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Weeze56m

[2020] ECU, Freshman Most Likely to Start

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Introducing the Freshman Pirates:

Who is Most Likely to Contribute During the 2020 Season?

 

          With the coming spring practices, Spring games, and the finalization of transfers only a few weeks away, we here at the East Carolinian are already excited for the coming fall season. It is no secret around here that the Pirates have suffered on the recruiting trail the last few seasons. Even the 2020 season almost seemed doomed to repeat the last few years as it was widely rumored that the current head coach had interviewed with Nebraska. While neither side admitted to any such interview, Pirates nation is still a little worried. Coach Weeze was able to turn the season around after the Pirates went 1-3, and lead the team to its first Bowl win since 2014. The challenge for him now however isn't winning, or getting to a Championship, its recruiting. The Pirates had one of the worse recruiting efforts of the 2019 season. Unable to land any JuCo recruits to fill the many needs the team has in the wake of graduating Seniors, Recruiting is a must during this coming season. The team has many many needs. Linebacker, Defensive End, Corners, OT, Tight End. The coaches are not gonna have a second to rest this season if they plan to correct this. But they believe they can do it.
          "So much was going on last season. I was learning so many things, the assistant coaches were adjusting, the players were adjusting, with all the new things going on, it was hard to get it all. We were in a win now attitude. We were showing the league and our opponents that we still had it in us. While winning is still the main goal, we also know long term success is just as important. WE are gonna do everything we can this season to really see that message through."

 

          Coach Weeze had a press conference to discuss the coming weeks and made it known what he and his staff were focused on. And while for now, we and the coaches don't know how the team will change by Purple and Gold game, we can take a look at the current roster and take a guess at which of the newest players will have the biggest impact on the 2020 season.

 

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Leon Burris, Wide Receiver.

 

          The first, and probably the most important freshman to join the team is Leon Burris. A speedy receiver, the Cummings High School alumni out of Burlington North Carolina, joins the team as the likely starting slot receiver. Following the 2019 season, ECU only had two returning Wide Receivers. Granted the two were the most productive, but it was obvious that the position was a serious need. Maxwell Grubbs, and Patrick Cornett are also seniors this year, so fans are likely getting a look at the number one receiver in 2021 season. Hopefully they can address this position heavily during recruiting and transfers. Other wise, Liam Carver's senior season will be a huge let down. Especially since pro scouts will be watching him as he will likely be trying to enter the NFL draft. Burris is 6-2, 193 lbs, should be a fairly productive receiver in this conference, but might struggle heavily against teams with older, and more experienced back fields.

 

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Nico Russ, Defensive Tackle.

 

          Defensive Tackle was a rare spot that the team was able to address. A former Defensive Line coach, and a former defensive tackle at the collegiate level,  Coach Weeze was able to bring in 3 young guys to fill the position. It was a very light spot last season with little rotation. While it was heavily reported that several Defensive ends were being heavily recruited, they weren't able to snag a major player. We will look to see them address the issue this season. However, one of the big names they were able to get for the middle is Nico Russ. While he may only see 30% of snaps this season as a rotational player, he is likely to be starting along side Liam Childers before too long. Russ is likely to beat out fellow Freshman Justin Sprague for that third spot due to the familiarity with the system.
"One of the reasons we liked this kid was that he excelled in the 4-3, and his high school ran a system very similar to ours. High pressure, complicated blitzes, and a head coach who loves good defense." Coach Weeze was quoted saying such at Russ's signing. Russ, 6-0, 297 pounds, is another big man in that big defensive middle. Say what you want about the defense, and team as a whole, the middle D-line is big, and its scary.

 

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Paul Fountain, Cornerback.                                           Jonah Epps, Cornerback.

 

           Paul Fountain, 6-1, 177 pounds is a cornerback out of Shelby North Carolina. Crest High school produced the newest, and likely number two Corner. It will be interesting to watch this competition during spring training. Both he and fellow freshman Jonah Epps, will be fighting it out for the number two. Corner was another spot that the Pirates were able to address. Unfortunately, they are all raw, and will take a while to really catch up to speed. Luckily for them, they have a great leader to learn from. Jasiah Francis had a great season and really showed off what he can do. Another player who might have a future NFL career, Jasiah might not have the chance to give scouts what they wanna see as opponents are likely to put Fountain and Epps in the spot light.

 

          Jonah Epps came out of Jacksonville North Carolina. The Northside High School graduate, 5-11, 170 pounds, is currently is listed as the number three corner.  Epps was a very fast, very physical corner at Northside, and looks to bring that physicality here in that nickle spot. That will be a very important feature in the long run as ECU frequently plays teams like USF who bring speed to the field. A fast, strong corner will be vital if they hope to continue their winning ways and their fight to head back to the AAC championship game. While their corners are young and will liekly give up alot of yards, teams will have to remember that Jasiah is not to be underestimated. They should also remember Devin Lloyd and Dillon Gilliam. Both of these guys are talented Safeties who have a nose for the ball.

 

          These four guys won't be all stars this season, and some of them may only see limited playing time. But each of these guys have the chance at being the future face of this team. This is a team that is rebuilding. This will be Coach Weeze's first season as coach from the start. He did what he could taking over in the middle of a season. Now the real test will begin. Can he build this team? They have young, solid pieces to build with. There are alot worse teams out their with out as many tools. Recruiting will be vital. But this is a team, in a few years, might really have a good shot at winning the title they have come close to winning. All they have to do is keep winning, keep making bowl appearances, and they will get the guys they need. We all want them to turn into the powerhouse we know they can be. 

SageBow and Jieret like this

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