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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: East Carolina
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  05/18/20 - Holton AhlersJr/2022, East Carolina, 6-2, 236 (DS#24 QB) + More +

  East Carolina, which followed UCF moving from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference, is cutting at least one sport due to coronavirus pandemic budget issues. The Pirates are looking to trim at least one of 20 sports to offset at $10 million budget deficit, the Charlotte Observer reported that the school's interim chancellor and athletics director announced during a special board meeting Monday. The minimum number of NCAA sports allowed to compete at the Football Bowl Subdivision level is 16. The Pirates could cut up to four while still complying with NCAA rules.

UCF, meanwhile, supports 16 sports and athletics director Danny White has said the school has no plans to cut any of them even if the NCAA approves a waiver to allow it. East Carolina, meanwhile, does not see any other option moving forward. "The financial model is not sustainable," East Carolina interim chancellor Ron Mitchelson said, according to the Observer. East Carolina entered the pandemic on different footing than UCF, with the Pirates struggling financially and the Knights in the midst of a fundraising boom fueled by its success in football and many other sports. While the Pirates will cut at least one sport, they plan to keep competing in the AAC. - Orlando Sentinel


(DS#24 QB) Jr/2022 QB Holton AhlersEast Carolina
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  05/17/20 - Chris WillisrSr/2021, East Carolina, 6-1, 245 (DS#999 DE) + More +

  Recruiting this offseason for East Carolina University football has proven to be strong as the Pirates have welcomed multiple promising transfers in an effort to improve for the 2020 season. After going 4-8 in the 2019 season, head coach Mike Houston and the Pirates are gearing up for a stronger outing with the addition of a handful of power five conference transfers. Former Appalachian State University defensive end Chris Willis announced his transfer to East Carolina on Saturday night after having spent four seasons as a member of the mountaineer football team. Willis is the first in a long line of transfers the Pirates will be receiving from other programs this upcoming season.

Willis redshirted in 2016, but played in 12 games in 2017 where he racked up 15 tackles and his first career sack. In 2018, Willis saw the field in 13 games and started the last six of the season. Over the course of the 2018 season, Willis made 24 total tackles, three sacks and a single fumble recovery. Unfortunately, Willis did suffer an injury in 2019 that left him on the sideline and unable to play. Willis will come to ECU with one year of eligibility remaining. - The East Carolinian


(DS#999 DE) rSr/2021 DE Chris WillisEast Carolina
News Source: The East Carolinian
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  Kendall Futrell spent most of his East Carolina football career studying an actual physical playbook and having to physically be in the Ward Sports Medicine Building to watch game film. He entered the National Football League a few weeks ago as a Cincinnati Bengals rookie not only in a typical high-tech environment, but one that was amped up even more into a completely virtual professional lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bengals held a full-team Zoom meeting on Monday. Futrell soaked in that experience and everything else that has followed this week while living in Greenville. "It's all on the iPad, so I'm able to watch film and see the playbook and pretty much do everything I need," said Futrell, a 6-foot-2, 226-pound pass rusher projected as an outside linebacker at the pro level, who was signed by Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent the same night the NFL draft was completed on April 25.

"That has been really cool, because it's my first time with that type of thing. At ECU, we had paper playbooks and you actually had to come in the building to watch film until like last year. It's definitely cool to have everything on an iPad right there when you need it." The entire experience already has been unique for Futrell, who also graduated from South Central High School in 2016 and made one start as a freshman for the Pirates that same year. "It's definitely different and kind of hard to explain," he said. "It definitely feels real, but it just doesn't feel all the way real yet. I'm ready to get up there physically and start practicing and really meeting people face-to-face and that kind of thing. That's when I'll feel like it's 100 percent real." - Daily Reflector


(DS#35 OLB) Sr/2020 OLB Kendall FutrellEast Carolina
News Source: Daily Reflector
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  05/12/20 - Chris JohnsonSr/2008, East Carolina, 5-11, 197 (DS#4 RB) + More +

  Former ECU and National Football League standout running back Chris Johnson posted Saturday on social media platforms that he completed his degree requirements and is part of the ECU 2020 graduating class. A virtual commencement ceremony was held Friday morning for graduates to watch. ECU officials confirmed Monday that Johnson graduated. Johnson, 34, played for the Pirates from 2004-07, emerging primarily as a senior in leading ECU to an 8-5 record in 2007 capped by a 41-38 Hawaii Bowl win over Boise State. The speedy Orlando, Fla., native led the nation in all-purpose yards that season (227.7 yards per game) before being selected 24th overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 NFL draft. He had 408 all-purpose yards against Boise State in his final collegiate game. He was inducted into the ECU hall of fame in 2018. He majored in communication as a student-athlete from 2004-07. - Daily Reflector

(DS#4 RB) Sr/2008 RB Chris JohnsonEast Carolina
News Source: Daily Reflector
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  05/12/20 - Chase HaydenSr/2021, East Carolina, 5-09, 205 (DS#70 RB) + More +

