It’s safe to say the 2014 signing class is hands down the most impressive in head coach Ruffin McNeill’s five-year tenure. The fax machine got quite a workout with 23 letters of intent keeping it busy throughout the morning.
Not only did the Pirates coaching staff address its concern at the offensive lineman position, ECU also added depth at outside receiver and a bevy of speed at both linebacker and in the secondary.
The targets that the coaching staff was sweating about came through and it didn’t take long. Before 8 a.m. rolled around, the top running back target in the class had committed.
Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) running back Anthony Scott signed his letter of intent alongside teammate defensive end Shuan James in the school gym early Wednesday morning.
Scott is a tremendous pickup. He runs a sub-4.3 40-yard dash, which is one of the fastest since former ECU running back Chris Johnson. Scott’s had the hats of his top three schools ECU, ODU and Virginia Tech on the table, but in the end the Pirate cap is what he wore.
ECU lost three offensive linemen from its 2013 unit to graduation and it used its junior college connection to address the issue.
The Pirates signed juniors Dontae Levingston from Santa Monica (Calif.) College and Quincy McKinney from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Both were huge pickups, McKinney went to N.C. State for one year until ending up on the JUCO route. He flipped his Louisville commitment to ECU today. Levingston on the other hand was considering Texas Tech, Kansas and Kansas State. He attended Southern Methodist out of high school.
The two are the only JUCO players in the class and could make an immediate impact for the Pirates if necessary. Both linemen have good size, McKinney is 6-foot-4 and weighs 300 pounds, Levingston is 6-foot-5 weighing 280 pounds.
“McKinney and Levingston are great football players,” said ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill. “They will fill the need for us since we lost both guards to graduation. Quincy will compete for the guard spot and Dontae is a guy we expect to come in and compete at the tackle position. They give us great depth.”
ECU added a total of seven offensive linemen in the class tieing wide receiver for the most at any position.
Depth at wide receiver is something the coaching staff focused on and halfway through the day the Pirates landed an impressive recruit.
After being off the radar until this week, Hanahan (Charleston, S.C.) wide receiver Terrell Green signed with the Pirates. Green originally committed to Charleston Southern in Jan. until decommitting two days ago and signing with ECU today.
Green could turn out to be one of the standouts in this class simply based off of his size – he’s the biggest wide receiver standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 190 pounds.
“We had to get Terrell Green,” said McNeill. “His length is tremendous, he’s a tall receiver. Everything happens for a reason and we had a chance get him. When you see him on film he will speak for himself. He fits what we want athletically and as a person.”
The 23 student-athletes who officially signed with ECU today will join four early enrollees on the roster this summer to prepare for ECU’s inaugural season of competition in the American Athletic Conference.
Here’s how the class breaks down.
On offense ECU signed seven linemen, seven receivers, a tight end and running back. On defense, six linebackers, four secondary performers and two linemen. By region the class breaks down to North Carolina (seven), South Carolina (six), Florida (five), Virginia (four), Georgia (three) and Maryland (one).
“I can’t wait to get everyone here as a collective group and get back to work,” McNeill said. “I feel confident we answered our immediate needs in several areas. Maybe the biggest testament we have that speaks for the progress of our program is the opportunity we now have to develop younger players – in life, in the classroom, with (Strength) Coach Jeff Connors and on the field. You build quality programs with quality individuals, and this group reflects that very clearly.”