Through a statement Thursday, East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill announced defensive end Terrell Stanley would miss the entire 2014 football season after suffering serious injuries from a February car accident.
Stanley leaves behind seven sacks and 10 tackles-for-loss from a season ago and now that he officially won't be in the mix, the Pirates must look elsewhere to make up that production.
The likely candidate to replace Stanley is junior Johnathan White, who showed flashes of being a viable defensive end in 2013 – compiling 22 tackles and a pair of sacks in his abbreviated playing time.
Shortly following the accident, N.C. State transfer K'Hadree Hooker was moved from nose tackle to defensive end. Likely another that will be relied on to step up, the six-foot 300-pound Hooker sat out the 2013 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Although both White and Stanley seem to be quality replacements, the absence of Stanley undoubtedly adds another element of concern for ECU's defense in the fall.
Including Stanley, the Pirates will be without nine of their defensive starters from last year's opener against Old Dominion. Also, Terry Williams, who was suspended for the bulk of 2013 due to a violation of team rules, injured his ankle during a scrimmage in March that caused him to miss the entire spring session.An ECU press release said Stanley had demonstrated continued progress since his accident and was able to participate in classes online, but it wasn't enough to get back onto the field. Here is McNeill's explanation as to why the decision was made.
"Terrell has come a long way and we admire his determination to return to battle, but he's not ready to be in a position to fairly compete at the level he needs to be," McNeill said. "His full recovery and health are our first priority, as it would be with any of our players. We're looking forward to him getting back to full strength and joining us in the spring."
Stanley already spent his redshirt season in 2011, but should qualify for a medical extension of the NCAA's five-year eligibility clock. McNeill said he would help seek the medical redshirt when that time comes.