seniors will gather on the field inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the
last time wearing purple jerseys. The memories of presenting their
families with roses will undoubtedly be etched into their minds
forever. It will signify the end of hard work, sweat and tears spent on
Back in the 1990s on every senior day, the entire class would pose in
tuxedos for the cover of the game program. With SIDs constantly
changing, every director has their own flair to commemorate the class.
But I distinctly remember those classy pictures of the guys who devoted
their lives to advancing ECU’s program.
Though it may be premature to conclude, what will be the legacy of this
senior class? Are they players that failed to carry the torch of
tradition or ones that have now sustained the flood waters? Isn’t this
the class that many Logan inked when he was “burnt out?” Are fans ready
for them to be flushed out of the program to make way for younger more
Only time will tell. During their four years, the 2005 class has an
amassed an 11-34 (.239) overall record. Statistically, this graduating
class has won the least amount of games over a four-year span since the
1987 class went 11-33 (.250).
But does the blame really lie on the players? Many would argue the
different administrations, coaching merry-go-round and outside
influences tainted the team’s record more than a lack of recruiting.
And then there’s this season. Even though the perennial corner still
has yet to be turned, this year’s class has exuded more on-the-field
leadership than 2003 and 2004 combined. Holtz continues to praise their
newfound camaraderie even through tough losses like Tulsa. Saturday’s
win over Marshall just reinforces what the coaching staff has been
Holtz continues to talk about building a foundation. Before any winning
program can be constructed metaphorically, rebar and concrete must
positioned. According to Holtz, the few five-year players have bought
in, willing to make the adjustments necessary to be successful.
But what if these survivors had the help of their fallen comrades? What
if the recruiting crapshoot had swung in ECU’s favor with a couple of
critical recruits? Would the 2005 class be debated as one of the worst
to come through in the last two decades?
Remember the first couple of weeks during college? Classes are packed
and parking spaces are sparse. But whatever reason as time progresses,
students can’t take the daily grind of school. Though it is a simple
task, people have family problems, drug problems or situations that
arise causing them to drop out. For a lack of a better term, they don’t
make the cut.
What if some players, both from the 2001 and 2002 signing classes
panned out? For every Richard Koonce, there is a Reicko Jones. The
players like Jones end up wasted potential leaving only ECU to suffer.
sobering reminder of players that could be handing out roses on
Hudgins- Hudgins never became academically eligible. He transferred to
Leathers- Leathers was a pure athlete out of Bath. He never became
Butler- Butler is currently a junior with the Florida Gators. A 6’7”
guard, Butler has made 32 career starts. The Lexington recruit heavily
considered ECU before deciding on Florida.
Cox- Cox played for Greg Thomas at JH Rose. The defensive back never
saw the field after playing for the practice squad during his first two
White- Even though the big OL signed, White never came to Greenville.
He never became academically eligible.
Woodard- Woodard never enrolled at ECU presumably from not becoming
Nealy- Antoine was the younger brother of former ECU linebacker Kent
Nealy. The younger brother started at free safety under John Thompson
in 2003 before he was kicked off the team for an off-campus incident.
Nealy was later reinstated, but never again saw significant playing
Peterkin- Peterkin was an undersized wide receiver. He suffered a
severe back injury that caused him to miss the 2003 season. He was a
student assistant with the football team in 2004.
Wright- Wright was a top tier quarterback recruit from N.J. Even though
he was freakishly athletic, Wright never really adjusted to the move to
receiver. He transferred back near his home where he set numerous
Division II records as a receiver.
Troth- Had Troth not wasted a redshirt by handing the ball off in 2001,
he would currently be a senior. Troth was probably the biggest bust in
ECU’s recruiting history. A top national recruit, Troth’s career was
mismanaged from the get-go. But any illusions of becoming the next
great quarterback were quickly erased when John Thompson named Desmond
Robinson the starter in 2003. Troth transferred to Liberty and
struggled for playing time.
Brogden- Brogden was never a Division I-A recruit. He played as a true
freshman in 2002 at cornerback. He struggled again in 2003 at corner
and was moved to safety midseason. Frustrated, Brogden transferred to
Liberty where he excelled.
Harris- Harris’s career remains an enigma. The sure bust of 2002,
Harris brought in big time credentials upon entering Greenville. Harris
had the size and speed to be a quality receiver. But he struggled for
playing time early in his career and quit the team midway through 2004.
Holtz gave him a shot during the spring of 2005, but again his name
didn’t appear on the fall roster.
Jones- Jones played as a true freshman in 2002. Jones showed promise
while being named to the C-USA All-Freshman team. Penciled in as the
starter for his sophomore campaign, Jones flunked out of school. He
Jorgensen- Jorgensen decided to leave the football team in the spring
of 2004 for personal reasons.
Mercier- Mercier quit playing football soon after signing.
Terry- Terry played for former ECU skipper Ed Emory at Richmond Co. The
athletic defensive end earned a letter in 2003, but was not on the
roster in 2004.
Woolford- Woolford was redshirted in 2002. The White Oak product played
on the scout team, but didn’t earn a letter in 2003. He was not on the
roster in 2004.
Inman- Inman has been a three-year starter at Georgia. The son of
former Pirate great Wayne Inman, the surefire verbal reneged when BCS
teams kept calling. Inman locked in his Pirate verbal during his junior
year. Midway through his senior year, Inman spurned ECU. Inman probably
would have been a four-year starter and one of the all-time ECU greats
at the tackle slot.
Watkins- Watkins is currently a junior at UNC. Originally from Scotland
Co, Watkins verbally committed to ECU. Instead, Watkins changed his
commitment and signed with the Tarheels. Watkins started all 12 games
as a sophomore at defensive back. He currently has 19 tackles in 2005.