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Pirate roster reflects recruiting

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Holton Ahlers takes a snap during practice Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, February 19, 2018

Scottie Montgomery has signed some of the top prep quarterbacks in North Carolina the last few years in Reid Herring, Kingsley Ifedi and most recently Holton Ahlers.

This is their time to move to the forefront, and it happened Monday during ECU’s first spring practice and will continue to happen during the coming days, weeks, months and potentially years.

Herring and Ifedi are, somewhat by default, the veterans thanks to redshirt years, while Ahlers was a star at nearby D.H. Conley High School just one semester ago. All three got chances with the first-team offense Monday.

“We’ve been lifting each other up as far as the transition (into the starting quarterback battle),” said Ifedi, a redshirt freshman who ran the Pirates’ scout team offense last season. “We’re all relatively young, so we’re all just trying to do this together.”

Herring, a redshirt sophomore, is the only one with college game experience thanks to two appearances in 2017, in which his only pass attempt was a 20-yard touchdown.

He is from Raleigh, Ifedi from Charlotte and Ahlers enrolled at ECU in December to immediately join the QB mix. They each were big gets on the recruiting trail.

Montgomery hinted that as spring practice began, the race is pretty even.

“I think (Ahlers’) shot is realistic and I don’t see him as being behind at all,” the coach said.

Per ECU football’s usual policy with freshmen, Ahlers is not available for interviews.

Transfers defined the quarterback position during the first two seasons of the Montgomery era, which included Gardner Minshew. He was the projected starter for this year, but left the team in late-January.

“With bringing so many guys in and all the graduate transfers and those things, we felt like we needed all these players to be added,” Montgomery said of this roster compared to previous seasons. “Now we are starting to look at guys that we know at positions, and we’re not trying to replace them or add depth to them, but just tweak a few things. So it does feel good to have more than 50 percent of the people in the room that we’ve been able to sit in their houses and speak to their parents and know what their value systems are.”

Herring could be a classified as the more traditional passer, while Ifedi and Ahlers bring unique run ability. Ifedi is the quickest of the trio, and the left-handed Ahlers is listed at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds.

There was some chatter after last season that Ifedi (6-3, 214) could switch to a different position like tight end or receiver, but Minshew’s exit opened things up for the other Pirate quarterbacks and Ifedi said Monday that he is “100 percent a quarterback.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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