Friday, February 3, 2017

East Carolina Football Announces 2017 Signees

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Addressing personnel shortages at the offensive line and defensive line positions, as well as enhancing athleticism of his skill performers, were all priorities for second-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery as the Pirates announced a balanced 22-member 2017 signing class Wednesday.

Included in ECU’s total number were five mid-year junior college transfers who were announced in December and six freshmen who are currently enrolled in classes at East Carolina and will participate in spring drills next month. True rookies DL Taijh Alston, WR Jayden Borders, WR Leroy Henley, QB Kingsley Ifedi, OL Matt Morgan and LB Ben Norris all joined junior college signees LB Cannon Gibbs, DB Marcus Holton Jr., OL Dqmarcus Shaw and TE Eric Weber in the Pirates’ program early.

Of the 22, 11 are projected to play on the offensive side of the ball, while the remaining 11 will line up on defense. Offensively, the Pirates signed four wide receivers, three linemen, two running backs, a tight end and a quarterback. On defense, ECU is looking forward to bulking up its front seven by adding five linemen and three linebackers, along with three secondary performers. Among the six overall junior college transfers, three are expected to impact the trenches on both lines of scrimmage.

Montgomery’s strong relationships with in-state high school coaches enabled the Pirates to maintain a notable regional flavor with their latest list of roster additions. Nearly half (10) of the 22 overall newcomers hail from prep programs in North Carolina, while Florida (four), South Carolina (three), Mississippi (two), Georgia (1), Ohio (1) and Texas (1) were also represented.

“I’m thrilled about having the opportunity to work with these young men,” Montgomery said. “I think they have a chance to be a special group on and off the field with the character that exemplifies our recruiting philosophy and enhances the academics, community outreach, speed, toughness and overall athleticism of our program.

“I believe we answered our immediate needs on the line of scrimmage and delivered plenty of quality talent in our skill areas,” Montgomery added. “I like our numbers by having 10 currently with us for off-season development and spring ball, and being able to sign a balanced blend on both sides of the ball.”

East Carolina posted a 3-9 overall mark and stood tied for fourth in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division during Montgomery’s initial campaign as head coach.

The Pirates are expected to return six starters on offense and seven on defense when spring drills open March 20. ECU will host Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national champion James Madison on Sept. 2 to kick off the 2017 season.