Cade Carney’s father played on the defensive line for the Pirates in the mid-1980s and his sister is currently a freshman at ECU, so it’s not surprise that his interest in joining the football team is rather high.
When ECU defensive coordinator Rick Smith extended a scholarship to the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Carney in late June, he had different visions for the three-star prospect. Carney’s days at running back where over and if he ends up playing his Saturdays at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, he will be eyeing up quarterbacks and covering receivers.
“I’m totally fine with playing safety,” said Carney, who spent a majority of his high school days in the backfield. “I played running back on offense and safety on defense. I don’t really have a preference but I wouldn’t say I’m too polished at defense because I’ve spent most of my playing time on offense. I’m very raw and athletic honestly.”
But even without having significant playing time on defense, Smith and the coaching staff have seen enough of Carney’s offensive aggression that they feel like he could be a force on the defensive side.
“Mostly I think they’re just pleased with seeing me move around on offense with my mobility but just being an athlete,” said Carney. He only five tackles last season at Davies High School. “They look for guys that can jump and I have a nose for the ball so I think somewhere along the way I said something they liked.”
While Carney’s defensive numbers have been limited, he said that the switch to safety wouldn’t effect his decision on where to play as he also holds offers from North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest.
“The position isn’t such a big deal for me,” Carney said. “It’s going to be location and, thankfully, all of the schools that have offered are fine academically, so that’s not something I have to consider too much.”
Having ECU connections and growing up as a Pirate fan could influence his decision on where to attend. He was at the North Carolina game when ECU drubbed the Tar Heels 70-41 and has met and been impressed with Head Coach Ruffin McNeill.
“I love him,” Carney said of McNeill. “I could see him being like a father. The first time I ever met him I was at a camp and he came up and gave me a big ole bear hug and told me he wanted to be responsible for me and for him to come embrace me like that. Not every coach is like that and it’s really not expected for a coach like that.”
As most 2016 recruits are, Carney said that he is too early in the process to start ranking his offers, but when the time comes for him to decide on what school to attend, he’s confident he won’t have to make much of a choice.
“At the end of the day it’s just about where I feel at home,” he said. “I feel like the choice will be clear when it’s time and I’m just going to wait it out.”