Safety set for immediate impact
By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Very often, college football spring practice fails to produce much drama in terms of positions being won for the coming season. But players like Tim Irvin don’t show up every spring either.
The Auburn transfer has been the subject of repeated praise from second-year head East Carolina coach Scottie Montgomery since the team took the field in late March for its annual 15-session spring practice. Irvin has also drawn praise from defensive teammates and very likely instilled some fear in the wide receivers in his path.
Soon, it will be East Carolina’s opponents who will have to try to avoid the oncoming 5-9, 192-pound Miami native.
“My physicality level is unbelievable, and I just come out here every day and try to perfect my technique,” said Irvin, a rising sophomore who figures to be a lead candidate to start at one of the safety positions in the team’s new 4-2-5 scheme. “I just transfer it to the field.”
While there is never a bad time for a player of Irvin’s gifts to join a team, the Pirates particularly need him now. They finished 3-9 last season and struggled to find a consistent starting corps in the secondary all year.
A pair of seniors in DaShawn Benton and DaShaun Amos made four starts each at strong safety, with rising senior Bobby Fulp and former walk-on sophomore Devon Sutton also making two apiece.
Irvin said he has always possessed natural ability as a defender.
“My earliest memory is middle school football, I’d have to say,” Irvin said of his earliest memory of delivering a big hit. “I just always had a knack for being physical when I was younger and bringing an impact. I’ve always been a hitter.”
Also new and seemingly ready to challenge for starting time is Georgia Military transfer defensive back Marcus Holton Jr.
Now for Howe?
After getting a small taste of the action as a true freshman last season, tailback Hussein Howe is hoping his sophomore season will bring with it a bigger role in the Pirates’ run game, another sore spot last season.
“I’ve come a long way since last year,” said the sophomore from Jacksonville, Fla., who made appearances in all 12 games but played a minor role in the rush, logging three carries in the fourth quarter of the season opener against Western Carolina. “As a freshman, I was getting used to everything and it was kind of fast for me. I’ve developed and I’m getting better each and every day.”
That is more than just a routine answer. Howe exploded for a 52-yard touchdown run in last week’s second scrimmage of spring.
Contact Nathan Summers at email@example.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.