It’s never a bad thing to have a recruiting target witness a team walk into a hostile environment and come out with a statement win. That’s what happened for ECU and one of its 2016 defensive back targets, Dudley cornerback Simeon Gatling, when he was on a visit to Virginia Tech during the Pirates’ 28-21 win in Blacksburg last weekend.
“ECU is on the come up,” said the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Gatling. “I like how they got up on Virginia Tech early, ECU is impressive. I talk with (defensive coordinator) Rick Smith almost every day and I like how they have a really good defense with good defensive backs. It’s close to home too, which is what I want, and I like (head coach) Ruffin McNeill.”
Gatling mentioned he will visit ECU this weekend for its game against Carolina. It will be the second straight week Gatling will watch the Pirates take on an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. If ECU emerges victorious for it’s fourth straight win against an ACC squad, it should do wonders for the recruiting game.
The visit to ECU will be Gatling’s first time at the school. While no schools have extended an offer to him yet, the three closest schools according to him are in fact ECU, Virginia Tech and Carolina. He has also received attention from programs Clemson, Auburn, Virginia, Duke and N.C. State.
Coach Rick Smith is very particular about the defensive backs he recruits and Gatling matches the stereotypical physical boundary corner Smith usually goes after. Versatility is also a key component in recruitment, something Gatling is familiar with as well.
“I’m really physical and can play press coverage,” said Gatling. “Tackling is my strong suit and I’m smart on the field. I can also play safety; run kickoff returns and punt returns and can play a little offense too.”
This weekend could potentially be a decisive one in Gatling’s recruitment.