In its first win of the season, ECU had ample opportunities to give new faces on the team playing time. Multiple freshmen on both sides of the ball saw their first game action against NCCU and some even had scoring plays.
After one game, offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley was happy with the effort from his young guns.
“We didn’t have many freshmen with the deer in the headlights look (against NCCU),” said Riley. “You never know exactly how they’ll react until they’re in that atmosphere and most were ready. We’ve got some young guys who no doubt can get after it.”
Those young guys Riley is referring to are mainly true freshmen from the 2014 class.
Riley mentioned he was impressed with true freshman running back Anthony Scott, who was one of the players to find the end zone against NCCU. Scott busted out of the backfield for a 38-yard touchdown late in the game showcasing the speed he has at his disposal.
Next up was freshman wide receiver Trevon Brown who despite missing last season due to ineligibility saw his first playing time last Saturday. Riley admitted he was impressed with Brown, who like Scott found the end zone in the second half when quarterback Shane Carden found him wide open in the end zone.
Johnson is a player inside receivers coach Donnie Kirkpatrick is working with extensively.
“We need to accelerate Quay’s reps a bit and try to find more of a role for him,” said Kirkpatrick. “He has some special ability and I think we can get him the ball. He just needs some experience and to learn the system a little bit better.”
The last freshman that had a notable offensive outing against NCCU was red-shirt freshman running back Marquez Grayson. After a long year of working out and waiting his turn the talented back saw his first game action in the purple and gold. Grayson led the team in rushing with seven carries for 78 yards.
“First of all it was a great experience, it’s great to be here and to finally compete,” said Grayson. “There were some things I could improve on out there though. Each one of us running backs come out here to prove something every day and it makes us all better. We all bring something to the backfield.”
The size is what stands out most about Grayson, he is currently listed at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. Senior running back and starter Breon Allen comes in at 5-foot-8, 190 pounds and junior Chris Hairston is 6-foot, 197 pounds.
Time will tell whether more of these freshmen will continue to get playing time as the season progresses.