Signing Day 2015 was a success for ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill and his staff as the Pirates received 12 national letters-of-intent from a slew of impressive players.
While the class is undersized when compared to last year’s class of 23 signees, McNeill assured size doesn’t matter.
“We always want quality,” said McNeill.” Each time we’re out, it’s about getting the right person. Scholarships are hard to come by, so each class is always going to be about quality. With the small number, that means we have a lot returning, which is always a good thing. We’re always selective in thinking quality above quantity.”
The Pirate coaching staff did an impressive job spreading throughout the southeast in order to find the recruits they wanted. Eight different states are represented in the class including Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Not only does the class attempt to fill the void at wide receiver and the defensive secondary positions, the Pirates continued to build depth on their offensive and defensive fronts. A question mark moving forward with the loss of offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will be offensive efficiency and point scoring, McNeill believes it won’t be a problem and that this group of young men is special.
“We feel this is a really good class with big play ability, line depth and strong local ties,” McNeill said. “We’ve built this program brick-by-brick and believe that every one of these young men has the ability to make an impact, both on and off the field. Any time you can put people in a positive and powerful environment, they will have the opportunity to succeed at the highest level.”
In order to cover immediate needs for the team the Pirate signed three junior college transfers in offensive lineman Justin Sandifer, athlete/wide receiver James Summers and inside linebacker Darius Wright. McNeill was outspoken in saying each of them are expected to compete for a starting role and contribute to the team, that’s why they were brought in.
The Pirates' biggest miss of the day was JUCO (Northwest Mississippi) cornerback target Treston Decoud who signed with Oregon State after having ECU in his top three. Another JUCO prospect, Iowa Western defensive tackle Darius Commissiong is still in question. He decided not to sign with a school today after having a top three of ECU, Memphis and Iowa State.
McNeill hinted that the finishing touches to the class could come soon. The Pirates have been known to add guys late in recent classes like running back Marquez Grayson and quarterback Blake Kemp.
“We still have a couple out there who I can’t address now,” McNeill said. “We’ll probably address it in the next week, maybe, or so.”
Below is a look at the twelve talented signees for the 2015 class.
Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) safety/outside linebacker C.J. Maybin:
Maybin was the first of the 2015 commits to send in his letter of intent. He has almost too much size for a safety at 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, so the Pirates have elected to use him as an outside linebacker when he arrives on campus.
Lake Nona (Orlando, Fla.) wide receiver Deondre Farrier:
The only other commit from Florida for the class, Farrier is a recruit the Pirates wanted to sign badly. He committed to multiple schools during his recruitment, but became the second player to sign with ECU today. He may redshirt since he is only 6-foot, 175 pounds.
Mundy's Mill (Ga.) offensive tackle Darius Anderson:
The third player to sign with ECU this morning. Anderson has good size at 6-foot-3, 330-pounds. He is one of two commits from the state of Georgia for the Pirates. He chose ECU over offers from Appalachian State, Arkansas State, James Madison and others.
South Central (Winterville, N.C.) running back Shawn Furlow:
The closest thing to a local product for the class and the lone running back commit, Furlow is a big pickup for the Pirates. He brings with him tremendous speed with a 4.4 second 40-yard dash, but may need to bulk up with a redshirt season. Furlow is 5-foot-10, 180 pounds.
North Myrtle Beach (S.C.) athlete/cornerback Colby Gore:
Depending on where the Pirates want to use him will decide his impact, but Gore is a tremendous athlete. He may need to redshirt for a season since he is only 6-foot, 170-pounds, but when the Pirates call on him he should produce. It's likely defensive coordinator Rick Smith develops him at the cornerback position.
Ayden-Grifton (N.C.) defensive tackle Justin Brown:
Brown has been the lone defensive tackle commit for the class for quite some time, but JUCO prospect Darius Commission could join him soon. Brown has good size at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds and will be an important addition moving forward for a unit that lost a key senior in Terry Williams.
Shawnee (OK) quarterback John Jacobs:
The lone quarterback commit for the class, Jacobs is an impressive talent. He is a 6-foot-1, 211-pounds dual-threat that can attack defenses multiple ways. Jacobs stayed committed to the Pirates despite the departure of offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley his main recruiter.
Lake Dallas (TX) offensive tackle Dalton Montgomery:
The only commit from the state of Texas. Montgomery brings with him impressive length at 6-foot-6, but will likely need to build strength since he only weighs 255 pounds. The Pirates were his only offer and the two sides were crazy about each other since their first conversation.
JUCO (Hutchinson C.C.) inside linebacker Darius Wright:
Despite being a bit undersized at 6-foot, 230-pounds, Wright could be an impact pickup for the Pirates. With the loss of senior linebacker Brandon Williams, it opens the door for Wright to compete for playing time. Hutchinson is a school the Pirates love to recruit from.
JUCO (Hinds C.C.) offensive tackle Justin Sandifier:
Just like last year with Quincy McKinney, Sandifier chose the ECU over Louisville. He is the stereotypical offensive lineman the Pirates target to bring in for an immediate impact on the offensive line and could compete for a starting role. Sandifier is 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and held offers from Georgia, Florida and Mississippi State.
Woodland (Stockbridge, Ga.) wide receiver Justin Strozier:
Took an official visit to ECU three weeks ago solidifying his commitment and leading to his signing today. Strozier chose ECU over offers from Indiana, Georgia State and Tulane. He will likely redshirt since he is a bit undersized at 6-foot, 175 pounds.
JUCO (Hinds C.C.) quarterback/athlete James Summers:
His eligibility was in question at first, but Summers became the last signee for ECU's 2015 class. He is extremely athletic, which could explain why the Pirates are considering playing him at defensive back or wide receiver even though he was a quarterback at Hinds. Summers is an impressive 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.
ECU also had some guys become mid-year signees because of being deemed ineligible for last season and transfering. There is also one early enrollee for the class.
Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.) cornerback Nhyre Quinerly:
After helping lead his team to a state championship with a strong senior season, Quinerly became the only 2015 commit to early enroll at ECU. He started classes on Jan. 12 and is already working out with the team. Quinerly will need time to develop under Rick Smith and is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds.
Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.) inside linebacker Tony Baird:
Baird made a game day visit to ECU this year during the season and officially enrolled at the school on Jan. 12. When he graduated with the class of 2014 he was listed 6-foot-3, 220-pounds. As long as he stays eligible, Baird could have a shot at some playing time next season.
Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.) cornerback Corey Seargent:
Another player who enrolled at ECU on Jan. 12, but had to sign with the Pirates again this year after being deemed ineligible with the class of 2014. Seargent is an impressive talent, but will likely redshirt since he s 6-foot, 175 pounds.
Kempsville (Virginia Beach, Va.) defensive end/linebacker Kyron Speller:
After a last-minute voided SAT score Speller was unable to enroll at ECU in the fall and had to wait until January. He signed his letter of intent with the Pirates again and should be fine to join the team now. Speller is 6-foot-1, 250-pounds.
Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.) running back Chris Mangus:
After graduating in the class of 2012, Mangus enrolled at Virginia Tech. In his only season for the Hokies he has 141 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown. Mangus transferred to ECU last year and sat out last fall making him eligible for the upcoming season. He will be a name to watch out for.
Havelock (N.C.) running back Derrell Scott:
A huge four-star addition for ECU that transferred from Tennessee this January, Scott will have to sit out one season before most likely making a big impact for the Pirates. He is an all-purpose back and is 5-foot-11, 200 pounds. When he is eligible in the fall of 2016, Pirate fans should keep their eye on him.