East Carolina opens ’21 preseason camp

GREENVILLE, NC – East Carolina Third Year Head Football Coach Mike houston kicked off the 2021 campaign in earnest Wednesday morning by guiding the Pirates through their first official practice of the season at Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore training complex.

After waking up at 6:15 a.m., having breakfast, treatments, position meetings, and a 10-minute tour, Houston and her team led a 110-minute fundamentals-focused practice in shorts and headphones in unusually cool and humid conditions. The ECU will follow Wednesday’s training with sessions until Saturday before its scheduled first day of rest on Sunday.

“It’s great to be out on the first day of training,” said Houston. “It was an exciting day and just just nice to be together again. Today was a little more normal and it’s great to be closer to what we’re more used to doing at this time of the year. ‘year. There was good enthusiasm and good effort on the part of the kids, but we also had a lot going on the first day on the pitch. “

The 2021 Pirates return 10 starters on offense and nine on defense, and again welcome a total of 59 men of letters from a team that recorded an overall rating of 3-6 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Due to the NCAA’s COVID waiver which granted an additional year of eligibility, the ECU has lost just 15 letterers from a season ago, including starters Blake proehl (D), Damir Faison (OLB) and Chris Willis (OF). In addition, two members of the Pirates special teams team – record kicker Jake verity and snapper Robert hill – must be replaced.

Topping the list of offensive returnees is the senior center / guard Fernando frye (22 career starts), junior quarterback Holton Ahler, second year receiver Tyler snead and first year runners Rahjai harris and Keaton mitchell. Ahlers, Snead, and Harris led the Passing, Receiving, and Rushing Pirates, respectively, a year ago. Ahlers, who opened 25 games, a tag team-high, has 7,093 yards and 51 touchdowns in his career, while Snead has 134 receptions for 1,519 yards and 14 touchdowns. Harris won the 2020 American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year honors after running for 624 yards and four scores, and Mitchell added 443 more on rushing.

East Carolina defense brings back its top eight tackles of 2020, including junior inside linebacker Xavier smith who totaled 72 saves last fall after setting a record 81 in 2019. The Pirates are also firing players who won 17 of 18 takeaways a year ago – a total that was among the top 25 at level nationwide – and featured notable FBS producers. in first-year defensive tackle Elie Morris (3rd in recoveries), second-year cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian (6th in interceptions) and second year safety Jireh wilson (16th in forced escapes).

“It’s refreshing to find the experience we have of guys who played so much last year,” added Houston. “We’re bigger, faster, stronger and fitter and look a lot better now than in the spring game. We continued our mental progression in terms of mental discipline and strength, which comes afterwards. a few months of training together. “

The Pirates are scheduled to switch to shells (shoulder pads) for the first time Friday before full practice Tuesday under NCAA rules. ECU will close camp on Saturday, August 21 with its second scrum before returning to a regular schedule in the late afternoon in preparation for its opener against Appalachian State in Charlotte on Thursday, September 2.

NOTES ON THE CAMP: The Pirates officially opened the camp with a roster of 118 men – the standard 110, plus eight COVID waiver seniors (OL Sean bailey, HE B Bruce bivens, OL Justin chase, OL Fernando frye, WR Audie Omotosho, HE B Aaron Ramseur, SAF Warren Saba, P Jonn young) … Bivens and Ramseur are both four-year-old men of letters with the chance to win a particularly rare fifth monogram, while Ramseur and Bailey are each in their sixth season at ECU … Seven additional members of the Global Fall List of 126 ECU men will be activated to practice status on the first day of class (August 23) … ECU start date of August 4 marks the last “camp opening” for the Pirates in five years or since 2016 (2021 / August 4, 2020 / July 31, 2019 / August 2, 2018 / August 3, 2017 / August 3, 2016 / August 4 … East Carolina was ranked eighth (tied with Marine) according to the AAC Preseason Media 2021 poll was released earlier on Wednesday (defending champion Cincinnati was the overwhelming pick to repeat with 22 first-place votes).

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