Courtesy of East Carolina Athletics
GREENVILLE, N.C. â€“ Despite having less than two weeks to tackle his initial recruiting efforts and fill the void caused by the departure of 28 seniors, first-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill delivered by addressing balance and character as the Pirates announced their 18-member 2010 signing class Wednesday.
Of the 18, nine are projected to play on defense, seven will play on offense with two others signing as multi-purpose athletes. Defensively, the Pirates inked eight prospects to help rebuild the unitâ€™s front seven, while adding one secondary performer. On offense, ECU is looking forward to including three linemen, two quarterbacks, one running back and one receiver to its roster.
â€œOur first priority was to make sure we had an opportunity to meet with all of the players and parents who had committed to East Carolina and assure them that we shared the qualities and character to succeed on and off the field,â€ McNeill said. â€œAlthough we had a short turnaround, I felt that we took advantage of that time and the resources available to us to keep this group together.
â€œWhile this particular class is balanced in terms of offense and defense, the need to address certain positions is evident on the defensive side of the ball,â€ McNeill added. â€œI am also pleased we were able to add a quarterback and a multi-purpose athlete to this initial group to enhance our depth, especially with new systems weâ€™ll put in place.â€
In addition to a pair of mid-year junior college transfers who were announced in December, four freshmen and one junior are currently enrolled in classes at East Carolina and will participate in spring drills next month. DE Maurice Falls, LB Jeremy Grove, DE/LB Derrell Johnson and RB Alex Owah joined junior college signee OL Anthony Garrett in the Piratesâ€™ program early.
McNeil, who was named ECUâ€™s new head coach Jan. 21, inherits a program that posted a 9-5 record last year, which marked the Piratesâ€™ fourth consecutive winning campaign. East Carolina has also captured back-to-back Conference USA titles and capped the 2009 campaign by playing in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl â€“ the programâ€™s fourth-straight bowl appearance.
â€œAs always, people of character, integrity and quality determine what kind of program we have, â€œMcNeill closed. â€œWith this group, I feel that objective has been accomplished.â€
2010 EAST CAROLINA FOOTBALL SIGNEE BIOS
Detric Allen, DB, 6-0, 180, Fr., Norwood, N.C. (South Stanly)
High School: A three-year varsity starter for coach Luke Little â€¦ His 14-yard touchdown run with 44 seconds left gave the Rebel Bulls a 19-12 opening-round 1A playoff win over Lakewood last fall â€¦ Named to the NCPreps.com 1A All-State team as a defensive back senior year â€¦ Named to the All-Yadkin Valley team on defense and special teams following his final campaign â€¦ As a junior, threw for 1,000 yards and had more than 500 yards receiving and rushing despite being slowed by an ankle injury â€¦ Also picked off four passes as a safety in 2008 â€¦ Completed 109-of-187 passes for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore â€¦ Picked up 623 yards on 51 carries in 2007 â€¦ Ranked among ESPN.comâ€™s top 130 (128) best athletes in the nation â€¦ Rated as the 24th-best prospect in North Carolina by Scout.com â€¦ Timed at 4.66 in the 40-yard dash â€¦ In addition to football, played basketball for South Stanly.
Desi Brown, QB/ATH, 6-2, 190, Fr., Webster Groves, Mo. (Webster Groves)
High School: Scored the game-winning touchdown in Webster Grovesâ€™ Class 5 Missouri State Football Championship victory over Fort Osage last November â€¦ Helped the Statesmen finish with a flawless 13-0 mark and first state title since 2002 â€¦ Described as a â€œpro-styleâ€ passing quarterback with a strong and accurate arm â€¦ In a three-quarterback rotation at Webster Groves, rushed 87 times for 557 yards and seven touchdowns â€¦ Added 119 yards passing and one touchdown â€¦ Threw for more than 900 yards and 11 touchdowns, while rushing for 550 yards and seven additional scores as a junior at South Stanly High School in Norwood, N.C., before move to Missouri â€¦ Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.87 seconds during testing combine â€¦ A standout basketball player at South Stanly who averaged 14 points per game as a junior â€¦ Also excelled at track at SSHS, placing sixth at the 2009 state meet in the 100-meter hurdles and seventh in the 300-meter hurdles.
