Boyd Looks to Anchor Offensive Line

ECU's offensive line took a hit with the loss of Larry Williams. However, familiarity in the group, led by junior J.T. Boyd, could prove to be a catalyst in the Pirate offense.

Greenville, N.C. East Carolina’s offensive line is returning three starters from last season, but the interior of the group is seeing some changes. Junior J.T Boyd looks to anchor the middle of this offensive line.

Coming off the bench in the first two games of the 2014 season, J.T Boyd made his first start at right guard against Virginia Tech. Boyd would become a key piece of the offensive line that helped ECU average 533 yards per game. Coming into the 2015 season, Boyd has been gaining national attention, picked as a pre-season All-Conference player.

“It’s just a blessing, I mean it’s nice to have but none of that really matters,” he said, “I wouldn’t have any of that without the other 10 guys in the field with me. I’m not really focused on that, I’m focused on getting better every day and helping this team win.”

The other 10 players on the field with Boyd remains to be seen, especially along the offensive line. Head coach Ruffin McNeill has preached the importance of position battles and is never quick to announce starters before the season. Larry Williams was a projected starting right guard this season, but was dismissed from the team in the offseason. With his departure from the team, Boyd is the front runner to keep the right guard spot he was in last season.

Coming into the 2015 season, Boyd was projected to be the starting center with Williams taking the right guard position. Now with Williams gone, C.J Struyk looks to take back the position he won in 2013.

Struyk is a 6-foot-2 senior who started 11 of 13 games in 2013, but a shoulder injury, and the emergence of Taylor Hudson, resulted in limited play time for Struyk in 2014. Now that Hudson has graduated, Struyk can again become the starting center for the Pirates.

“It’s just the next man up,” said Boyd, “we have that mentality all the time. If someone gets banged up, the next man comes up. Everybody has to be ready to go, stuff like that happens with football and life. I believe we got a bunch guys that can be thrown in the fire and get the job done.”

Four seniors are projected to start this season. Quincy McKinney, a senior, is the only returning lineman to play all 13 games last season, while fellow senior Dontae Levingston started 10 games. Stewart Hinson, a senior, was primarily on special teams, but now will assume the left tackle spot.

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