RALEIGH — Despite being less than a month removed from National Signing Day, East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill was back on the recruiting trail Wednesday at the Raleigh Sports Club.
Serving as the guest speaker in front of more than 175 fans, McNeill worked the stage as well as any sideline until a hall bursting with Wolfpack red, two different shades of blue and occasional flecks of black and gold all seemed to have a tint of purple.
McNeill, a Lumberton native and former defensive back at ECU, spoke of the importance of recruiting athletes that are “great kids and great players,” saying, “I want people on our team that can make a team great more than I want great players.”
McNeill, whose Pirates (10-3, 6-2 Conference USA) recorded the second-highest win total in school history this past season and captured victories against N.C. State and North Carolina, said he was just trying to introduce himself to those that may not know him as well.
“I think it’s always proper to teach people about my values and what I believe in. Some people here might know of me, but not know who I am,” McNeill said. “I came here today to make sure everyone understood my values and what I believe and tell them a little bit about the team.”
McNeill’s speech along with his Q & A session with the fans can be heard Thursday at 1 p.m. on WRAL-99.9.
Stanley’s condition improving
After being involved in a single-car accident that left him hospitalized for nearly two weeks, rising junior defensive tackle Terrell Stanley was released from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville last Sunday and is close to rejoining the team for workouts, according to McNeill.
“We’re hoping,” McNeill said. “He’s progressing, and knowing Terrell, he’s the type of player that heals real quick. I’m praying he can get back to working out real soon.”
On Feb. 12, Stanley was driving teammate Isaac Harris to a morning workout when he had trouble navigating the icy roads and crashed his vehicle. The 6-2, 266-pound Stanley racked up 46 tackles and seven sacks last season to earn all-A C-USA honorable mention.
Webster, Pirates part ways
Danny Webster’s early-February DWI arrest was the final straw for McNeill, as the Pirates’ fifth-year coach disclosed the wideout would no longer be a member of the ECU football team.
“Danny’s going to have his opportunity to play somewhere else,” McNeill said. “It was an understood decision; wasn’t much of a conversation.”
In 2013, Webster was suspended five games into the season for violating team rules. In 2012, Webster was suspended for the season opener following an August automobile accident in which he was charged with reckless driving.
Webster, a senior, finished his Pirates career tallying 95 receptions for 894 yards.