Shane Carden, QB, 6-3, 205, Fr., Bellaire, Texas (Episcopal)
High School: Three-year starting quarterback and senior captain at Episcopal â€¦ Led the Knights to their first Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) title since 1994 during final prep campaign â€¦ Completed 16-of-24 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns, leading Episcopal to the 52-7 victory against Kinkaid in the SPC State Championship Game â€¦ A two-time all-state selection who guided an offense that averaged 382 yards and 35 points per contest â€¦ Voted Episcopalâ€™s most valuable player as a senior after a 1,871-yard, 17-touchdown passing performance â€¦ In all, accounted for 138 points in 2009 â€¦ Earned Ford Built Tough and Channel 2 (KPRC-TV) Offensive Player-of-the-Week honors during senior campaign â€¦ Selected as the Houston 4A Offensive Player-of-the-Year â€¦ Led a turnaround for a Knights program that recorded a 5-4 mark his sophomore year, a 7-3 ledger as a junior and a 10-1 record his senior season under coach Steve Leisz â€¦ Completed prep career with 4,213 total yards, 2,894 passing yards and 276 points â€¦ Participated in the Nike Elite 11 camp â€¦ Played with a cast on a fractured wrist during initial high school season in 2006 (junior varsity). Personal: Full name is Shane Michael Carden â€¦ Born November 11, 1991 at Newport Beach, Calif. â€¦ Son of Jay and Scoti Carden â€¦ Plans to major in business with a minor in sport management â€¦ Lists Chris Johnson as his all-time favorite Pirate player â€¦ Lists hobbies as snowboarding, surfing and hunting â€¦ Father played professional baseball for eight years in the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos organizations, while mother was a collegiate volleyball player and track athlete â€¦ Older brother Austin is a pitcher at Rhodes College while other brother, Christopher, is a pitcher at UC Davis â€¦ Uncle, Gordon Adams, was a quarterback at Southern California â€¦ Involved with Episcopalâ€™s Challenger program that works with special education students â€¦ Has also donated time to the Students of Service group, which rebuilds and repairs homes for the poor and elderly.
Maurice Falls, DE, 6-2, 210, Fr., Belmont, N.C. (South Point)
Officially enrolled early at ECU in January of 2010 and will join Pirates for spring drills, thus signed a grant-in-aid with the program instead of a letter-of-intent (per NCAA policy) ... A December, 2009 graduate of South Point High School. High School: A two-year starter and three-year letterwinner for head coach John Devineâ€™s varsity squad â€¦ Helped South Point to three consecutive conference championships, starting as a sophomore â€¦ Booked 118 total tackles as a senior, leading Red Raiders to the North Carolina 3AA Championship - the programâ€™s first since 2003 â€¦ Anchored a defense that helped South Point to a 14-2 record, which included a season-ending seven-game winning streak â€¦ Helped a Red Raider unit hold opponents to just 15.6 points per contest â€¦ As a junior, earned All-Big South 3A Conference honors after making 68 tackles, including 13 sacks, in his first year as a defensive end after playing safety and cornerback â€¦ Repeated All-Big South honors as a senior â€¦ A two-time All-Gaston Gazette selection â€¦ Reportedly, turned in a 40-yard dash time of 4.5 seconds â€¦ Also won a Big South track title in the triple jump last spring â€¦ Personal: Full name is Rodney Maurice Boyce Falls, but goes by Maurice â€¦ Born January 1, 1992 at Gastonia, N.C. â€¦ Son of Norman and Tiffany Falls â€¦ Lists his most memorable football moment as recovering the onside kick that helped South Point clinch the state championship â€¦ Lists LaRon Landry has his favorite NFL player and Kobe Bryant as his favorite professional athlete.
