of the game’s greatest quarterbacks in Manning and Brady. Baltimore will play the San Francisco 49ers tonight Feb. 3 in Super Bowl XLVII and Vonta Leach has a chance to become the third Pirate in three years to win a Super Bowl ring.