GREENVILLE, N.C. – First-year ECU Head Football Coach Mike Houston announced Wednesday that 18 student-athletes have signed a national letter-of-intent with the Pirates.
The NCAA’s early football signing period, which enables high school prospects to ink with collegiate programs in December, extends through Friday. Some notables about ECU’s 2019 initial signing class:
DEFENSE, OFFENSE, SPECIAL TEAMS
Of the 18 newcomers, nine (9) are projected to play on the offensive side of the ball, while the remaining nine (9) will line up on defense (7), special teams (1) and a position to be determined (1 athlete). ECU is looking forward to bulking up its front by adding three offensive linemen and a tight end, while also addressing skill positions with a duo of quarterbacks and receivers along with one running back. On defense, the Pirates signed a trio of linemen, three secondary performers and one linebacker. ECU also inked a placekicker from a special teams standpoint and one multi-purpose athlete.
A FRESHMEN FOUNDATION
Freshmen (16) compose nearly 90 percent of ECU’s early signing class. The Pirates’ two junior college transfers – DT Hozey Haji-Badri (2) and OL Bailey Malovic (2) – have a combined four seasons of eligibility remaining.
GETTING AN EARLY START
In addition to Haji-Badri and Malovic, six incoming freshmen are expected to enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and participate in spring drills with the Pirates – DB Alex Angus, QB Bryan Gagg, WR Jsi Hatfield, DB Ja’Quan McMillian, PK Patrick Nations and ATH Juan Powell.
IN-STATE VALUES, “ENC” PROUD
Houston and his staff’s strong relationships with in-state high school coaches enabled ECU to maintain a notable regional flavor. A total of 11 of the 18 signees hail from prep programs in North Carolina, while Georgia (two), South Carolina (two), Florida (one), Pennsylvania (one) and Virginia (one) were also represented. Nearly half (5) of the in-state newcomers are from the “ENC” (i.e. east of the I-95 corridor).
“We are extremely pleased and excited with the quality and depth of this recruiting class. Not only is there overall balance in regards to our offensive and defensive numbers, we were also able to address some specific needs on both lines of scrimmage and in several of our skill areas. Our program will always be defined by character and integrity, and we feel this particular group certainly meets those values as well.”
ON THE FIELD …. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2019
Houston, who was named ECU’s 22nd head football coach on Dec. 3, inherits a program that posted 3-9 overall mark and stood fifth (1-7) in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division in 2018. The Pirates are expected to return seven starters on offense and seven on defense when spring drills open March 14 before facing NC State in Raleigh on Aug. 31 to kick off the 2019 season.
2019 ECU FOOTBALL EARLY SIGNEE BIOS
Alex Angus, DB, 6-2, 190, Fr., Browns Summit, N.C. (Page HS)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. High School: A two-sport athlete who earned four overall letters at Page High School (three football, one basketball) … Helped head coach Jared Rolfes and the Pirates to a 6-6 overall record and a perfect 4-0 ledger in the Metro Conference as a senior … Earned all-conference honors as a sophomore, junior and senior … Named to the HSXtra.com All-Area team selected by the Greensboro News & Record as a senior … Tallied 97 tackles (50 solo), 11.0 TFLs, eight sacks and six interceptions in three-year prep career which spanned 36 games … As a freshman, played in 14 games and booked a pair of solo stops … Did not play as a sophomore, but bounced back and garnered all-area and all-conference accolades as a junior after netting 58 stops (33 solo) with three TFLs in 13 contests … Picked off six passes for 128 return yards (21.3 avg.) with a pair of scores (38-yarder vs. Davie County, 40-yarder vs. Ronald Reagan) … Also credited with two pass breakups and one fumble recovery in 2017 … Booked 37 tackles (15 solo) to go along with eight TFLs (all sacks) in nine games during senior campaign … Additionally, registered one pass breakup and returned a kickoff for 17 yards … Tallied six tackles and 3.5 TFLs during a 25-8 win against Ragsdale to clinch the league title … On the hardwood, averaged 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds a game as a junior … Considered a three-star prospect and rated No. 64 overall in North Carolina by 247Sports.com … Also stood as one of the nation’s top 150 safeties according to 247Sports.com … Selected to participate in the 2018 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas (Dec. 15) … Officially committed to ECU on Nov. 7, 2018 … Also received offers from Appalachian State, Charlotte and Old Dominion. Personal: Son of Felicia and Brian Angus.
