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Scott aiming for big impact

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Running back Derrell Scott.

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Anyone who wants it bad enough can be the man in the East Carolina rush offense this season, and Derrell Scott wants it bad enough for it to be him.

Last year, the Pirates ended up being led on the run by James Summers, a former starting quarterback who had originally come to ECU to play wide receiver. As good as he was at times — he rushed for a team-high 869 yards and seven touchdowns — his mere presence in the Pirate backfield spoke volumes about the team’s identity crisis at the running back position.

All season long, fans waited see if the 5-foot-11, 207-pound Scott would get his shot, but it never came. At least not yet.

“For me, it would mean everything,” said Scott, who remained unused last year behind Summers, rising seniors Anthony Scott (384 yds, two TDs) and Devin Anderson (274-2) and sophomore Hussein Howe, all of whom are back in the mix and any of whom could emerge as the team’s lead rusher this season. “It’s an honor to be a starting running back at any college — Division I, II, III, anywhere — and to do it at East Carolina, where so many great running backs have played, it would definitely be an honor.”

One of the biggest things Scott said his coaches are looking for this spring is the ability to make something out of even a broken play, something he has had a knack for since being a star at Havelock.

Although the transfer process has made him into something of a journeyman, Scott seems certain he can enjoy a complete career at ECU. After starring as a senior for the Rams back in 2013, Scott has seen live game action twice, and that in ‘14 as a true freshman at Tennessee. He sat out the 2015 season in accordance with NCAA rules following his transfer to ECU.

He came to Greenville with things to work on and everything left to prove.

“My pad level and my pass protection, that’s something that I really needed to try to put a lot of effort and work into this spring ball,” Scott said of his goal to make it onto field this season and make his impact. “I’m more of a complete player all around. Coming out of high school, I wasn’t as well-rounded of a player as I am now. I’ve gotten better at my pass protection and a little bit better at running between the tackles, my pad level and catching.”

Second-year head coach Scottie Montgomery said the run game has been directly affected this spring by improved offensive line play, but also said other tweaks will aim to be springboards for big plays out of the backfield.

“We’ve added more than a few things to get it exactly the way we want it,” Montgomery said, noting the shift of Garrett McGhin from guard to center this offseason is giving the front line more flexibility. “I don’t just mean scheme, I mean pieces to the puzzle. It’s more about the system now, but we like where it’s at.”

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.

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