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Pirates' class reaches 20

East Carolina Practice Football

East Carolina coach Scottie Montgomery watches his players during an NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C., Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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By NATHAN SUMMERS
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

East Carolina had singular success on Wednesday’s traditional National Signing Day, but the Pirates hope their one and only addition will be an important one.

More than a month removed from college football’s first-ever early signing period, during which ECU and third-year head coach Scottie Montgomery nabbed 19 new players, the Pirates added only defensive lineman Dorian Hardy on Wednesday, giving first-year defensive coordinator David Blackwell and new line coach Rod Wright a total of four signees in this class.

Hardy, a 6-foot-4, 246-pound defensive end prototype, was originally a Penn State commit out of New Jersey’s North Brunswick High School who signed his letter of intent with ECU mid-morning. He previously helped St. Joseph Regional High School to a pair of state championship appearances and one title before transferring to Paramus Catholic prior to his senior year at North Brunswick.

“Dorian’s personal interaction with our team and staff certainly reflected a clear ambition to flourish as a teammate and student,” Montgomery said in a statement. The coach was not available to the media.

The Pirates, 3-9 the last two seasons, also had their sights on Florida prep running back Malcolm Davidson out of Kissimmee’s Osceola High, but they were unable to break the player’s initial allegiance to Florida Atlantic. Davidson did not sign first thing in the morning as planned, but ultimately gave his nod to the Owls.

Although the Pirates still have some open slots, they have not yet signed a running back.

In addition to Hardy up front on defense, early signees Trey Love (Greensboro/Southeast Guilford), D’Angelo McKinnie (Kenansville/Southwest Onslow) and Chandler Medeiros (Statesville/South Iredell) could also make immediate impacts on a rebuilding line.

Behind them, linebackers Xavier Smith (Stafford, Va./Brooke Point), Gerard Stringer (Suffolk, Va./Nansemond River) and Jireh Wilson (Jacksonville/Northside) signed early. The most help is coming to the defensive backfield, where seven new players signed in December: Khalil Barrett (Havelock/Havelock), Myles Berry (Greensboro/Dudley), Damel Hickman (Charlotte/Butler), Nolan Johnson (High Point/Southwest Guilford), Jaren Rainey (High Point/Southwest Guilford), Warren Saba (Cleveland/Benedictine) and Michael Witherspoon (Lawrenceville, Ga./Hutchinson Community College).

Although they lack backfield depth on offense at the moment after multiple transfers, the Pirates’ prize in this class was the state’s top quarterback prospect and a Pitt County native in Holton Ahlers (D.H. Conley), who also fielded offers from Georgia and Florida before signing with the Pirates.

Two much-needed offensive linemen came from Raleigh prep strongholds — Donovan Noel  out of Millbrook and Peyton Winstead  from Leesville Road. A pair of wide receivers signed early in Juwan Moody (Conway, S.C./Conway) and Andre Pegues (Raeford/Hoke County), along with tight end Johnny Bogle out of Nease High School in Pontre Vedra Beach, Fla.

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

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ECU

August 14, 2018

Of all the statistics that doomed East Carolina’s football team in 2017, and on defense in particular, a glaring disparity was that ECU scored 31 points off turnovers and opponents finished with 121.

Third-year head coach Scottie Montgomery has stressed for ECU defenders to be more aggressive…

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August 13, 2018

East Carolina connecting on deep passes Saturday during a preseason scrimmage was sometimes directly tied to quarterback scrambles.

There were no quarterback-designed runs as suggested by the coaching staff to protect the passers from injury, but the ECU trio of Reid Herring, Holton Ahlers and…

081218ECUfootball-4.jpg

August 11, 2018

It remains difficult for East Carolina’s offense to run against the ECU defensive front, which led to the team airing it out Saturday during the first scrimmage of the preseason.

Defensive backs and receivers battled for the football often to highlight the 100-plus play scrimmage at Dowdy-…

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August 11, 2018

There is no question that Trevon Brown is East Carolina’s best receiver, and big production will be needed out of him again for the Pirates to reach their goal of making a bowl game, but opportunity also remains behind Brown.

Brown is a senior and bound to see double-teams and plenty of…

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August 10, 2018

ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton has requested an independent audit of the university’s athletic department in hopes of putting to rest continuing concerns raised about the financial health of the Pirates’ sports program.

Staton told The Daily Reflector in a conversation Wednesday he…

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August 10, 2018

It is not only Kendall Futrell’s frame or his bulging upper-body muscles or his speed that has East Carolina football coaches excited about Futrell’s junior season.

There is the factor of new defensive coordinator David Blackwell and his schemes, but also head coach Scottie…

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August 08, 2018

Peyton Winstead and Garrett McGhin are often directly beside each other to the form the right side of the top offensive line during East Carolina football practices.

They can blend together at times with their similar frames and more similar hairstyle of dark curls flowing out of the back of their…

080818ECUfootball-6.jpg

August 08, 2018

The East Carolina athletics office of compliance is leading an internal review into the school’s women’s basketball program.

An ECU spokesman said Wednesday that there is no further comment until the review is complete. It is unclear if potential NCAA violations are involved or not. The…

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August 07, 2018

Check out some highlights below and story from East Carolina football practice with players in shoulder pads and helmets.

STORY LINK: Montgomery on UNC suspensions

 

Things picking up at #ECU practice with intensity and some physicality this morning ... pic.twitter.com/Zi98oV4eMH

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August 07, 2018

East Carolina was on the football practice field Tuesday morning after having an off day Monday, the same day North Carolina suspended 13 players for selling team-issued Nike Jordan shoes.

UNC will be without 10 of those players, including quarterback Chazz Surratt, when it plays at ECU on Sept. 8…

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