Most of the players on the East Carolina football roster are in Greenville and either already participating in voluntary workouts or going through the COVID-19 protocol to join workouts.
An addition of 19 players Tuesday to the official roster, which was updated again Wednesday with a full slate of recruits, included former Alabama cornerback Nigel Knott. He was listed as a 5-foot-11, 184-pound junior.
Other official ECU additions included graduate transfer Chris Willis (defensive line, Appalachian State, 6-2, 260), sophomore Avery Jones (offensive line, North Carolina, 6-4, 305), graduate Justin Chase (offensive line, N.C. State, 6-5, 315) and sophomore Shawn Dourseau (defensive back, Riverside (Calif.) City College, 5-11, 190).
ECU is headed toward mandatory workouts that could begin as early as July 6, per the NCAA’s adjusted practice model, for teams that open their seasons Aug. 29. East Carolina is scheduled to host Marshall on Aug. 29, one week prior to college football’s traditional opening Labor Day weekend.
The Pirates on June 9 released their plan for student-athletes to return to campus, beginning with football voluntary activities that can’t include coaches yet but can include strength and conditioning staff and athletic trainers, and their plan for COVID-19 testing procedures. If an athlete tests positive, they must self-isolate for at least 14 days while receiving daily check-ups from ECU athletics medical staff.
ECU announced one positive COVID-19 test among a total of 133 student-athletes and 59 staff.
Oklahoma transfer Ryan Jones and former Arkansas running back Chase Hayden — both players who could push for major playing time this year on the Pirate offense — are verbal commits to ECU who have not yet been officially added to the roster. Players are added after fully clearing the compliance process.
ECU's entire recruiting class was added Wednesday, including freshman quarterbacks Mason Garcia (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) and Ryan Stubblefield (Richmond, Texas), and junior defensive back Robert Kennedy (Lackawanna (Penn.) College). The class ranked No. 5 in the American Athletic Conference by 247Sports.
Knott played in 12 career games at Alabama as a reserve cornerback and on special teams, making one tackle as a sophomore in 2018 before his career was sidetracked by injuries. He was rated as the No. 51 player nationally by 247Sports for the 2016 recruiting class.
The Pirates’ main starters at CB last year were then-senior Colby Gore and then-freshman Ja’Quan McMillian, who tied for the team lead with three interceptions and led ECU with nine pass breakups.
A story posted on collegemarching.com on Tuesday reported that the American Athletic Conference passed new guidelines for this year’s football season that include: No visiting team bands or spirit squads, and no on-field performance for the home team’s band. The story also said restrictions for bands and spirit squads are to be re-evaluated as stadium restrictions are lifted.
In an attempt for confirmation later Tuesday night, AAC assistant commissioner for communications Chuck Sullivan replied to an email that the league was not prepared to comment.
“We plan to announce a set of protocols for the 2020 season at a later date, but don’t have anything to share externally just yet,” Sullivan said.