Anthony Garrett, OL, 6-5, 305, Jr., Prairie Village, Kan. (Fort Scott CC)
Officially enrolled early at ECU in January of 2010 and will join Pirates for spring drills. Junior College: Helped Greyhounds to No. 2 national ranking in the final National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)/JCFootball.com poll after his team completed the year with an 11-1 mark â€¦ Guided Fort Scott to an 11-game winning streak to start the season and its first regular season Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) title since 1974 â€¦ Anchored a line that allowed the Fort Scott offense to gain 4,765 total yards to rank among national junior college leaders â€¦ Greyhounds also averaged 32.3 points per contest â€¦ Paved the way for NJCAA Player-of-the-Year Jasmin Hopkinsâ€™ 1,931 rushing yards in 2009 â€¦ Also blocked for ECU December signee (quarterback) Dominique Davis, who completed 113-of-215 passes for 1,467 yards and eight scores â€¦ Second-Team All-KJCCC selection as a sophomore for head coach Jeff Sims. Personal: Full name is Anthony Joshua Garrett â€¦ Born November 10, 1989.
Jacob Geary, LB, 6-3, 220, Fr., Hillsborough, N.C. (Cedar Ridge)
High School: A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter for the varsity unit at Cedar Ridge â€¦ Tallied 162 tackles as a senior â€¦ Booked 133 stops and nine sacks as a junior â€¦ Credited with 21 tackles and had a fumble return against Burlington Cummings during junior campaign â€¦ Ranked as the No. 53 inside linebacker nationally by ESPN.com â€¦ Coached by his father, Lou Geary, at CRHS â€¦ Also competed on the Red Wolvesâ€™ track team, finishing as the runner-up in the discus at the 2009 state meet.
Drew Gentry, OL, 6-6, 285, Fr., Tallahassee, Fla. (North Florida Christian)
High School: A two-year varsity letterwinner at Maclay School in Tallahassee before transferring to North Florida Christian for the 2009 season â€¦ Coach at NFC was Tim Cokely â€¦ An All-Big Bend First Team selection by The Tallahassee Democrat as a senior â€¦ Named to the 2009 SunStateFootball.comâ€™s Preseason All-Area Team â€¦ Rated by ESPN.com as the 41st-best offensive tackle in the country â€¦ Team captain as a sophomore and junior at Maclay â€¦ Earned honorable mention all-district and all-region honors as a sophomore before earning first team all-conference recognition after junior year at Maclay â€¦ Competed on the track team at MHS, placing 15th in the shot put at the Tallahassee City Championships as a sophomore â€¦ Also played basketball at Maclay and North Florida Christian, helping the former to a pair of district championships. Personal: Full name is Stephen Gentry â€¦ Prefers to go by nickname of Drew â€¦ Born July 6, 1991 at Evansville, Ind. â€¦ Son of Michael Gentry â€¦ Plans to major in political science and minor in education â€¦ An Honor Roll student all four years â€¦ Says if he could change one thing about the NCAA involving college football it would be the bowl system â€¦ Lists Jeff Saturday as favorite current NFL player.
Jeremy Grove, LB, 6-1, 231, Fr., Ijamsville, Md. (Gov. Thomas Johnson)
Officially enrolled early at ECU in January of 2010 and will join Pirates for spring drills, thus signed a grant-in-aid with the program instead of a letter-of-intent (per NCAA policy) ... A December, 2009 graduate of Gov. Thomas Johnson High School. High School: A two-year starter for the Patriotsâ€™ varsity unit â€¦ A Honorable mention Big School All-State and First Team All-Monocacy Valley Athletic League selection as a senior â€¦ Recorded 107 tackles, including 19 for lost yardage, during final prep campaign â€¦Also rushed for 337 yards and four touchdowns â€¦ Played for the Baltimore squad in the Maryland Crab Bowl, the stateâ€™s only high school all-star game â€¦Tallied 95 tackles, including 16 for a loss, in eight games as a junior despite missing three contests due to an ankle injury â€¦ Coached by Ben Wright at Thomas Johnson, who regarded Grove as a â€œsolid run-stopperâ€ â€¦ Ranked by ESPN.com among the top 75 inside linebackers nationally â€¦ Scout.com rated him as the 34th-best prospect in the Mid-Atlantic (region) â€¦ Played his first two seasons at Urbana High in Ijamsville, Md., before transferring to Thomas Johnson â€¦ Was among team leaders in tackles as a sophomore at Urbana â€¦ Clocked at 4.78 seconds in the 40-yard dash during programâ€™s timing day â€¦ Turned in a bench press of 405 pounds and a squat of 530 pounds. Personal: Full name is Jeremy Howard Grove â€¦ Born April 24, 1992 â€¦ Was friends with the late Pitt Panther receiver Billy Gaines, who was from his hometown â€¦ Grove dedicated himself to playing football at the Division I level as a youth after Gaines died in a fall from a church rafter following his freshman year at Pitt â€¦ An Honor Roll student in the classroom.
