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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.


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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Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

December 15, 2018

Greene Central’s boys basketball team held off rival Kinston in overtime to bring home a big 64-58 win on Friday night in high school basketball. 

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December 14, 2018

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The Jaguars started fast and never looked back in an 87-44 win over North Lenoir Wednesday. One day after needing a late run to defeat Ayden-Grifton 91-78, Farmville Central (5-0) led for all but the first 1:20 of the contest.


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December 06, 2018

South Central boys basketball took down Greene Central once again Wednesday night, earning an 80-41 victory. 

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