This year’s recruiting class is one filled with size and speed. The Pirates added talented players on both sides of the ball. Out of the 24 players who signed today, 14 of them are projected to play defense while 10 will play offense.
Defensively, the Pirates signed five secondary performers, four linebackers and five linemen. On the offensive side of the ball the Pirates signed three wide receivers, a quarterback, four linemen, a running back and a tight end. “This class fits what we were looking for and what we needed,” Coach Ruffin McNeill said. “These men never wavered on us, and we never wavered on them.”
Coach McNeill went on to say that one of the key things that went into this class was to keep developing depth. The Pirates were able to build more depth on their defensive front last season and continued that trend this year by adding five defensive linemen; the most players added at any defensive position in this class.
McNeill and his coaching staff added more Junior College players to their team with this year. Some notable JUCO players who contributed last season were running backs Reggie Bullock and Vintavious Cooper. For 2013 the Pirates signed another JUCO running back in Terrell Lane along with offensive linemen Marquis Wallace. Both players are expected to compete for a position immediately, which is understandable being that they were only upperclassmen signed; the lowest number since 2010.
“We’re not afraid to go the Junior College route,” McNeill said. “Those two guys fit specific needs we have as a team and they should provide immediate help for us.”
When looking at the class, more than half of the players come from outside of North Carolina. The Pirates signed four players from Virginia, three from Georgia, one from Delaware, one from Florida, two from South Carolina, one from Kansad and even one from Texas; showing this coaching staff’s ability to find talent in multiple places.
Perhaps the biggest question of the day most fans had was about Lucas Thompson. In his press conference, Coach McNeill was able to confirm that 2012 signee Lucas Thompson will join the Pirate roster come summertime after not reporting to fall camp and sitting out the 2012 season.
“We aim to have him here by first session of summer school,” McNeil said. “I talked to him today and he’s excited about it.”
By the numbers this is the most notable pickup for ECU in this class as Thompson is an Under Armour All-America performer at defensive back from Winter Garden, Fla. ESPN ranked him as the #7 safety in the nation last season; Thompson appears to be the real deal and could add some playmaking firepower to the Pirate defense.
When looking at a recruiting class it’s tough to predict how these kids will translate at the next level. The college game is a different speed and level of intensity which usually weeds out those who can’t handle it. From what I’ve gained the Pirates have a solid class for 2013; Coach McNeill has brought a lot of size and talent to this roster which in time should pay off. The addition of more defensive players than offensive players was a no brainer as the Pirates averaged giving up more points than they scored per game last season. Only time will tell whether these signees pay off in the end but I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, 2013 has to be one of the most highly anticipated seasons in recent memory for this program.
6-4, 245 lb DL from New Castle, Del.
6-4, 260 lb DL from Havelock, N.C.
6-5, 250 lb DL from Clayton, N.C.
6-3, 205 lb QB from Cape Coral, Fla.
6-0, 175 lb DB from Atlanta, Ga.
6-3, 190 lb WR from Wilmington, N.C.
6-1, 210 lb LB from Lake City, S.C.
5-11, 175 lb DB from Havelock, N.C.
6-3, 250 lb LB from Charlotte, N.C.
6-4, 225 lb TE from Atlanta, Ga.
6-2, 175 lb WR from Suffolk, Va.
6-2, 200 lb LB from Winston-Salem, N.C.
6-1, 170 lb WR from Austin, Texas
5-11, 225 lb RB from Norton, Kan.
6-3, 315 lb OL from New Bern, N.C.
6-1, 300 lb DL from Va. Beach, Va.
6-1, 225 lb LB from Statesville, N.C.
6-0, 285 lb from Goose Creek, S.C.
5-11, 175 lb DB from Montpelier, Va.
5-10, 170 lb DB from Powder Springs, Ga.
6-8, 330 lb OL from Kernersville, N.C.
6-2, 190 lb DB from Raleigh, N.C.
6-4, 290 lb OL from Wilmington, N.C.