The linebacker position for East Carolina is loaded this year. 14 linebackers return to compete in another season.
Last year, the linebackers did a decent job of stopping the run, but problems still arose and ECU finished with a 5-7 record. Injuries plagued both sides of the ball, but this year, things are looking better.
"So far, we are just trying to stay healthy this off-season as opposed to last year" said senior inside linebacker Drayvon Fairley. The atmosphere this season is different from the last and the players throughout the locker room are hungry to get back on a winning track. “Everybody is working harder we don’t want a repeat of last year" continued Fairley.
The most notable inside linebackers returning this year are Pat Green, Cam White , and Jordan Williams. Green a rising junior is going to be someone that will move up the depth chart if his hard work continues to pay off. White is returning for his final season as a Pirate and will make an impact. As a reserve last season, he finished with 27 stops in 12 contests last year. Williams, who recorded 81 tackles a year ago, will be the top returning tackler on the squad, which trailed only Zeke Bigger in the 2015-2016 campaign. With Williams' experience, the inside defensive unit should be locked down.
As for the outside linebackers, Yiannis Bowden is primed for a breakout season. Last year, Bowden recorded 19 tackles in 11 games, earning him the Most Improved Defensive Player award at the end of the season.
"This season, you can expect great things from the linebacker core," Brunson said. "Every individual has been putting in work on and off the field. "You can credit this intensity to the players and the coaches such as coach (Scottie) Montgomery."
"His vision let us know he came here to win championship," Fairley said. "He's kept the same environment as coach Ruff and it has helped us stay together."