ECU’s Mike Houston: ‘We are eastern North Carolina’s football program. In time, we will be North Carolina’s football program’
East Carolina coach Mike Houston added three players to his first recruiting class on Wednesday to go with 18 signatures gained in the early December signing period. But that’s not all.
Houston said Branden Pena, who started four games at right guard before a season-ending leg injury, has been granted a fifth-year waiver from the NCAA.
The Pirates also hope Nate Harvey, the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, receives a favorable ruling. ECU appealed to the NCAA that Harvey’s 2015 year at Georgia Military College should be considered a redshirt.
“We did get a request for additional information, which I think is positive,” Houston said. “We hope to have a decision on Nate by the beginning of spring practice.”
Spring football is tentatively set for mid-March, but with the dates to be announced. Eight recruits enrolled early to take part.
The three new signatures were junior college transfer tight end Zech Byrd (6-7, 265) of Garden City (Kan.) Community College, and two high school defensive linemen, Rick D’Abreu (6-2, 240) of Chester, Va., and Immanuel Hickman (6-3, 260) of Chesterfield, Va.
Byrd was an ESPN 4-star high school prospect committed to Florida, but he never signed after he suffered a broken ankle. He has three years eligibility remaining after 2017 as a redshirt at Garden City and playing in 2018.
“He won’t need them,” said Fontel Mines, the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. “I told him we weren’t bringing him here to sit.”
Zech Byrd (6-7, 265), TE, Garden City (Kan.) Community College
Rick D’Abreu (6-2, 240), DL, Chester, Va., Dale High
Immanuel Hickman (6-3, 260), DL, Chesterfield, Va, Matoaca High
Alex Angus (6-2, 190), DB, Browns Summit, Page High
Keziah Everett (6-1, 325), DL, Farmville, NC, Central High
Malik Fleming (5-9, 180), DB, Fairburn, Ga., Hapeville Charter Academy
Alex Flinn (6-1, 210), QB, Fletcher, Reynolds High
Traveon Freshwater (6-1, 230), Elizabeth City, Northeastern High
Bryan Gagg (6-3, 200), Bradenton, Fla., Braden River
Hozey Haji-Badri (6-3, 270), DL, Asa College
Jsi Hatfield (5-9, 175), WR, Graham, Southern Alamance
Trent Holler (6-2, 185), OL, Latrobe, Pa., Greater Latrobe High
C.J. Johnson (6-2, 220), WR, Greenville Conley High
Jeremy Lewis (6-3, 215), TE, Greenville South Central
Bailey Malovic (6-6, 260), OL, Highland Community College
Demetrius Mauney (6-0, 195), RB, Forest City, East Rutherford High
Ja’Quan McMillian (5-9, 165), DB, Winston-Salem, West Forsythe High
Patrick Nations (6-0, 190), PK, Tamassee (S.C.), Walhalla High
Juan Powell (5-11, 170), Athlete, Atlanta Frederick Douglass High
Chad Stephens (6-0, 225), LB, Greensboro, Southeast Guilford High
Nishad Strother (6-3, 290), OL, Havelock High