During last Saturday's scrimmage, ECU's offense struggled mightily, but one of the unit's lone silver linings was true freshman Davon Grayson. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver from Suffolk, Va., scored the scrimmage's only touchdown and subsequently, left a strong impression on the coaching staff and his teammates.
"Right now, Davon is playing the best. As a freshman, he came in and he's playing great, and he's making us work harder and we're all feeding off of him," said redshirt junior Cam Worthy, who is one of Grayson's competitors at outside receiver.
Worthy, a bulky 6-foor-2, 217-pounder, has yet to touch the field in an ECU uniform, but is notorious for his performance in a different department: the weight room. Aside from his large, chiseled frame, Worthy recorded a 43-inch vertical leap earlier this year, which is the third highest ever by a Pirate football player.
"He's one of the strength coaches' favorites, there's no doubt. He's strong, can jump, can run," said offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. "If he can clean up some of the other parts of his game, he's going to be a tough matchup for people."
Originally from Blair, S.C., Worthy went to Yuba Community College for a season, before transferring to ECU last year and being redshirted. Now his challenge is to translate his performance in the weight room onto the field.
"I'm pretty impressive in the weight room, but I want to bring the weight room to the field. The game is football, not weight lifting," said Worthy.
The Pirates' most experienced receiver, Wiggins, entered fall camp as the front runner at outside receiver, but after about two weeks of camp, his job is all but secure. With the budding talent that surround him, Wiggins must earn his way onto the field as he tries to put his dismal 2012 campaign behind him.
"Worthy, Davon Grayson and Wiggins are really battling it out pretty good at ‘X' (outside receiver)," said Riley. "It's probably too close to call right now."
Not to be forgotten, true freshman Isaiah Jones, the son of former ECU-great and Super Bowl champion Robert Jones, has played his way into the conversation at outside-receiver as well. But in addition to trying to get on the field, he has to compete to avoid a redshirt.
In the backfield, fellow freshman Marquez Grayson finds himself in a similar situation. Now that 1,000-yard rusher Vintavious Cooper is back and JUCO's leading rusher Breon Allen has been added to the equation, the competition is palpable and Marquez Grayson has embraced it.
"They teach me a lot and I can learn a lot from those guys with them already being here and doing the things I want to accomplish," said Marquez Grayson.
In order to come to ECU, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound back reportedly turned down offers from Clemson, Duke, N.C. State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech. His reasoning goes back to the family atmosphere instilled by head coach Ruffin McNeill.
"It's a great environment," he said when asked about what led to his decision, "Coach Ruff is doing a great job here and I really want to be a part of it."
During his senior year at Lexington High School, Marquez Grayson rushed for 887 yards and eight touchdowns. He only played eight games due to an injury.