BYH As a skateboarder,I would rather be judged by 12. Then carried by 6. Some roads are deadly to cyclists and...

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)


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.