  Three months to the day after announcing he was transferring from Arkansas, running back Chase Hayden has found a landing spot. Hayden, who played two full seasons at Arkansas and in four games last season to retain a redshirt, is headed to East Carolina. As a graduate transfer, he will be immediately eligible and have two years of eligibility remaining. Hayden rushed for 574 yards and four touchdowns on 117 carries in his Razorbacks career, including 249 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2017 before his season was cut short after seven games with a broken leg. In his first career game, Hayden rushed for 120 yards and scored a touchdown on 14 carries against Florida A&M. He became the third Arkansas freshman to rush for more than 100 yards in his debut. - Northwest Arkansas Times

(DS#70 RB) Sr/2021 RB Chase HaydenEast Carolina
News Source: Northwest Arkansas Times
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  05/11/20 - Nigel KnottrJr/2021, East Carolina, 5-10, 188 (DS#999 CB) + More +

  With limited recruiting going on in the world of college athletics due to COVID-19, East Carolina University football seems to be doing about as well as anyone could ask of them. The addition of former University of Alabama cornerback, Nigel Knott, brings the kind of recruiting hype that you just don't see out of ECU's recruiting classes often. Upon his graduation from Alabama, Knott comes to the Pirates ready to play and with two years of eligibility to play with. His arrival couldn't come at a better time for the Pirates as they will return in the 2020 season having graduated long time starting cornerback Colby Gore and without former starting safety, Daniel Charles.

Charles was suspended indefinitely and has since entered the transfer portal. Knott should help bring a level of experience that ECU's DB room just doesn't have as of right now with a group that's mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores. There is also the obvious bonus of bringing in a player who has spent a few years under the wing of Alabama head coach, Nick Saban. Knott perhaps brings the championship approach that East Carolina football expects. - The East Carolinian


(DS#999 CB) rJr/2021 CB Nigel KnottEast Carolina
News Source: The East Carolinian
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  05/08/20 - Nigel KnottrJr/2021, East Carolina, 5-10, 188 (DS#999 CB) + More +

  A former Alabama defensive back has decided on a transfer destination. Nigel Knott will transfer to East Carolina, he announced Thursday. A four-star member of the Crimson Tide's 2016 recruiting class, Knott was medically disqualified by Alabama last year after serving as a reserve cornerback in 2018. Knott earned a degree from Alabama this spring and will be immediately eligible at East Carolina as a graduate transfer. - Birmingham News

(DS#999 CB) rJr/2021 CB Nigel KnottEast Carolina
News Source: Birmingham News
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  05/07/20 - Chance PurvisSr/2021, East Carolina, 6-4, 232 (DS#999 DE) + More +

  An East Carolina football official roster update Thursday saw the removal of former starter Chance Purvis, thus ending his career with the Pirates after he started all 12 games in 2019 at defensive end and was arrested in February. He was booked Feb. 18 at the Pitt County Detention Center for felony charges of second degree kidnapping and breaking or entering with intent to terrorize or injure. He was suspended the next day from all football activities. The Meridian, Miss., native was second in sacks (four) for ECU (4-8) a year ago during a breakout junior campaign. He finished with 13 career starts among 22 games played and 68 total tackles as a sophomore and junior.

"Something like this is not something we will accept," second-year Pirate coach Mike Houston said on Feb. 20 of Purvis' arrest. "The disappointing thing is I have 90-some guys out this morning who are doing great things on and off the field and in the classroom...I'm disappointed that one or two individuals are taking away from that. ... If individuals are not living up to that standard, then they are not going to be here." Last year's sack leader, end Kendall Futrell, was a senior and he recently signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. - Daily Reflector


(DS#999 DE) Sr/2021 DE Chance PurvisEast Carolina
News Source: Daily Reflector
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  05/02/20 - Jordan WilliamsSr/2018, East Carolina, 5-11, 227 (DS#48 ILB) + More +

  Former East Carolina linebacker Jordan Williams, who completed his Pirate career in 2017, was selected by the B.C. Lions as the No. 1 overall pick in the Canadian Football League draft late Thursday night. Williams became ECU's highest professional football draft choice ever. Robert Jones (Cowboys) and Chris Johnson (Titans) were each selected 24th overall in the 1992 and 2007 National Football League (NFL) Draft, respectively.

Williams, a Fayetteville native, ranked among East Carolina's top two tacklers in three straight seasons as a full-time starter, standing second in 2015 (81) under head coach Ruffin McNeill and first in 2016 (77) and second in 2017 (89) for Scottie Montgomery. Overall, he started 25 of 45 career contests and was credited with 252 stops (123 solo), 13.0 TFLs, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, three pass breakups and an interception. Williams also turned in 11 double-digit tackle performances and booked at least one hit in 40 outings. - Daily Reflector


(DS#48 ILB) Sr/2018 ILB Jordan WilliamsEast Carolina
News Source: Daily Reflector
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  2019 ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): DL Kendall Futrell, ECU, Sr.,...Futrell, who garnered his first career all-conference honor, led the Pirates in four statistical categories that included total TFLs (16.0/-80 yards), sacks (11.0/-68 yards), quarterback hurries (11) and forced fumbles (three). One of two defensive captains, Futrell tallied 63 stops (37 solo), which included a career-high eight at NC State in the season opener, and registered a TFL in 10 of 12 contests. The Winterville, N.C. native stood among national leaders in sacks (12th), TFLs (21st) and forced fumbles (21st), while ranking third in The American in sacks and fourth in stops behind the line. - East Carolina Football

