In the end, I think we will all be pretty happy with today’s recruiting class when it comes to when and how these young men perform for the Pirates. With the Pirates on the short list for some very highly-regarded players, the focus seemed to be on whether or not any of them would actually sign.
And those coveted players…well…they all chose to sign elsewhere. Disappointing for sure, but with all of the hoopla over whether or not they would opt for ECU on signing day, it may be easy for folks to discount the young men who DID sign…who wanted to be Pirates.
There are some good ones on this list…kids who had they said they were going to wait till today to sign, we would of been discussing just like the boys who chose to go elsewhere.
The class of 18 (for now) breaks down like this:
- 12 prep players
- 6 JUCOs
- 11 defensive players
- 7 offensive players
- 5 DBs, 6 LBs on defense
- 3 WRs,
- 4 OLs on offense;
They hail from: NC (5), SC (3), FL (2), CA (2), VA (2), MS (2), DC, GA
I am happy with this haul of players, though I am also concerned about what we see and do not see in this class. So, here are my thoughts…for what they are worth.
- The kids Ruff and crew brought in pass the eyeball test (maybe even the sweating eyeball test). There have been years where kids came in that didn’t even look like top division football players. These kids all look the part.
- We signed 4 OLs and they have serious size.
- Defensive backs-a-plenty and all are quality,
- Athletic Linebackers out the wazzoo
- 3 WRs…the JUCO, particularly, could really be a stud here, and with our young talent, he must be special.
- We have more than 18 schollies to give and when we only signed 18, we didn’t panic and grab anyone available…I like that this staff clearly knows what they are looking for in players.
- No Running Back. When I spoke to Lincoln Riley, he seemed to indicate that the staff really thought that either Cross or Duncan would have come. It doesn’t even matter if it was one those two, but we needed at least one RB in this class, IMO. Even the JUCO that we are all reading about, we need bodies. Bullock is the starter…and Hunt will be the back-up, but after that we have Dobson, who has talent but always seems to make a mistake at the worst time and while Chris Hairston has promise, his injury was pretty bad. UPDATE: Due to insufficient brain capacity, I forgot Hunter Furr is in the mix now…which does greatly appreciate our RB situation. Riley is jacked to see how he performs in spring. I feel better now. Thanks to JPG for that gentle reminder.
- No Quarterback. This one particularly irks me. Lincoln told me that they had a bunch of good quarterbacks interested but Coker was the one he wanted. Coker committed and continued to say he was solid and we told the other guys to find another place to go because we don’t recruit “like that” and it burned us. We need at least 1 QB in each class…or so Riley has consistently insisted.
- I know we are not microwaving the program here, but we sure did seem to JUCO it hard this year (a full one-third of the class).
- We didn’t sign a DL in this class. I am assuming that Dontrill Hyman is definitely coming; hence, we are already fine at DL.
- We only signed 5 from NC…I am wondering what this means? A shift in philosophy or just “the way it worked out this year?
So, here are my thoughts on the highlights in this class:
Biggest needs met: Clearly, Adonis Armstrong (CB) and Lucas Thompson (S) were pivotal in this class. Armstrong is a lock down corner with big-play abilities and he can return kicks and Colby Brown was also brought in to play now. Thompson is simply that good already as a true freshman. He may be on the depth chart as a true freshman. Godfrey Thompson was also a big pickup in the secondary, too. This defense could be amazing next season, but only if the secondary can get up to speed quickly.
Offensive Big Gets: We needed OLs badly because we need depth, particularly at tackle. So, getting McLaughlin was huge. He could press for time early. I like Revia as well.
Linebackers: Dre Scarborough. I am assuming he will be an OLB, but that mother can hit. And with that kind of speed and being a jaw-jacker, maybe he finds himself inside? Either way…nice pickup for the Pirates.
My favorite gets…Lance Ray…I think he is going to be a special WR here…much like Lewis was his two years. And, Jabril Solomon is a special looking talent.
In the end, I am with Ruff…they gotta want to be here. If not, they will never pan out regardless of who they may be or whatever pedigree they have. Now…I am focused on spring ball…which can’t get here soon enough. Please share your thoughts on what you like, don’t like about this class.