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    [2022] Historic Freshman of ECU

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    Historic Freshmen

    Young Pirates and Their Impact


    Liam Carver 164 of 284 for 1964 yards, 15 TDs, 7 Ints, 128.34 QBR. 58 attempts for 280 yards, 1 TD, 4.82ypc (2018)


              We spent sometime in a previous article discussing the impact of freshmen in ECU's loss to Northwestern. ECU will be playing a lot of freshmen and first time players this season leaving a lot of potential to set new records, and make a huge impact for this team. But this raised the question of former impactful freshmen and what standard they left behind for these young guys to beat. The Pirates began play in 2014, and we quickly discovered that for the most part, not too many freshman have ever started for ECU over the years. In fact, the 2022 season has already seen the pirates tie the 2016 season for freshman pirates making the stat sheet after 1 game. In 2016, a season where ECU went 2-10, the Pirates had 5 freshman make the statsheet. ECU could potentially break the record this year with more than those five taking starting positions. Obviously though, ECU hopes to finish with a much better record and keep their bowl streak, and continue building their record of being one of a handful of schools to have 7 or more wins in 6 or more seasons.


              Obviously, one of the biggest freshman in the schools history, as well as being one of the biggest record holders at the school, is quarterback Liam Carver. While his numbers are obviously nothing to be impressed with, and P5 schools might look at these numbers and scoff, it is important to note the ECU before Coach Weeze took over the program in 2019, ECU did not have a pass heavy offense. Before his 15 touchdowns in 2018, the most touchdown passes by an ECU QB was Kevin Moore's 12. In 2014. But even with his lack luster numbers, Carver helped lead his offense to the schools second Conference Championship appearance. His numbers, especially being under Coach Weeze's tutelage drastically improved the next three years where he had over 3000 yards in each season, as well as throwing for 17, 29 and 24 touchdowns respectively in each of those seasons. With Kyler Wilson being the only other QB in school history, he is already on pace to beat his former teammates freshman season. He fits the mold for who the headcoach wants at QB, expect big things from this man.



    Devin Scruggs 301 attempts for 1310 yards, 10 touchdowns, 4.35 YPC(2017)


              As we mentioned, before Coach Weeze arrival to ECU in 2019, the Pirates ran a dominate run game. Eli Tuitama is a well known figure at ECU. He did Well enough that the New York Jets even drafted him. But as a freshman in 2016, he played his recruited position as a Fullback. He was redshirted in 2017, and thanks to a weird injury to the starter, took reps at running back and won the job. The only freshman running back however in school history to have more than 20 attempts, is Devin Scruggs. Starting in only 10 games in 2017, he still managed to put up 1310 yards, and 10 touchdowns. The Pirates suffered only their second and last losing season that year, but he was a huge bright spot for the offense. The emergence of Tuitama in 2018, and the coaching change in 2019 really hurt Scruggs and saw his chance at starting slip away. He started in one game in 2018 where he left early, but did get a chance in 2020 to start. He started against UCF and USF as a result of the coaching staff trying to jump start a sluggish run game. He only managed 117 yards and 1 touchdown on 31 attempts however. Ironically, these two games probably prevented Tuitama from having 1000 yards or more every year as the starting rusher. Despite losing his chance at being a starter, he still managed to rush his way to third all time rushing leader. Multiyear starters James Hanes(2nd) and Eli Tuitama(1st) have the leading rusher honors. Had the Pirates Redshirted Scruggs in 2018 or 2019, he could have stayed till 2021, a season they desperately needed a runningback.



    Jared Talbert 59 Receptions for 919 yards, 12 TDs, 15.58 YPC(2021)


              In 2020, Leon Burris burst onto the scene, making an impact few expected. He was the first true freshman to ever start at the WR position for the school. He managed to fight his way into the lineup despite clearly not being ready to start at this level early on. He worked hard and was given the opportunity to make school history. With only 550 yards receiving, and 6 touchdowns, he improved drastically the following year being Carvers main target. But the records he set the year before were completely decimated by Jared Talbert. Liam Carver had one non freshman receiver during the 2021 season. A funny stat when you consider before 2020, no freshman had ever started at the position. Talbert was recruited out of alabama, and arrived a clear day one starter. Burris, who finished the season less than 20 yards from being the first in school history to have a 1000 yards, had true freshman Talbert riding his heels, braking his freshman records easily. Talbert finished the season with 59 receptions(ranks 3rd in single season), for 919 yards(3rd single season), 12 touchdowns(1st single season and only second ever in school history to reach 10 or more). He and burris became the first duo in school history to reach 900 each. His 15.58 YPC is also a school record for a single season. Talbert is under close observation this season as he currently, with this year included, only six touchdowns away from breaking the school career record. However he isn't the only one. His rival across the field is also a handful touchdowns away as well.



    Aiden Daniels 17 tackles, 3 TFL, 5.5 Sacks, 1 FF(2021)


              ECU has seen a few freshman on offense. Never on the offense of line, a couple at receiver, two at quarterback, and only 1 at running back. Defense however is another story. Over the years, they have seen a number of players start on defense. A lot started during the 16-17 seasons, which also corresponds with the 4-20 record they posted during those two years. However, few have ever posted eye popping numbers. Something this current team, if they are looking to leave a lasting statement, can really take advantage of. The post productive player has probably current DE, Aiden Daniels. As a true freshman, he was apart of probably one of the best pass rushes the school has ever seen. A big part of Coach Weeze plan for the team, was to build up a defense. A long standing problem the team has faced has been a lack of pass rushing from the front 7. More so from the line. They've had productive linebackers, but the line has always seemed to struggle when it comes to getting after the qb. Recruiting in this area has been excellent. one of these players include Aiden Daniels. Starting acorss from Isiah Townsend last season, Daniels managed to record 5.5 sacks last season. With Townsends 7.5 sacks, the duos 13 sacks is the most the school has ever gotten out of the two DE positions. With Aiden coming back, with more experience to his name, and Theo Guinn, the first 4* DE in school history, across from him, we should see a big improvement in this area. If last weeks game against Northwestern is any indication, we could see a very scary pass rush come from the Pirates.


              There hasn't been too many other players to make a huge impact on the team in their freshman season. OLB Fredrick MClaughlin in 2016 may be another name worth mentioning. His 39 tackles is the highest any freshman have ever recorded in a single season. Richard Jack and his 5 tackles is off to a good start to try and top this number. But its gonna take a lot. Especially if the offense can be as good as it looked last week all season.


              The Pirates have had some successful freshman over the years, but if they can pull everything together, they might see some of the best this season the school has ever seen. They have great play makers on defense who showed up big despite their loss. The Wide receiver corp has yet another freshman this season who came out big last week, almost becoming the first freshman receiver to get 100 yards receiving. The QB obviously had a great game with his 299 yards and 3 touchdowns. Its going to be a long season, and we can't wait to see what happens. Hopefully tomorrow, we will get a big time win against a big instate rival!


    Go Pirates!

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