Mack Helms, DE, 6-3, 275, Fr., Tallahassee, Fla. (Leon)
High School: A three-year letterman for the Lions and head coach Bill Ragans â€¦ Started on the offensive line his junior year before starting at both offensive tackle and nose guard positions as a senior year â€¦ An All-Big Bend First Team selection by The Tallahassee Democrat as a senior â€¦ Named to the 2009 SunStateFootball.comâ€™s Preseason All-Area Team â€¦ Helped Leon average 25.0 points per contest in 2009, as the team went 6-4 â€¦ Lions advanced to the district quarterfinals before falling to Lake City, 24-14 â€¦ Credited with 41 tackles, including nine for lost yardage, and six sacks on the defensive side of the ball as a junior â€¦ As a senior, graded out at 86 percent on the offensive line in 2009 â€¦ Turned in a 5.0 time in the 40-yard dash, a 4.6 NFL agility shuttle clip and bench press of 350 during power testing â€¦ Ragans regards him as â€œa big team playerâ€ â€¦ Also lettered in weightlifting and track at LHS â€¦ Excels in the classroom with a 3.40 grade point average and is a member of the schoolâ€™s Honor Roll â€¦ Began playing football in ninth grade while residing in Katy, Texas after having been homeschooled up to that point â€¦ Katy High School Mike Johnston encouraged a tryout which resulted in a varsity roster position during initial campaign (before move to Florida). Personal: Son of Mack III and Page Helms, and the grandson of Mack, Jr. and Myra Helms â€¦ Father played golf at Florida.
Taylor Hudson, OL, 6-5, 290, Fr., Greenville, S.C. (Mauldin)
High School: A three-year starter at offensive tackle at Mauldin High School â€¦ Helped the Mavericks and head coach Doug Shaw capture a 32-21 Class AAAA Division I playoff victory over Fort Dorchester â€¦ Anchored a line that allowed MHS average 40.8 points per game â€¦ Named to the All-Greenville County First Team as a senior and junior â€¦ Rated by ESPN.com among the top 60 (55) offensive guards in the country and was labeled a three-star recruit â€¦ A High School Playbook All-Area Team selection as a senior â€¦ Recipient of the Mauldin teamâ€™s Maverick Award â€¦ Participated in the 2009 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas â€¦ Helped propel Mauldin from a 6-6 record in 2008 to a 10-3 mark in 2009 â€¦ The Mavericksâ€™ 10 wins tied the 1976 school record for most victories in a season â€¦ Reportedly timed at 5.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Personal: Volunteers for the Mauldin Fire Department in his spare time.
Lamar Ivey, ATH, 6-1, 182, Fr., Mebane, N.C. (Eastern Alamance)
High School: As a senior, led Eastern Alamance to a 14-2 record and a runner-up finish in the 3A state playoffs â€¦ The 14 wins set the school record for victories in a season â€¦ Helped Eagles claim their first regional title in program history â€¦ As a quarterback, threw for 2,210 yards while leading the team in rushing with 1,407 yards en route to all-region offensive player-of-the-year honors â€¦ Accounted for 43 combined touchdowns as a senior â€¦ Engineered an offense that scored a school-record 613 points (38.3 ppg) â€¦ Graduated with a senior class that was the winningest in Eastern Alamance football history â€¦ Rated by ESPN.com among the top 110 (107) athletes nationally (three-star recruit) â€¦ Named to the NCPreps.com 3A All-State First Team â€¦ Also was a Mid-State 3A all-conference first-team honoree as a senior â€¦ After final campaign, earned Eastern Alamanceâ€™s Torry Holt Offensive Player-of-the-Year Award â€¦ Participated as a wide receiver in the 2009 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas â€¦ Turned in a 4.4 clip in the 40-yard dash.
