Fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill and his ECU coaching staff couldn’t have asked for a better environment to present to the recruiting targets that attended their routing of UNC inside of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday. The Pirates dismantled the Tar Heels in front of a record crowd of 51,028.
The win marked McNeill’s fourth straight against an Atlantic Coast Conference team and his team got him the win in record breaking fashion amassing 789 total yards of offense. McNeill believes the recruits in attendance witnessed one of the top game day environments in the nation.
“I’ve said it for five years now (Dowdy-Ficklen) is a second-to-none venue,” said McNeill after the win. “Somebody find another one, I’ve got time I’ll wait. I’m glad the recruits got to see our team and how we interact. Next they came and saw our venue and how exciting and electric it is. I wish we could bottle it up we’d all be rich I would share it with all of you.”
McNeill finished saying that he hopes the team lands all of the recruits who were in attendance.
One prospect who attended Saturday’s game was Dudley cornerback Simeon Gatling. It was the second game in two weeks Gatling had watched ECU defeat an ACC opponent, the week before he was on a visit to Virginia Tech when the Pirates showed up and left with a 28-21 victory.
Here are some comments from Gatling about his visit:
On what he did Saturday: "First we toured the campus for a little bit and got to watch the basketball team practice. We went to get our tickets for the game and went to eat. I talked with (defensive coordinator) Rick Smith before the game along with (defensive line coach) Marc Yellock. Then we went to the field where I got to talk to my friend Josh Hawkins who plays cornerback for the Pirates. It was great to see them beat Carolina like that, it has really shaken up my recruitment. I went in the locker room after the game and talked to coach Smith some more."
On how he felt about the visit: "I really like ECU and the environment, it was really a blessing to visit there. I have connections with a lot players at ECU. They seem like the best team in the state (of North Carolina) right now, and that is great. ECU felt like family, and I really like coach (Ruffin) McNeill and how he gets hyped up for the game. The fans were great also."
On his top schools and recruiting moving forward: "ECU, UNC, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Auburn, Boston College and Duke remain at the top of my list right now. I’m just waiting on that first offer. I am one of the best defensive backs in the state for the 2016 class and I bring physical press coverage to the table with great tackling and playmaking ability. I have a huge wingspan for my 5-foot-10 frame and my hands are big. In-state schools should hop on me now because a lot of out-of-states are jumping into the picture like Clemson, Auburn and Virginia Tech. I really like those schools. Loyalty plays a big role in my life and whichever school offers me first would be atop my list for a long time in the process. My next visit will be to Auburn on Oct. 4."