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Johnson commits to ECU over UNC

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ECU 2019 commit C.J. Johnson soaks in the feeling of officially being a Pirate.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, May 17, 2018

East Carolina foot­ball landed a big com­mit­ment on Thurs­day af­ter­noon in D.H. Con­ley ju­nior wide re­ceiver C.J. John­son.

Wake For­est, N.C. State and Duke also showed in­ter­est in the 6-foot-2, 200-pound re­ceiver. John­son had nar­rowed his se­lec­tion to ECU, Vir­ginia Tech and North Carolina prior to his an­nounce­ment, but it was home­town ECU that landed an­other of the many tal­ented prospects in east­ern North Carolina over UNC.

“Ever since I was lit­tle, I grew up go­ing to ECU games. I knew ever since I was lit­tle that I wanted to be a Pi­rate,” John­son said.

The Pi­rates run through John­son’s blood. He ex­plained he had never been to an­other col­lege foot­ball game prior to his re­cruit­ing process, and that while schools tried their hard­est to lure him out of Greenville, he al­ways felt it was best for him to play for the team he grew up watch­ing.

“My fa­vorite play­ers were Dwayne Har­ris and Justin Hardy grow­ing up,” John­son said.

John­son will be look­ing to fol­low in the foot­steps of leg­endary ECU re­ceivers such as Har­ris, Hardy and Zay Jones, a tall task, but one he is ready to face.

John­son will re­unite with for­mer Con­ley and cur­rent ECU fresh­man quar­ter­back Holton Ah­lers. With Ah­lers quar­ter­back­ing the Vik­ings in 2017, John­son recorded 68 catches for 1,547 yards and 31 touch­downs.

John­son joked that Ah­lers had pitched join­ing the East Carolina ros­ter sev­eral times through­out his re­cruit­ing process, but ul­ti­mately he made the de­ci­sion on his own. He will, how­ever, rely on Ah­lers and his ex­pe­ri­ence with the team and cam­pus to make his tran­si­tion to the next level as smooth as pos­si­ble fol­low­ing his se­nior sea­son.

Former Con­ley stand­out Duce Fuller also is a fresh­man re­ceiver for the Pi­rates and worked well with Ahlers during ECU’s spring practice this year.

“I wanted to be a Pi­rate, so hav­ing my for­mer quar­ter­back there is just an­other fea­ture,” John­son said.

John­son is look­ing for­ward to his time at ECU once it ar­rives, as he hopes to help turn around a team that went 3-9 in each of the last two sea­son. John­son ex­plained he is ea­ger to get to work and make the Pi­rates a con­tender again.

Be­fore he steps foot on cam­pus, John­son will work through one last sea­son with Con­ley. With his com­mit­ment so­lid­i­fied, John­son said he will get back to pre­par­ing for the sea­son as he al­ways has and not chang­ing his ap­proach in any way.

“We’re go­ing to the state cham­pi­onship,” he said.

With John­son’s com­mit­ment, the Pi­rates landed one of sev­eral tal­ented prospects in the area. The team also is court­ing Far­mville Cen­tral 6-2, 330-pound de­fen­sive line­man Keziah Everett and South Cen­tral wide re­ceiver/​de­fen­sive end Jeremy Lewis as the Pi­rates look to keep more home­town tal­ent in east­ern North Carolina.

John­son be­came the Pi­rates’ sixth ver­bal com­mit­ment of the 2019 class.

Con­tact Jake Keator at jkeator@re­flec­tor.com, 252-329-9594 and fol­low @JakeKeatorDR on Twit­ter.

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High Schools

October 20, 2018

South Central continued its undefeated football season with a decisive victory over New Bern on Friday night, 52-8.

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October 20, 2018

Four Pitt County high school volleyball programs are ready to make some noise in postseason play. J.H. Rose, D.H. Conley, South Central and Ayden-Grifton all are eyeing a state title this year after terrific regular seasons.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association plans to reveal the…

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October 19, 2018

D.H. Conley bested rival J.H. Rose on the gridiron for the second straight year Friday night, 48-21, increasing their win streak to six straight in the process.

“This is an awesome feeling,” Conley head coach Nate Conner said. “The most important thing is that it puts us in a…

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October 19, 2018

It’s time for another installment of one of the best rivalries in the state as D.H. Conley (5-2, 3-0) travels just under seven miles down the road to face J.H. Rose (5-2, 2-1) tonight in high school football action.

With two high-scoring offenses coming together it will be a shootout, and…

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October 18, 2018

The Ayden-Grifton Chargers volleyball team celebrated senior night by defeating South Lenoir Wednesday to improve to 19-1 on the season.

The Chargers (11-0 in league play) won in straight sets, 25-13, 25-8 and 25-19.

The match marked the final time seniors Jordan Cannon, Zion Hardy and Kristen…

October 18, 2018

Zion Hardy, known by her teammates as “The Beast,” is one of three seniors on a Chargers volleyball roster that has only 10 players. Hardy spoke with preps Beat Writer Jake Keator after a 3-0 win on senior night about the Chargers season and winning back-to-back conference titles.

Q:…

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October 16, 2018

J.H. Rose put on a performance reminiscent of the beginning of its season with a 55-0 rout of Southern Wayne last Wednesday night. 

The game seemed to be a walk in the park for head coach Dave Wojtecki and Rose (5-2, 2-1), who held a comfortable 42-0 lead at halftime.

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October 13, 2018

After winning yet another local volleyball showdown against fellow powerhouse South Central on Friday night, D.H. Conley coach Jennifer Gillikin perhaps best summed up her team’s season thus far when asked what she does to help her team avoid a letdown.

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October 13, 2018

North Johnston kicker Graham Walston spoiled homecoming for the Farmville Central Jaguars on Friday night, kicking a 20-yard field goal as time expired to cap off a furious second half comeback. The Panthers walked away with a 31-29 victory. 

Tied at 29 late in the fourth quarter, FC (2-6, 1-…

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October 12, 2018

The weather once again played a factor in the scheduling of high school football games in Pitt County this week. In preparation for the arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Michael, J.H. Rose and D.H. Conley both played road games on Wednesday and both teams walked away with wins.

The trip by Ayden-…

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