ECU Names Kurt Benkert Starting Quarterback

ECU's quarterback competition came to a close on Wednesday when head coach Ruffin McNeill announced that sophomore Kurt Benkert won the job.

East Carolina sophomore Kurt Benkert has been named the Pirates' starting quarterback according to an announcement by head coach Ruffin McNeill on Wednesday afternoon.

"We've had great competition at that position so far, but we felt it was time to name a starter to move forward with our preparations for the season," McNeill said. "While Kurt will have the first opportunity, we feel very good about the capabilities of Blake (Kemp), Cody (Keith) and John (Jacobs). Like anyone else in our program at all other positions, Kurt will need to keep progressing and continue to earn the job throughout the year."

Benkert, an Island Coast High School product from Cape Coral, Fla., played in three games as a redshirt freshman behind record-setting performer Shane Carden in 2014, completing eight-of-10 passes for 58 yards and suffering one interception. He also rushed for 23 yards and a pair of touchdowns on five carries.

McNeill indicated that Kemp, a junior transfer who was redshirted a year ago, will serve as the top backup heading into the opener while Keith continues to recover from a right foot injury suffered during preseason camp.

After morning workouts Thursday and Friday, East Carolina will close camp with its final scrimmage Saturday. The Pirates will return to their in-season practice schedule after classes start on campus Monday.

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