(DS#35 OLB) Sr/2020 OLB Kendall FutrellEast Carolina
News Source: East Carolina Football
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  12/13/19 - Jake VerityrSr/2021, East Carolina, 6-0, 185 (DS#7 K) + More +

  2019 ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): K Jake Verity, ECU, Jr.,...Verity earned his second career all-conference accolade after leading the league in field goals made (24), field goals made per game (2.00) and kick scoring (105), while standing third in total scoring and sixth in field goal percentage (82.8 percent). The Bremen, Ga. native is among national leaders total field goals made (t2nd), field goals made per game (2nd), total points (20th) and scoring per game (22nd/8.8 ppg).

A semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2019, Verity set ECU single-season (24) and career (60) records for field goals made, while moving into fourth place on the school's career list with 280 points. He made at least one field goal in all 12 contests (multiple seven times) and extended his current streak to 13 games with a field goal made (dating back to 2018) with his season-long 51-yarder against Tulsa. - East Carolina Football


(DS#7 K) rSr/2021 K Jake VerityEast Carolina
News Source: East Carolina Football
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  12/13/19 - DAnte SmithrSr/2021, East Carolina, 6-4, 295 (DS#10 OG) + More +

  2019 ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE HONORABLE MENTION (COACHES): OT D'Ante Smith, ECU, Jr.,...Smith, an Augusta, Ga. native, started all 12 games at left tackle and helped the Pirates average 430.2 yards per game (288.8 pass, 141.3 rush), which ranks sixth in the league. He anchored an offensive line unit that produced three 100-yard rushing performances and provided pass protection for five 300-yard passing efforts by Holton Ahlers, which included a single-game record 535 against Cincinnati. The Pirates produced 480 yards or more of total offense six times with a season-high 644 at SMU. - East Carolina Football

(DS#10 OG) rSr/2021 OG DAnte SmithEast Carolina
News Source: East Carolina Football
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  12/13/19 - C.J. JohnsonSo/2023, East Carolina, 6-1, 229 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  2019 ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE HONORABLE MENTION (COACHES): WR CJ Johnson, ECU, Fr.,...In his first year with the program, Johnson led the team in reception yards (908), yards per catch (16.8) and 100-yard receiving games (four), while standing second with Blake Proehl in receptions (54) and receiving touchdowns (four). The Greenville, N.C. native set an ECU and AAC single-game receiving yards record with 283 against Cincinnati (on a career-high 12 catches), which also stands as the highest single-game output in the nation this season. Johnson ranks among the league leaders in receiving yards per game (6th/75.7) and receptions per game (10th/4.5), while ranking nationally in receiving yards (39th) and receiving yards per game (40th/75.7). - East Carolina Football

(DS#999 WR) So/2023 WR C.J. JohnsonEast Carolina
News Source: East Carolina Football
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  11/25/19 - Holton AhlersJr/2022, East Carolina, 6-2, 236 (DS#24 QB) + More +

  NOV 25 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE HONOR ROLL: Holton Ahlers, ECU, So., QB,...Completed 34 of 50 passes for 374 yards and a touchdown in a 31-24 win at UConn. - American Athletic Conference Football

(DS#24 QB) Jr/2022 QB Holton AhlersEast Carolina
News Source: American Athletic Conference Football
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  11/23/19 - Holton AhlersJr/2022, East Carolina, 6-2, 236 (DS#24 QB) + More +

  Holton Ahlers scored on a 2-yard run with 3:31 remaining in the game and East Carolina rallied last in a 31-24 victory over Connecticut on Saturday. UConn trailed 24-14 after three quarters, but Clayton Harris kicked a 27-yard field goal 27 seconds into the fourth period and Zack Zergiotis hooked up with Cameron Ross for a 94-yard scoring strike to pull the Huskies even at 24 with 9:28 left to play. After Harris missed a 50-yard field goal that would have cut the Huskies' deficit to four points, the Pirates (4-7, 1-6 American Athletic Conference) took over at their own 33-yard line. East Carolina survived a scare when Tyler Snead fumbled at the UConn 2-yard line after a catch that gained 9 yards, but it was recovered by the Pirates and Ahlers scored the game-winner on the next play.

Ahlers completed 34 of 50 passes for 374 yards and a score for the Pirates, but he threw two interceptions. Darius Pinnix Jr. rushed for 105 yards and two TDs on 27 carries. Snead finished with 16 catches for 126 yards. The freshman had 35 receptions for 366 yards and three TDs in his final two games. Jack Zergiotis completed 21 of 37 passes for 418 yards for the Huskies (2-9, 0-7). He threw three TD passes but was intercepted twice. Freshman Cameron Ross had eight catches for a career-best 169 yards and two scores. - East Carolina/AP College Football


(DS#24 QB) Jr/2022 QB Holton AhlersEast Carolina
News Source: East Carolina/AP College Football
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