Keziah Everett, DT, 6-1, 325, Fr., Farmville, N.C. (Central HS)
High School:A four-year letterman for coach Scott Gardner who played three different positions for the Jaguars (defensive line, tight end and running back) … Earned varsity position as a freshman because of an injury and led the team in tackles during his prep debut … Two-time All-Pitt County selection by the Greenville Daily Reflector as sophomore and junior … As a sophomore, made 109 tackles, 15 TFLs and eight sacks … Followed up with 79 stops, 18 TFLs despite missing four games because of an injury during junior campaign … Also credited with a forced fumble and recovery in 2017 … On the offensive side of the ball, rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries (5.2 ypc) the last two years of his prep career … Also hauled down a pair of receptions for 47 yards (23.5 ypr) as a junior … As a senior in 2018, was credited with 81 tackles, 18 TFLs, seven sacks, four forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles … Earned invitational to play in the prestigious Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star Game (N.C. vs. S.C.) … Despite size, reportedly boasted a 31” vertical jump, was clocked at a 4.91 in the 40 and had 41 reps of 185 pounds on the bench press (maxed out at 415) … … Considered a three-star prospect, ranked No. 46 overall in North Carolina and is included among the top 70 defensive tackles nationally by 247Sports.com … Also earned three star and was listed as the 55th-best prospect in the state by ESPN.com … Committed to ECU on June 18, 2018 … Announced commitment in unique fashion, running through a tunnel with gold smoke with the ECU entrance video poem playing in the background and emerging holding a flag bearing the Pirates’ mantra “No Quarter” … Also received offers from Appalachian State, Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia … Hailed as one of the state’s top performers in the shot put, setting the 2-A record with a toss of 53 feet, 8.50 inches during a regional meet in May, 2018 (finished second in the state championships with a 52-foot throw). Personal: Son of Keasha Hines and Lonnie Everett … First name is pronounced key-ZI-uh … Grandmother Rosie resides in Greenville and is a minister … Began football career in earnest as a 270-pound running back at the middle school level.
Malik Fleming, DB, 5-9, 180, Fr., Fairburn, Ga. (Hapeville Charter Academy)
High School:A key figure for a Hornets’ program that compiled a two-year 24-3 overall record and a perfect 13-0 conference mark … A two-way player for coach Winston Gordon who also experienced extensive action as a receiver on offense and as a return specialist … Defensively, logged 53 tackles (34 solo), four TFLs, one sack and 14 interceptions during high school career … Tallied 805 all-purpose yards in three years (361 kickoff returns, 359 punt returns, 60 interception returns and 25 receiving) … Scored four career touchdowns … Opened prep career by making varsity squad as a sophomore at Creekside High School and logged 35 tackles, an interception and eight pass breakups on defense, while racking up 274 kickoff return yards … Transferred to Hapeville prior to junior season and made an immediate splash by picking off two passes and blocking a potential game-tying field goal on the final play in the 2017 opener vs. Banneker High School … Topped entire state of Georgia with nine interceptions as a junior to help lead HCA to a state title with a 14-1 overall record … Also tallied four solo stops and three pass breakups on the way to earning 6-AA All-Region honors … In all, racked up 181 all-purpose yards (25 on kickoff returns, 133 on punt returns), had a TD reception, returned a fumble for a score and took and interception to paydirt in 2017 … Closed out career with 14 tackles (12 solo), four TFLs, a 38-yard interception return and one sack in seven contests … Amassed 328 all-purpose yards, 195 coming on kickoff returns (which included on touchdown) … Selected as the Region 6-AA Defensive Player-of-the-Year following senior season … Considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com … Officially committed to ECU on March 17, 2018 … Also received offers from Boston College, Louisville, Syracuse and Tulane … Picked off three passes in the Rising Senior Georgia All-Star Game and starred in the Cam Newton Seven-on-Seven camp. Personal: Son of Tabitha and Otis Fleming … Has two cousins playing in the NFL, including KC Chiefs safety Eric Berry … Two other cousins played college football at Power 5 schools North Carolina (S Donnie Miles) and Purdue (RB D.J. Knox).
Alex Flinn, QB, 6-1, 210, Fr., Fletcher, N.C. (A.C. Reynolds HS)
High School:A two-sport athlete who will finish prep career with a combined six letters at A.C. Reynolds High School – three football, three baseball … Part of a Rockets’ program which compiled a three-year 37-7 composite record, a 22-0 conference slate and three consecutive Western Mountain Conference titles (2016-18) under head coach Shane Laws … Completed 534-of-829 passes for 7,431 yards with 76 TDs and only 20 interceptions prep career … Added 1,088 rushing yards on 287 carries with 24 scores … Surpassed the 100-yard ground single game mark on two occasions … As a freshman, appeared in one game completing one pass for 24 yards on the varsity squad … Followed rookie season by completing 23-of-38 passes for 322 yards with one touchdown during sophomore campaign … Also scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground in 2016 … Had breakout year as a junior, passing for nearly 4,000 yards (3,972) and 40 touchdowns on 300 completions in 447 attempts (67.1 pct.) … Also ran for 451 yards on 118 carries (3.8 ypc) with eight touchdowns in 2017… Guided the Rockets to the Western 3-AA Championship and a state title game appearance (lost to New Hanover 27-17) … Was a MaxPreps/USA Football Player-of-the-Week nominee on Sept. 20, 2017 … Top games as a junior include a 15-of-19, 295-yard, four TD effort in the opener vs. Southern Durham … Surpassed the 300-yard mark on four occasions, which included a season-high 368-yard outing vs. Erwin … Tossed five TDs in back-to-back contests vs. North Buncombe and West Henderson … Was 14-of-25 for 282 yards, rushed for 140 yards on 15 carries and accounted for two TDs during the state semifinals vs. Sun Valley before the setback to New Hanover (was 28-of-49 for 229 yards in the loss) … Completed 210-of-343 passes for 3,113 yards with 34 TDs and only eight interceptions to close out high school career … Rushed for a personal-best 673 yards on 148 carries (4.5 ypc) with 14 scores … Tutored by John Shoop, who spent 20-plus years as a QBs coach and offensive coordinator in the NFL and at the major college level before relocating to Asheville after leaving Purdue in 2015 … Also earned a spot on the Asheville Citizen Times All-Western North Carolina baseball squad in 2018 after batting .340 with four HRs and a team-best 35 RBI … Considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com … Committed to ECU on June 23, 2018 … Won the gold medal at the National Quarterback Skills Competition in Atlanta, Ga., which was hosted by the National Football Academies (finished first out of 169 competitors and was crowned the NFA rising junior national champion) … Invited to play in the Hawai’i Tiki All-Star Bowl (December 2018). Personal: Son of Veronica Langford and Dan Flinn.
