Beaufort boys primed for Pirates’ football season

Published 7:09 pm Wednesday, April 23, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — One is a mountain of a man, standing 6-foot-4 and tipping the scales at 271 pounds. The other is short and compact, checking in at 5-foot-10 and weighing 220 pounds.
One made an immediate impact as a true freshman. The other will enter his first season as a walk-on.
One is looking to make his mark on the ECU record books. The other is just looking to get on the field.
They’re both Beaufort County boys, but C.J. Wilson and Gerald Lawrence have taken completely different paths to East Carolina University.
But, no matter how different they may be, Wilson and Lawrence share one common goal: helping the Pirates win the 2008 Conference USA Championship and getting ECU to a third straight bowl game.
Wilson, a 2006 Northside High School graduate, will enter his third year as a defensive lineman at ECU.
Wilson burst onto the scene as a true freshman, making four starts for the Pirates and leading all defensive lineman with four sacks in 2006.
Last season, he progressed even further, leading the team with seven sacks and recording 36 tackles, including 10.5 for a loss.
This year, he expects those numbers to increase even further.
He’s also not ruling out an assault on Roderick Coleman’s team record of 15 sacks set n 1997.
While Wilson is expecting a monstrous year when the 2008 season gets underway, Lawrence is just hoping to make an impact.
After a season at Elizabeth City State University, Lawrence, a former Washington High School star, accepted an invitation to walk-on at ECU this spring. And it has been a big adjustment.
Lawrence also finds that he has to make adjustments because of his size.
One guy that Lawrence has leaned on to make the transition to Division-I ball is his cross-county pal.
Wilson says that he enjoys helping a fellow Beaufort County star.
Now that Wilson has completed his third spring football season, and Lawrence has made it through his first, both are looking forward to August, when the Pirates will don the pads once again in preparation for the season-opener versus Virginia Tech on August 30 in Charlotte.