2014 commits make Shrine Bowl

ECU had three separate 2014 commits selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Inside ECU Sports caught up with the commits about it.

Two in-state and one out-of-state 2014 ECU commits have been selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, an annual game featuring the top high school players from North and South Carolina.

The game is played to benefit the Greenville (South Carolina) Unit Shriners Hospital for Children and the 21 other Shriners Hospitals for Children across the nation.

Representing the defensive commits for ECU in the game is New Bern safety Cody Purdie who has had an impressive senior season so far. Purdie is humbled and excited for the experience.

"Being selected to the Shrine Bowl means a lot to me," the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Purdie said. "Not only being selected for my performance at the combine, but for the experience of going and helping individuals of the Shriners Hospital. It's awesome to have the opportunity to see those who are in need and then go out and give your all playing for them."

Middle Creek (Apex, N.C.) wide receiver Curtis Burston represents the lone skill-position commit named to the game for ECU. Burston mentioned he is excited to have one last chance to showcase his talents.

As for right now, Burston has seen an injury slow his senior campaign down a bit.

"I broke my foot earlier in the season," the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Burston said. "I haven't been playing, but I'm expected to play in the next week or two. Right now I'm just trying to get better and learn something new every day."

While Burston is rehabbing to get back on the field, Purdie continues to be an important asset to his team. He even carries the load at running back for New Bern.

"My season gets better every game," Purdie said. "Not only for how I performed, but how the team improves during that week and making sure we come out on top when the clock strikes zero. As far as stats go I really feel like I've been approving, I'm just (a couple of) yards away from getting to 1,000 yards rushing, which is a goal set by all the backs at the opening of the season. Most of all I'm giving up everything I have to help my team get a victory each week. I'm always looking forward to a big night by the team, making sure I read or make blocks, and have a positive and determined mindset."

Both commits have taken notice to ECU's 5-2 start to the season and are impressed with the Pirates thus far.

"ECU has been playing great," Curtis Burston said. "I enjoy the way they play as a team and even through the tough loss against Tulane two weeks ago they stayed together. I was excited to watch (ECU) bounce back against Southern Mississippi this Saturday."

Burston nearly attended the matchup with the Golden Eagles, but couldn't make it out due to a rehab appointment for his injured foot.

"Every week I look forward to seeing ECU play," Cody Purdie said. "Coach Ruffin McNeill always told me this program is on the rise and every weekend I watch my future school play. It's a lot of excitement because I see the determination in everybody's eyes and the hunger in everybody's bodies. The team goes out and plays PIRATE ball (aka smash-mouth football) and it is showing. Watching the defense, I see everyone communicating and making sure everyone is on one accord. It doesn't surprise me that we're No.4 in rush defense (nationally) because we have a great coaching group and a working crowd of football players. I'm very grateful and thankful each and every moment I think about my future as a Pirate. I know coach (McNeill) is a man of his word and this team is making what was said couldn't happen, happen. I would take ECU over anybody any day because there's no place like home."

The only 2014 ECU commit from South Carolina to be selected was Orangeburg-Wilkinson offensive lineman Messiah Rice. Rice has tremendous size at 6-foot-7, 260 pounds and should turn some heads on thee field.

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