IRVING, Texas – East Carolina sophomore running back Keaton Mitchell has been named to the 2022 All-American Athletic Conference First Team for the second-straight season according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday afternoon. He is the first Pirate since Justin Hardy (2012-14) to earn first-team honors in multiple seasons.
Junior cornerback Malik Fleming and junior wide receiver C.J. Johnson were also tabbed to the Second Team while graduate wide receiver Isaiah Winstead earned Honorable Mention accolades.
Mitchell currently leads The American and ranks 11th nationally with 120.5 rushing yards per game. He also paces the league in total yards (1,325) and slots second in the country in yards per rush (7.4). Mitchell is the first Pirate since Tay Cooper (2012-13) to eclipse 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons and enters ECU’s bowl game having surpassed 100 yards in six-straight contests while upping his career total to 2,900 – just one behind Carlester Crumpler for fourth on the program top-10 list. He owns seven 100-yard efforts this year and 14 in his career, including a personal best-tying 222-yard performance in the regular season finale at Temple where he also accounted for a career single-game high four touchdowns (three rushing/one receiving). Mitchell has registered eight rushing touchdowns in his last six outings and ranks second in the conference with 13 scores on the ground.
Fleming has logged 41 tackles (27 solo), including 2.5 TFLs, a team-high six pass breakups, three interceptions and a fumble recovery. He ranks second in the league in interceptions and fifth in breakups. Fleming has booked multiple tackles in all but one game this season, including a campaign-high five stops at Tulane and in the Pirates’ quadruple-overtime win against Memphis. His three picks have occurred in the last six contests (Memphis/UCF/Temple). Fleming also notched a pair of breakups to help ECU knock off UCF in Greenville back on Oct. 22.
Johnson finds himself among the AAC leaders in receiving touchdowns (9/3rd), receiving yards (933/5th) and receptions (60/7th) and ranks 14th nationally in receiving touchdowns. He needs just 67 yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in a season while it would give East Carolina a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers for the first time in program history. Johnson earned AAC Weekly Honor Roll status Oct. 3 after enjoying a career day in the Pirates’ 48-28 victory against South Florida in Boca Raton as he tied the school and AAC single-game record with four receiving touchdowns while racking up 197 yards on seven catches. Johnson currently ranks fifth on the program career list in receiving yards (2,706) and receiving touchdowns (20).
In his first season in a Pirate uniform, Winstead ranks third in The American in both receptions (82) and catches per game (6.8) while slotting fourth in receiving yards (1,013) and receiving yards per game (84.4). Among FBS players, he sits eighth in receptions, 21st in receiving yards and 26th in receiving yards per game. He logged a touchdown in four contests and racked up a season-high 154 yards on nine catches in ECU’s four-overtime win against Memphis. With 74 more receiving yards, Winstead will match Aundrae Allison (2005) for the 10th most in a single season by a Pirate. Including efforts in stops at Norfolk State and Toledo, he is 61 yards away from 3,000 for his career.