East Carolina football announces 2014 signees

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ECU Wire Services


GREENVILLE, N.C. – Replenishing personnel shortages on the offensive line, enhancing depth at the outside receiving position and bolstering athleticism in the linebacking corps and secondary of the Pirates’ 3-4 defensive scheme were all addressed when fifth-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill and staff announced their 27-member 2014 signing class Wednesday.

A total of 23 student-athletes who officially signed with the Pirate program throughout the day will join four early enrollees on the roster this summer in preparation for ECU’s initial season of competition in the American Athletic Conference.

Of East Carolina’s entire class, 15 are projected to play on offense while 12 will line up on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, the Pirates signed seven linemen, seven receivers, a tight end and running back. On defense, six linebackers, four secondary performers and two linemen comprise the list of newcomers.

“I can’t wait to get everyone here as a collective group and get back to work,” McNeill said. “I feel confident we answered our immediate needs in several areas. Maybe the biggest testament we have that speaks for the progress of our program is the opportunity we now have to develop younger players – in life, in the classroom, with (Strength) Coach Jeff Connors and on the field. You build quality programs with quality individuals, and this group reflects that very clearly.”

In an effort to identify immediate help to replace the loss of three offensive linemen off its 2013 unit, ECU tapped the junior college ranks with the signing of juniors Dontae Levingston from Santa Monica (Calif.) College and Quincy McKinney from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Twenty-five of the 27 signees most recently played at the high school level, which ranks as the largest freshman signing class in the McNeill era at East Carolina, which began in 2010.

The Pirates maintained their footprint along the I-95 corridor through the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast region with representation ranging from North Carolina (seven), South Carolina (six), Florida (five), Virginia (four), Georgia (three) and Maryland (one) to cover 26 of the 27 additions.

East Carolina recorded a 10-3 overall mark and stood second in Conference USA’s East Division with a 6-2 ledger. The Pirates won six of their last seven contests, including a 37-20 triumph over Ohio in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl that successfully capped the program’s seventh bowl appearance in the last eight years. In all, the 10 victories marked ECU’s second single-season double-digit win total in school history and was the highest since 1991 (11-1).

The Pirates open spring drills March 21 and will host North Carolina Central on Aug. 30 to kick off the 2014 season.

The full list of signees with bios can be viewed on ecupirates.com/signingday.