Traveon Freshwater, DE, 6-1, 230, Fr., Elizabeth City, N.C. (Northeastern HS)
High School:A two-time Associated Press All-State selection (2016, 2017) on defense under head coach Antonio Moore … Named the Elizabeth City Daily Advance’s 2017 Area Player-of-the-Year … Was thrice chosen to the All-Northeastern Coastal Conference squad (both offense/running back and defense/end in 2017) … Was also the conference’s defensive player-of-the-year in 2017 … Earned All-USA North Carolina First-Team honors by USA Today … Helped the Eagles to a 49-8 four-year composite record (21-1 conference), which includes three conference titles, a 14-1 record in 2018 and an appearance in the NCHSAA Class 2-A championship game … Recorded 482 tackles (347 solo) with 80.0 career sacks (-439 yards) as a four-year starter on defense (48 games) … Registered at least five tackles in all 48 career contests played and recorded 10 or more stops 29 times … Averaged just over 10.0 tackles per outing … Offensively, rushed for 4,727 yards on 337 carries with 61 touchdowns … Ran for 1,000 or more yards in a season three-straight years, including a personal-best 2,015 yards as a junior … Authored 24 career 100-yard rushing games … Opened prep career playing in nine games and booked 64 tackles (54 solo) with 12.0 sacks (-71 yards) … During sophomore season, netted 150 stops (112 solo) with 22.0 sacks (-124 yards) in 14 contests … Carried the ball 110 times for 1,441 yards (103.0 ypg) with 23 scores … Followed sophomore season with a breakout junior year, registering 157 tackles (109 solo) with 27.0 sacks (-145 yards) … Offensively rushed for 2,015 yards on 118 carries with 22 TDs and 11 100-yard games … Integral part of a NHS program that went 13-1 record in 2017 and made a third-round state playoff appearance (lost to state champion Wallace-Rose Hill in a game where he rushed for 188 yards on 23 carries and made 12 tackles) … Top rushing performance as a junior was a career-best 253-yard effort vs. Clinton in the state playoffs … Sacked current ECU QB Holton Ahlers twice in the ’17 season opener which ended up being a 55-49 win for NHS over Conley (sack came at the NSH 10-yard line when Conley was vying to score the game-winning TD) …Named to 2018 Butkus Award High School Watch List prior to senior campaign … Closed out career recording third-straight season with at least 100 tackles (119) and 1,200-plus yards rushing (1,263) in 2018 … Additionally, registered 19 sacks for minus 99 yards … Scored 16 touchdowns on the ground with seven 100-yard contests … Participated in the U.S. Army All-American Game Combine in January, 2018 … Also lettered in basketball, averaging 2.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in 25 career contests … Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and a three-star prospect by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com … Listed as the 17th-best player in the state and the nation’s No. 16 inside linebacker by 247Sports.com, while Rivals.com rates him as the country’s No. 7 weakside defensive end … Officially committed to ECU on Aug. 6, 2018 … Also recruited by Duke, Michigan State, NC State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest … Competed on ECU’s campus during the Pirates’ Beast of the East 7-on-7 Tournament in June, 2018 … Invited to play in the 2018 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Personal: Son of Jennifer and Robert Freshwater … Head coach (Antonio Moore) first saw Freshwater play for the River City Rampage at age 7.