Derrell Johnson, DE/LB, 6-1, 218, Fr., Baltimore, Md. (Wyoming Seminary)
Officially enrolled early at ECU in January of 2010 and will join Pirates for spring drills, thus signed a grant-in-aid with the program instead of a letter-of-intent (per NCAA policy). Prep School: Helped Blue Knights and coach Terry Karg to a No. 3 national ranking among the nationâ€™s prep schools â€¦ Wyoming Seminary went 7-1 with the only loss being a 7-6 defeat at Poly Prep Country Day â€¦ Part of a defensive unit that held opponents to only 6.8 points per game and posted three shutouts. High School: Graduated from The Cardinal Gibbons School in Baltimore, Md. â€¦ Tallied 150 tackles as a senior â€¦ Named to the All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association team after his final campaign. Personal: Full name is Derrell Kevin Johnson â€¦ Born March 27, 1990.
Damon Magazu, WR/DB, 5-11, 175, Fr., Charlotte, N.C. (Providence)
High School: A three-year starter and team captain for head coach Randy Longâ€™s Panthers â€¦ Played defensive back and receiver, and added punt return duties for Providence â€¦ A three-time Southwestern 4A Conference honoree â€¦ Capped career by being named Southwestern 4A Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year after tallying 11 pass breakups, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries â€¦ Named to the Charlotte Observerâ€™s Preseason All-State Team â€¦ As a junior, intercepted 11 passes, including four against Myers Park â€¦ In addition, booked 124 tackles, seven pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 2008 â€¦ Rated by ESPN.com as the 140th-best athlete in the nation â€¦ Recorded a time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and possesses a 36-inch vertical leap â€¦ Also is a point guard for the Providence basketball team and averaged 13.3 points as an all-league player last season. Personal: Father, Dave, is the Carolina Panthersâ€™ offensive line coach â€¦ Oldest brother, Anthony, is a quarterback at Kent State while older brother, Dominick, plays wide receiver at Appalachian State.
Alex Owah, RB, 5-11, 190, Fr., Harrisonburg, Va. (Hargrave Military)
Officially enrolled early at ECU in January of 2010 and will join Pirates for spring drills, thus signed a grant-in-aid with the program instead of a letter-of-intent (per NCAA policy). Prep School: Awarded three stars by ESPN.com â€¦ Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds during timing day. High School: Stood No. 38 on The Roanoke Times' Top 100 list of high school football prospects as senior at Harrisonburg High School â€¦ Despite injured-plagued senior season, still registered over 100 carries and 1,000 yards â€¦ As a junior, rushed for 1,795 yards and scored 24 touchdowns â€¦ Tallied 28 total touchdowns as a sophomore â€¦ Finished career with 5,475 rushing yards, the second-highest total in school history and 32nd on the Virginia High School Leagueâ€™s all-time list â€¦ Also ran track at HHS, earning three varsity letters and winning the state championship of the Group AA 200-meter dash, 100-meter dash and long jump as a senior â€¦ Lettered once in basketball. Personal: Full name is Alexander Eugene Owah â€¦ Nickname is A.O. â€¦ Born June, 6, 1990 â€¦ Lists his favorite football memory as breaking the Harrisonburg High School single-game rushing record â€¦ Lists Chris Johnson as his all-time favorite Pirate player.
