ECU's 2014 recruiting class has lost two commits and gained three in the past three days. The most recent to verbally pledge to the Pirates was defensive end Tony Baird from Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Va.
Baird is a teammate of 2014 commit outside linebacker Masaddiq Walton who pledged to the Pirates in fall 2013. Both fell in love with ECU on their visits – Baird had his official Jan. 31.
"I went up on an official this weekend and met the team and staff," said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Baird. "I loved the family atmosphere; it's something I'm used to at my high school. It was also the kind of football I always dreamt of and the education is top of the line."
Virginia Beach is an area that the Pirate coaching staff has attacked hard and the results are showing up. The Pirates now have four commits from the area, all of which play defensive end or linebacker. The next top target from there has to be Green Run running back Anthony Scott.
Inside linebackers coach John Wiley was in charge of Baird's recruitment. After speaking with him for quite some time, it was only fitting Wiley be the one to extend the offer.
"At the end of my visit I sat down with head coach Ruffin McNeill and coach Wiley," said Baird. "They said they were very impressed with me not only on the field, but academically too. Then they offered me a full ride scholarship."
The visit couldn't have gone better for Baird and his commitment that followed shouldn't come as a surprise. He mentioned the facilities were nice, the people and fans were great and that he felt like a superstar while he was at ECU.
Wiley and the coaching staff hope Baird is in fact a superstar when he arrives to campus. Although he played at defensive end in high school, the coaches have told him he has the athleticism and footwork to play at the inside linebacker position.
Baird's most notable other offer came from the Navy Midshipmen. Barring an SEC offer, Baird seems fully on board with the Pirates and it's something him and all of the coaches are ecstatic about.
"I've felt the love," said Baird. "I got a call from coach Wiley as soon as I got home (Sunday) and he told me as soon as he got home coach Ruff was calling to tell him how much he liked me. Then I talked to coach Wiley again (Monday) and he told me I was the talk of the office! He said all of the coaches loved me."
ECU is back up to 22 commits for the 2014 class, but with Signing Day tomorrow things should continue to shake up.