Bryan Gagg, QB, 6-3, 200, Fr., Bradenton, Fla. (Braden River HS)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. High School: A two-year letterman for coach Curt Bradley at Braden River High School … Guided the Pirates to a two-year mark of 19-5, which included a 9-1 conference ledger … Completed 270-of-415 passes for 4,472 yards with 49 TDs to just 11 interceptions during his prep career at BRHS … As a junior, led the Pirates to a 10-2 record that included an appearance in the 2017 7-A Florida State Championship Game … Passed for 2,252 yards by completing 128-of-188 passes (68.1 pct.) with 28 TD passes and five picks … Averaged 225.2 yards per game through the air to earn second-team all-state honors … Completed 142-of-227 passes for 2,220 yards (62.6 pct.) with 21 scores and six picks as a senior … Added 157 yards on the ground on 51 carries in 2018 … Pirates ranked as high as No. 2 in the FHSAA’s 7-A Region 3 power rankings during his senior season … A two-time First-Team All-Area selection by the Bradenton Herald … Opened prep career at Sarasota High School (starting QB as a freshman and sophomore), opening 23 contests and passing for more than 2,500 yards and 25 TDs …Officially committed to ECU on March 24, 2018 while attending the Purple-Gold Spring Game in Greenville … Also recruited by Duke, NC State, Purdue, UCF, Boston College, Wisconsin, Temple and Cincinnati … Considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com … Rated as the 36th-best QB (pro-style) prospect by ESPN.com. Personal: Son of Kathleen and Mike Gagg … Family friend is former ECU RB Earnest Byner (works with mom, Kathleen) … Grew up in New Jersey and began playing flag football (running back) at age five, but was raised in a baseball family … Father Michael was a standout pitcher for William Paterson (NCAA III) from 1985-99, turning in a 19-2 record and a 3.69 ERA (eventually was elected to the school’s hall of fame in 2015) … Uncle Robert Gagg was a 3B/P who was drafted by the Yankees in 1974 and his cousin (Bobby Gagg) was an All-America selection as a pitcher at Coastal Carolina … Family relocated to Florida at age 10.
Hozey Haji-Badri, DT, 6-3, 270, Jr., Chantilly, Va. (ASA College)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. Junior College: A two-time All-Northeastern Conference selection while at ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y. … Appeared in 13 games for the Avengers over two seasons, booking 28 tackles (24 solo) … Also recorded 15.0 TFLs (-43 yards) and 7.0 sacks (-30 yards) to go along with a pass breakup and fumble recovery … Rated as the No. 15 strongside defensive end among all junior college players nationally … Committed to the ECU program on November 19, 2018 … Recruited by Buffalo, UAB, New Mexico, Old Dominion and Western Kentucky out of junior college. High School/Prep School: Three-year letterman at Chantilly High School (2013, 2014, 2015) … Initially recruited by Temple and West Virginia out of high school … Played the 2016 season at Virginia Prep Sports Academy where he tallied 62 stops, which included 17.0 TFLs, 11.0 sacks and four pass breakups … Signed with ASA following a one-year stop at VPSA … Considered a three-star prospect out of high school by 247Sports.com … Also rated as the sixth-best prep player in Virginia (14th-best DE) by 247Sports.com. Personal: Son of Sardasht Haji-Badri … Full name is pronounced HOE-zee HAH-jee buh-DARR-ee.
Jsi Hatfield, WR, 5-9, 175, Fr., Graham, N.C. (Southern Alamance HS)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. High School: A multi-sport athlete (football, basketball, track) who earned five varsity letters at Southern Alamance High School … Was a dual-threat quarterback for head coaches Andrew Carrouth (2016-17) and Fritz Hessenthaler (2018) and helped guide the Patriots to 16 wins during his three-year tenure, including a 9-3 ledger as a senior … Completed 175-of-291 passes (60.1 pct.) for 2,801 yards with 20 TDs during prep career … Rushed for an additional 2,580 yards on 353 carries with 26 scores and authored 13 100-yard rushing efforts … As a sophomore, appeared in six games and passed for 848 yards (64-of-115) with six TDs, while rushing for 212 yards with a pair of scores on 70 carries … During junior campaign, threw for a career-high 1,239 yards on 73 completions (119 attempts) with nine touchdowns … Ran for 817 yards with 10 scores and notched three 100-yard contests … Defensively, booked 15 tackles, picked off two passes and was credited with seven pass breakups … Returned one kickoff (75 yard TD) and a pair of punts totaling 67 yards for an additional score … A First-Team Times-News All-Regional selection at the athlete position in 2017 … Earned a pair of MaxPreps Player-of-the-Week honors … Closed out high school career by completing 38-of-57 passes (66.7 pct.) for 714 yards with five TDs and two interceptions … Rushed for a team-high 1,551 yards on 184 carries, scoring 14 times … Registered 10 100-yard rushing games … Also caught three passes for 89 yards with one score … Booked 10 tackles (nine solo) to go along with three interceptions and one fumble recovery (which was returned 22 yards for a TD) … On the hardwood, averaged 13.7 points per game in 15 contests as a junior while earning another pair of MaxPreps Player-of-the-Week honors … Ran track as a sophomore … A-B Honor Roll student … Considered a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Committed to ECU on June 24, 2018 … Also recruited by Appalachian State, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Marshall, Miami (Ohio). Personal: Son of Rudean Pride … First name is pronounced juh-SYE.