Lee Pegues, DE, 6-2, 255, Fr., Bennettsville, S.C. (Marlboro County)
High School: A four-year starter who was a three-time all-region selection â€¦ Was credited with 90 tackles and 10 sacks as a seniorâ€¦ Helped Marlboro County and head coach Dean Boyd to a 13-1 record, falling just one game short of reaching the state (AAA) title game â€¦ Selected to play in the 2009 South Carolina North-South All-Star Game â€¦ Named to the High School Sports Report AAA All-State Team in 2009 â€¦ Scout.com rated him as the 34th-best prospect in South Carolina â€¦ Made 112 tackles, 20 tackles for a lost yardage, 10 sacks and one interception during junior season, in which the Bulldogs fell in the state semifinals to Myrtle Beach in what many consider to be the best game in county history â€¦ Reportedly owns a bench press of 400 pounds, a squat of more than 500 and a power-clean lift of 300 â€¦ Finished second in the Armed Forces Classic (weight lifting event) in his age division â€¦ Played for former Pirate receiver Mitchell Galloway, who is a volunteer assistant coach on the Marlboro staff.
Torian Richardson, WR, 5-10, 169, Fr., Greer, S.C. (Byrnes)
High School: Led the Rebels with 50 catches for 962 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior â€¦ Also returned two punts, both for touchdowns, and six kickoffs for 128 yards for coach Chris Miller â€¦ Named to the all-region team as a senior â€¦ Prior to the start of the 2009 season, The State ranked him as the 33rd-best senior in South Carolina â€¦ Helped Rebels capture the 2007 and 2008 AAAA Division I State Championships and a runner-up finish as a senior â€¦ Scout.com rated him as the 23rd-best prospect in South Carolina â€¦ Key member of the BHS program that opened the â€™09 campaign with a No. 2 national rank by PrepNation â€¦ A three-star prospect according to ESPN.com, which ranked him among the top 100 receivers nationally â€¦ Took part in the NIKE 7ON Tournament before his senior season â€¦ Also ran track and was an all-region honoree as a junior â€¦ Plans to major in business management at ECU. Personal: Full name is Torian Rashad Richardson â€¦ Born January 6, 1990 â€¦ Son of Kelvin and Latis Richardson â€¦ Nickname is T-Rich.
Chrishon Rose, DE, 6-4, 275, Fr., Forestville, Md. (Bishop McNamara)
High School: Helped Mustangs to an 8-3 record and a league playoff berth as a senior â€¦ Part of a defense that shut out three opponents during the 2009 season â€¦ A second-team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference selection as a senior following an honorable mention nod as a junior â€¦ An honorable mention Big School All-State honoree following his final campaign â€¦ Named to the Gazette-Star Second Team as a senior â€¦ Played for the Washington squad in the Maryland Crab Bowl, the stateâ€™s only high school all-star game, and was credited with five tackles â€¦ Played for Bryce Bevill, the DCSportsFan.comâ€™s Coach-of-the-Year â€¦ Also wrestled for Bishop McNamara.
Terry Williams, LB/DE, 6-1, 255, Fr., Loganville, Ga. (Grayson)
High School: Three-year starter for the Rams â€¦ As a senior captain, led Grayson to a 12-1 record with the only loss being a 9-7 setback to Newnan in the third round of the state playoffs â€¦ Helped Rams to a final state ranking of No. 5 â€¦ Was the leading tackler on a defense that allowed just 8.1 points per game and recorded five shutouts â€¦ Totaled 87 stops, four sacks and two interceptions as a senior â€¦ Named to the Associated Press All-State First Team and the Gwinnett Daily Post All-County First Team â€¦ Also picked up Linebacker-of-the-Year award from the Gwinnett County Touchdown Club and was selected to play in the Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Game â€¦ As a junior, made 97 tackles with six sacks and an interception â€¦ Tallied 106 tackles and one sack as a sophomore â€¦ Spent time on offense in short-yardage situations as a junior, and scored six touchdowns â€¦ Helped Grayson to back-to-back Region 8-AAAAA championships â€¦ Ranked by ESPN.com among the nationâ€™s top 65 inside linebackers â€¦ Was described by head coach Mickey Conn as â€œa run-stopper who also possesses pass coverage skillsâ€ â€¦ Turned in a 40 time of 4.8 seconds.