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Holtz excited about his 26 new recruits

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Skip Holtz was all smiles as he talked about his 26 newest East Carolina Pirates.
The third-year ECU head coach, who guided the Pirates to a 7-6 record and a trip to the PapaJohns.com Bowl last year, went for some home cooking. Of the 26 recruits, 21 played at the prep level in North Carolina, including a pair of junior college transfers from Bakersfield (Calif.) College.
Holtz also praised the athleticism of the 26 athletes he and his staff recruited.
Of the 26 recruits, 14 are projected to play defense and 12 on offense. The Pirates added six secondary players, five linemen and three linebackers on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, ECU added five running backs, three wide receivers two tight end/offensive linemen candidates, one quarterback and a multi-purpose athlete.
What Holtz wanted
Holtz had some specifics in mind when he went on the recruiting trail.
Defense
On defense, the Pirates recruited Antonio Allison (6-4, 300-pound defensive lineman), Steven Baker (6-8, 315-pound defensive lineman), Derek Blacknall (5-11, 168-pound defensive back), Julian Carter (6-2, 180-pound defensive back), Emanuel Davis (5-11, 190-pound defensive back), Austin Haynes (6-2, 210-pound linebacker), Antwan Jones (6-6, 320-pound defensive lineman), DeAndre Jones (6-1, 180-pound defensive back), Linval Joseph (6-6, 308-pound defensive lineman), Maurice Mercer (6-5, 245-pound defensive lineman), Cliff Perryman (6-1, 218-pound linebacker), Steve Spence (6-2, 221-pound linebacker), Matt Thompson (6-2, 195-pound linebacker) and Devon Wallace (6-2, 195-pound defensive back).
Offense
On offense, ECU recruited Nick Adams (6-1, 184-pound wide receiver), Michael Byrd (6-4, 226-pound tight end), Rodney Cox (6-6, 230-pound athlete), Darryl Freeney (5-11, 185-pound wide receiver), Ben Herlocker (6-0, 206-pound fullback), T.J. Lee (6-0, 200-pound wide receiver), D.J. McFadden (6-2, 210-pound quarterback), DaRonte McNeil (6-2, 217-pound running back), J.R. Rogers (5-11, 190-pound running back), Will Towery (6-5, 255-pound tight end), Jonathan Williams (6-1, 190-pound running back) and Tyrell Worthington (6-0, 180-pound running back).
Lee and Rogers are transfers from Bakersfield Junior College.
McFadden was the lone quarterback signed by the Pirates.
Cox was the only “athlete” signed by the Pirates. Holtz glowed while talking about the player from Harnett Central High School.
Spring practice
The first day of spring practice for the Pirates is Feb. 28.
Jay Sonnhalter (tight end), Pierre Bell (linebacker) and Quentin Cotton (linebacker) will miss spring practice after undergoing surgery earlier this year.