Trent Holler, OL, 6-2, 285, Fr., Latrobe, Pa. (Greater Latrobe HS)
High School:Was a four-year starter at center and defensive end under the direction of head coach Jason Marucco at Greater Latrobe High School … Was a four-time All-Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League 5A 2 All-Conference selection for the Wildcats as an offensive player, while earning similar honors three times as a defender … In all, earned seven varsity letters during prep career – four football, two basketball, one track) … As a junior, booked 40 tackles with seven TFLs and five sacks on the way to second-team all-state honors … Helped Greater Latrobe to its first postseason appearance since 2009 during senior campaign … Was a Preseason SR PA All-State selection heading into the 2018 season … Considered a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Same recruiting service also rated him as the eighth-best center nationally and the No. 29 overall prospect in Pennsylvania … Ranks as the 13th-best center according to Scout.com … Officially committed to ECU on Sept. 22, 2018 … Recruited by Connecticut, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Cincinnati … Promoted to high school freshman team as an eighth-grader. Personal: Son of Sherri and Dick Holler … Mother is an elementary school principal, while father attended college in the state of North Carolina (Elon) … Has two older brothers.
C.J. Johnson, WR, 6-2, 220, Fr., Greenville, N.C. (D.H. Conley HS)
High School:Played key role guiding the Vikings to a 39-13 four-year record, which included a 22-2 conference mark … Earned four letters as a two-way player for coach Nate Conner at D.H. Conley High School … Caught 239 passes for 5,198 yards (108.3 ypg) with 79 touchdowns during entirety of prep career … Additionally, rushed 50 times for 713 yards (14.3 ypc) with 17 TDs … In all, scored 98 touchdowns (79 receiving, 17 rushing, one fumble return, one interception return) and four two-point conversions for 592 points (12.3 ppg) in 48 career games … On the defensive side of the ball, credited with 47 tackles (42 solo) and a pair of interceptions … Appeared in 10 games as a freshman and caught six passes for 195 yards with four TDs, while rushing for 193 yards on 11 carries with three scores … Top rookie effort of note in 2015 was a two-catch, 86-yard outing vs. rival J.H. Rose in a playoff matchup … Followed with an impressive sophomore campaign, grabbing a personal-best 88 passes for a career-high 1,755 yards (146.3 ypg) with 21 scores in 12 games … His touchdown catches ranked among the top eight single-season totals in North Carolina history, while his yardage was among the best 10 ever … Hauled in 68 passes for 1,547 yards (119.0 ypg) and 31 TDs as a junior and added another 110 yards on kickoff returns in 13 contests … The 31 scores stood as the second-highest single-season total in state history … Earned Second-Team All-USA N.C. honors from USA Today and was a First-Team 3A N.C. Preps All-State selection … Helped Vikings to an Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference title (6-0 record) and a third-round appearance in the state playoffs … Caught passes from current ECU QB Holton Ahlers as a freshman, sophomore and junior (156-3,302 yards, 52 TDs) … Closed prep career by tallying 2,267 all-purpose yards (174.4 ypg) … Caught 77 passes for 1,701 yards (130.8 ypg) with 23 TDs in 13 games during the 2018 season … Rushed for 520 yards on 39 carries with 14 TDs and returned one punt for 12 yards and picked off two passes for 34 yards as a senior … Also completed seven-of-12 passes for 42 yards with two TDs … Was the Vikings primary punter, kicking 40 balls for 1,525 yards (38.1 ypp) while landing 12 inside the 20 yard line … Served as a senior team captain … Also played basketball at D.H. Conley and earned three letters … Considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com … Listed as the 49th-best prospect in N.C. by 247Sports.com and 53rd by ESPN.com … Officially committed to ECU May 17, 2018 … Also received offers from Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest … Initiated football career in earnest as a quarterback at the middle school level. Personal: Lists former Pirate wide receivers Dwayne Harris and Justin Hardy as favorite players growing up.
Jeremy Lewis, TE, 6-3, 215, Fr., Greenville, N.C. (South Central HS)
High School:A football and basketball letterman at South Central High School … Was a two-way player for head coach Andy Tew as a receiver/tight end and linebacker … Key part of a Falcons’ program which posted a 26-10 three-year record (13-5 conference) and captured a conference title in 2018 … Caught 108 passes for 2,071 yards and 29 touchdowns during career … Defensively, booked 214 tackles (143 solo) with 30 TFLs and 13 sacks (-98 yards) … Caused six fumbles, recovered three and had a pair of pass breakups … As a freshman, played primarily on the defensive side of the ball and produced 30 tackles, five TFLs and three sacks in seven games … Hauled down 30 passes for 659 yards (22.0 ypc) with eight scores in 11 games during sophomore campaign … Logged 34 tackles, nine TFLs and two sacks (-19 yards) in 2016 … Played in 13 games as a junior, catching 42 passes for 610 yards (14.5 ypc) with 10 TDs … Registered 55 tackles (20 solo) with 11 TFLs and four sacks (-41 yards) on his way to 3A/4A First-Team All-Conference honors … Completed prep career with 36 receptions for 802 yards (22.3 ypc) and 11 touchdowns in 12 contests during the 2018 campaign … Tallied a career-best 95 stops (62 solo) with 18 TFLs and four sacks (-37 yards) as a senior … On the hardwood, averaged 3.6 points and 3.6 rebounds a game over two varsity seasons (26 contests) … Considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com … Regarded as a top state prospect by both ESPN.com (No. 59) and 247Sports.com (No. 63) … Committed to ECU on June 28, 2018 … Also received offers from Charlotte, Duke, North Carolina, Old Dominion, Tennessee, Virginia and Wake Forest. Personal: Son of Tia Chapman … Older brother is Kiante Anderson, a two-year (2016-17) letterman as a defensive end for the Pirates who finished his career with 55 tackles (30 solo), 11.0 TFLs and nine quarterback pressures in 20 games (15 starts).
