Handful of Pirates jump ship
By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Four East Carolina football players officially jumped ship on Tuesday, opting to transfer from the team while one other former starter also appeared to be finalizing his departure from the Pirates.
On the heels of a second straight 3-9 season under head coach Scottie Montgomery and a promising early signing period, the team lost two rising seniors in running back Devin Anderson and wide receiver Malik Gray, while also parting ways with sophomore offensive lineman Austin Lee and promising redshirt freshman defensive lineman Taijh Alston.
Also believed to be moving on from ECU is senior tailback, Havelock native and former Tennessee transfer Derrell Scott, though the player remained on the official Pirate roster Tuesday.
Scott went unused in Montgomery’s first season in 2016. Then, after getting starts in three of the first five games last year he saw his role steadily deplete along with players like Anderson in lieu of more playing time for the younger pairing of freshman Darius Pinnix and sophomore Hussein Howe.
In all, Scott rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in nine game appearances as a junior.
Anderson, who was a 2014 walk-on with former head coach Ruffin McNeill, seemed to be the prototype back for Montgomery with his powerful 5-foot-9, 210-pound frame, but he also played a limited role for a team that finished near the bottom of the nation in rushing in 2017, accruing 83 yards in four games.
Gray signed with McNeill in ’14 out of Inman, S.C., but never found much playing time in the team’s record-breaking receiving corps. He saw his role increase only slightly last season, when he made two receptions in seven appearances.
Lee, a 2016 walk-on from Mooresville, was actually the Pirates’ opening-day starter at right guard and stayed there for the first three games, but he temporarily left the team amid discipline problems, returned to start against Central Florida and did not play again after that.
Alston, a product of Union Pines High School in Vass, was part of Montgomery’s 2017 signing class and seemingly a part of the team’s future. He was an early enrollee last year and played in the spring game before redshirting.
Those players join a pair of rising senior offensive linemen — Erik Lenzen and former starter Des Barmore — who have already graduated and previously opted not to return for their final years of eligibility.
Contact Nathan Summers at email@example.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.