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Transfers make arrivals felt

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Gaelin Elmore stretches during practice on August 3, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Everyone knew they were coming, but on Friday they made sure their presence was really felt.

East Carolina football welcomed six graduate transfers this offseason, some arriving early and a couple not making their ECU football futures a certainty until the hours before the team’s first practice on Thursday.

In the team’s second workout, running back Tyshon Dye (Clemson) rocketed into the competition also fronted by junior Derrell Scott. On defense, lineman Gaelin Elmore (Minnesota) has already proven himself to be a problem for offenses in the eyes of second-year head coach Scottie Montgomery, while safety Korrin Wiggins (Clemson) also continued to catch his coach’s eye with his athletic presence.

A team that scarcely got a sack all last season is seemingly brimming with pass-rush options now, and Elmore has added an immediate presence along with sophomore Kendall Futrell on the other side.

“Our defensive front, they’re making it tough on us on offense,” said Montgomery, whose team switched to a four-man front this season. “We’ve probably got 11, 12  guys that could play in the ones if it needed to happen. That’s not something I’m used to.”

In Elmore, Montgomery may have found the true pass-rusher he lacked last season.

“He’s a big factor,” the coach said. “He’s going to play out on the edge for us and he got some one reps today. He’s a problem. He’s so strong, and he’s a different type of rusher than we see in this league. Now our guys are having to deal with maybe a half-bull (rush) and then a spin, or a half-bull and rip, and then all of a sudden speed.

“Having him opposite sometimes of (Futrell), that can be tough on your (offensive) tackles because you’ve got two guys with totally different styles.”

In the team’s new five-man secondary, Wiggins factors in as a natural free safety, and while traditional transfer Tim Irvin can certainly be the strong safety, there might be more than one way to utilize their combined talents.

“If Wiggins is the guy that eventually shows up at free safety, then we have a lot more flexibility with Tim,” Montgomery said. ‘I think Tim’s flexibility could be anywhere from a covering nickel to the hybrid Pirate that we talked about, and then Bobby Fulp is playing at a high level and we like him at the strong safety position.”

In Dye, the Pirates landed a game-tested back from a national champion program, and Montgomery said his combination of delicate footwork and power make him an immediate candidate to start.

“He’s a 220-pound man with 180-pound feet,” Montgomery said of Dye. “He just runs the ball well on the interior.”

The ECU coach said that Dye and Scott each took reps with the first team, as did junior receiver Terrell Green, who failed to dent the lineup last season.

The Pirates are back on the practice field today and Sunday before Monday’s first scheduled day off.

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

 

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