Bailey Malovic, OL, 6-6, 260, Jr., Irmo, S.C. (Highland CC)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. Junior College: A two-year letterman under head coach Aaron Arnold at Highland (Kan.) Community College … Helped the Scotties to a two-year record of 10-10 … As a freshman in 2017, played in four contests and was part of a HCC offense that averaged 293.5 yards (207.0 rush, 86.5 pass) per game and 19.7 points per contest … Appeared in nine game during sophomore campaign, a year in which the Scotties turned in 25.6 and 395.4 (160.7 rush, 134.7 pass) clips in scoring and total offensive yards per outing, respectively … Ranked as the No. 10 offensive tackle among all junior college lineman nationally … Also recruited by Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic and Coastal Carolina. High School: Earned three letters at Dutch Fork High School under the direction of head coach Tom Knotts … Helped the Silver Foxes to a 36-7 three-year composite record (15-1 conference) … Opened holes for five 1,000-yard rushers, while pass blocking for a pair of 3,000 yard passers … Played an instrumental role paving the way for Matt Colburn (1,705 rushing yards, 27 touchdowns) and Tate Fant (3,000 passing yards, 27 TDs) as a sophomore … Dutch Fork posted a 12-3 record and earned a final state ranking of No. 2 after averaging 424.4 yards per game and scoring 83 touchdowns … As a junior, the Silver Foxes averaged 417.2 yards per game (213.6 pass, 203.6 rush) and scored 48 touchdowns on their way to a 9-4 record and a No. 13 state ranking … Closed out prep career by guiding DFHS to a perfect 15-0 ledger and a No. 1 ranking in the state during senior campaign … The Silver Foxes averaged 436.9 yards per game (208.1 pass, 228 rush) and tallied 83 touchdowns … Opened up holes for a pair of 1,000-yard running backs (Reese Nichols, Ron Hoff) … Considered a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Also received offers from Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Florida Atlantic, New Mexico State, Old Dominion, Southern Miss and UAB. Personal: Son of Heather Malovic … Last name is pronounced MAHL-oh-vick.
Demetrius Mauney, RB, 6-0, 195, Fr., Forest City, N.C. (East Rutherford HS)
High School:Was a four-year letterwinner for head coach Clint Bland at East Rutherford High School … A two-way player for a Cavaliers’ program that posted 26 wins over a four-season span … Selected as a MaxPreps Player-of-the-Game on seven occasions … Amassed 5,074 all-purpose yards (4,427 rushing, 14 receiving, 559 kickoff returns, 74 interception returns) … Rushed for 4,427 yards on 569 carries (6.0 ypc) with 54 ground scores and 22 100-yard rushing performances … Defensively, netted 265 tackles (185 solo) with 43.5 TFLs, 8.5 sacks (-65 yards), two interceptions and seven pass breakups … Returned 18 career kickoffs for 559 yards (31.1 ypr) … Opened high school career by rushing for 491 yards on 82 carries with five touchdowns, while registering 74 tackles (56 solo) with 12.0 TLFs and 3.5 sacks … Nearly rushed for 1,000 yards (989) as a sophomore, carrying the ball 157 times and scoring 13 touchdowns … Tallied 45 stops (34 solo) with six TFLs and one sack … Authored the first of two-straight 1,000 yard seasons as a junior, rushing for a personal-best 1,572 yards on 178 carries with a career-high 20 touchdowns … Booked 63 tackles (36 solo) with 14.0 TFLs and two sacks on defense …Racked up 1,375 rushing yards on 152 carries and 16 TDs as a senior, while booking a career-best 83 tackles (59 solo) with 11.5 TFLs, two sacks and an interception (which was returned 48 yards for a TD) … Selected to participate in the 2018 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … Regarded as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com … Listed as the 44th-best prospect in the state by ESPN.com … Stood among the top 75 “athlete” recruits nationally … Also received offers from Purdue, Appalachian State, Charlotte, Colorado State, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and Temple … Last name is pronounced MOONEY.
Ja’Quan McMillian, DB, 5-9, 165, Fr., Winston-Salem, N.C. (West Forsyth HS)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. High School: A three-sport (football, basketball, track) athlete who earned six letters at West Forsyth High School … Started all four years for the Titans and coach Adrian Snow … Chosen to the Winston-Salem Journal All-Northwest Area squad on three occasions and was a four-time All-Central Piedmont performer … Also named West Forsyth Male Athlete-of-the-Year as a junior … Picked off 22 career passes, returning a pair for touchdowns … Helped the Titans to an 11-1 record in 2017, which included winning the Central Piedmont 4-A title and earning a first-round bye in the state playoffs … Booked 44 tackles, intercepted three passes and was credited with 15 pass breakups as a junior … Sophomore year highlight was blocking a field goal attempt by Reagan High School with 11 seconds left, recovering it and running it in for a TD to secure a 21-13 win as a sophomore … Began prep career by booking 63 tackles, 7 interceptions as a freshman in 2015 (as team advanced to the third round of the state 4-AA playoffs) … Also played quarterback, wide receiver and was a return specialist on the gridiron … Invited to play in the prestigious Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in 2018 … As basketball player, averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in 29 contest as a sophomore … Ran indoor track as a junior, competing in the 100, 200, 4×100 and 4×200 relays, as well as the long jump … Considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com … Listed as the 50th-best recruit in the state of N.C. by ESPN.com and No. 52 by 247Sports.com … Also ranks among the best 125 cornerbacks nationally according to several recruiting services … Officially committed to ECU on July 12, 2018 … Recruited by Syracuse, North Carolina, Louisville, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia. Personal: Son of Nicole Richmond and Stephan McMillian … First name is pronounced juh-KWAN.
Patrick Nations, PK, 6-0, 190, Fr., Tamassee, S.C. (Walhalla HS)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. High School: Earned four letters for coach Padgett Johnson at Walhalla High School … Part of a Razorbacks’ squad that turned in a 9-4 record and a runner-up Class I-AAA finish in 2017 … Captured the 2016 Ray Guy National Underclassman Championship, finishing his sophomore campaign ranked as the top kicker and kickoff specialist in the country … A left-footer who averaged 66.0 yards per kickoff … Earned All-Region I-AAA honors as a kicker, punter, receiver and safety following junior campaign … Converted 36-of-38 PATs and eight-of-13 FGAs with a long of 44 yards for the Razorbacks … Selected to participate in the 2018 Touchstone Energy Bowl … A 2018 Preseason All-State selection as a specialist … Named Class 4A Specialist-of-the-Year by the South Carolina Football Coaches Association following senior season … A two-time Ray Guy Prokicker.com Top Prospect Award winner (2017, 2018) … Rated as the No. 1 kicker nationally by ProKicker.com and No. 4 nationally by Kohl’s Kicking … Other recruiting services listed him as a five-star prospect as a kicker and a three-star recruit as a safety … Ranked among the best 30 players (overall) in the state of South Carolina according to ESPN.com … Also lettered in basketball … Officially committed to ECU on June 19, 2018 … Participated in ECU’s camp during the summer of 2017 … Also recruited by Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia Tech among others … Reportedly drilled a 68-yard field goal during a practice session and also nailed a 63-yarder during a Ray Guy camp. Personal: Son of Janice and Dennis Giles.
Juan Powell, ATH, 5-11, 170, Fr., Atlanta, Ga. (Douglass HS)
Will officially enroll early at ECU (January, 2019) and is expected to participate with the Pirates in spring drills. High School: A two-way player for the Astros who earned four letters for coach Rodney Cofield at Douglass High School … Rushed for 3,881 yards on 423 carries (9.2 ypc) and scored 45 touchdowns … Recorded 18 career 100-yard rushing games … Rushed for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons as a junior and senior to close out prep career … Additionally, completed 17-of-44 career passes for 463 yards and eight scores, while catching 22 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns … Fumbled only once in 423 carries (33 games) … Defensively, credited with 18 tackles (11 solo) over the last two years … Picked off a pair of passes as a senior and picked up 106 return yards and two touchdowns … Forty-five of 48 career TDs came on the ground … Tallied 4,578 all-purpose yards … Earned initial varsity roster position as a freshman and then became a starter at tailback (Astros went 6-4) … Named DHS’s 2016 Player-of-the-Year by MaxPreps.com as a sophomore after rushing for 998 yards on 102 carries with 11 touchdowns … Earned All-Region 6-AA honors as a sophomore as well … Followed breakout season with 1,336 ground yards on 167 rushes with 14 scores as a junior playing primarily the quarterback position … Added all-state and Region 6-AA Offensive Player-of-the-Year honors in 2017 … Finished prep career with second-straight 1,000-yard season (1,432 on 130 carries) and a team-best 19 TDs on his way to Region 6-AA Athlete-of-the-Year honors … Against Tri-Cities, rushed for 277 yards and scored five touchdowns (4 rushing, 1 interception return) … Pick-six against TCHS went for 81 yards … Considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com … Also rates among the top 130 cornerbacks nationally … Officially committed to ECU on March 21, 2018 … Recruited by Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern, Massachusetts, Syracuse, Tennessee and Tulane and USF. Personal: Son of Angie Bates … First name is pronounced juh-WANN.
Chad Stephens, LB, 6-0, 225, Fr., Greensboro, N.C. (Southeast Guilford HS)
High School:A three-year letterman and two-way (running back, linebacker) standout for head coach Kennedy Tinsley at Southeast Guilford High School … Helped turn around a Falcons’ program that compiled a three-year record of 29-10 (14-3 conference), which included a 14-2 ledger, a Mid-Piedmont 3-A Conference title and a NCHSAA Class 3-AA Championship Game appearance (defeated Cape Fear, Eastern Guilford, Dudley and Cleveland before falling to Weddington) in 2018 … Falcons closed out regular season play ranked No. 2 in the HSXtra.com poll … Rushed for 1,116 yards on 209 carries with 17 ground scores during prep career (38 games) … Additionally, caught 52 passes for 518 yards and four touchdowns … Amassed 1,693 all-purpose yards … Defensively, booked 35 tackles (29 solo) with a pair of sacks, four interceptions and two touchdowns … Played junior varsity as a freshman before earning promotion to varsity squad in 2016 … Opened high school career rushing for 628 yards (second on the team) on 120 carries (5.2 ypr) with seven touchdowns as a sophomore … Also hauled in seven passes for 126 yards and one score .. As a junior, rushed for 220 yards on 31 attempts with two touchdowns, while catching a career-best 30 passes for 228 yards and three TDs despite experiencing more action on defense (35 stops, 2.0 TFLs, 2.0 sacks and an interception) … Closed out career with 268 yards on the ground (58 carries) and eight touchdowns as a senior … Added 15 receptions for 164 yards at receiver and three interceptions (75 return yards) from the linebacking position … Opened career as a running back at the middle school level … A three-star prospect according to 247Sports.com … Committed to ECU on June 3, 2018 … Also received offers from Air Force, Army, Navy and Charlotte … Prep teammate of current Pirates’ DL Trey Love. Personal: Son of Jennifer and Cameron Stephens … Father works for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department.
Nishad Strother, OL, 6-3, 290, Fr., Havelock, N.C. (Havelock HS)
High School:Earned three letters for head coach Caleb King at Havelock High School … Was a two-year starter (junior, senior seasons) on both lines of scrimmage … Key part of a Rams’ program that rolled to a combined 40-5 record in 2016, 2017 and 2018 … Defensively, accounted for 11 tackles (six solo) and 2.5 TFLs … As a sophomore, helped the Rams to a 13-2 mark and an appearance in the Class 3A semifinals … During junior campaign, HHS averaged 48.6 points and 469.8 yards of total offense (276.9 pass, 192.9 rush) per game, while scoring 112 offensive TDs on the way to the Eastern 3-A title and a 14-2 record … Charged with protecting quarterback Zach Sabdo, who passed for 4,281 yards and 47 TDs, while opening holes for a pair of 1,000 yard rushers (current ECU player Khalil Barrett and Cameron Hutchinson) … Closed prep career by leading the Rams to a 13-1 clip while averaging 476.8 yards per game (182.1 pass, 294.7 rush) and scoring 93 TDs … Rush blocking produced multiple (Hutchinson, Anthony Harris) 1,000-yard rushers for the second-straight season … Began prep career on junior varsity squad in 2015 … Earned offensive MVP honors at ECU’s Big Man Camp in June, 2018 and officially committed shortly thereafter on June 26 … Considered a two-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Also recruited by Charlotte and Georgia State. Personal: Son of Yadira and Mathew Strother … Full name is pronounced NYE-shod STROWE-thur … Older brother Omar also played at HHS, and as a WR, helped team to a 13-2 record in 2009.
2019 ECU FOOTBALL EARLY SIGNEE ROSTER
NAME POS HT WT CL. HOMETOWN (Previous School)
Alex Angus* DB 6-2 190 Fr. Browns Summit, N.C. (Page HS)
Keziah Everett DT 6-1 325 Fr. Farmville, N.C. (Central HS)
Malik Fleming DB 5-9 180 Fr. Fairburn, Ga. (Hapeville Charter Academy)
Alex Flinn QB 6-1 210 Fr. Fletcher, N.C. (A.C. Reynolds HS)
Traveon Freshwater DE 6-1 230 Fr. Elizabeth City, N.C. (Northeastern HS)
Bryan Gagg* QB 6-3 200 Fr. Bradenton, Fla. (Braden River HS)
Hozey Haji-Badri* DT 6-3 270 Jr. Chantilly, Va. (ASA College)
Jsi Hatfield* WR 5-9 175 Fr. Graham, N.C. (Southern Alamance HS)
Trent Holler OL 6-2 285 Fr. Latrobe, Pa. (Greater Latrobe HS)
C.J. Johnson WR 6-2 220 Fr. Greenville, N.C. (D.H. Conley HS)
Jeremy Lewis TE 6-3 215 Fr. Greenville, N.C. (South Central HS)
Bailey Malovic* OL 6-6 260 Jr. Irmo, S.C. (Highland CC)
Demetrius Mauney RB 6-0 195 Fr. Forest City, N.C. (East Rutherford HS)
Ja’Quan McMillian* DB 5-9 165 Fr. Winston-Salem, N.C. (West Forsyth HS)
Patrick Nations* PK 6-0 190 Fr. Tamassee, S.C. (Walhalla HS)
Juan Powell* ATH 5-11 170 Fr. Atlanta, Ga. (Douglass HS)
Chad Stephens LB 6-0 225 Fr. Greensboro, N.C. (Southeast Guilford HS)
Nishad Strother OL 6-3 290 Fr. Havelock, N.C. (Havelock HS)
*early enrollee (January, 2019)