Ruffin McNeill and company seem to be putting together quite a recruiting class this year, with six players receiving three stars or more according to scouts. In each of McNeill’s previous two recruiting classes, there has never been more than five. Keep in mind that ECU still may get a few more recruits this season.
With signing day quickly approaching, let’s take a look at the three-star future Pirates coming in on the offensive side of the ball:
Kurt Benkert (QB): Island Coast High School, Cape Coral, FL
Ht: 6’ 3”
Unsurprisingly, Kurt Benkert is receiving the most hype of this recruiting class thus far, which seems to be the case with any quarterback recruit. He enrolled early to be able to participate in spring practice, and just completed his first day of classes at ECU.
But when it comes to football, Benkert has everything that fans want to see in a quarterback. He has a huge arm and can make all the impressive throws. Benkert looks very comfortable throwing on the run as well and isn’t afraid to run the ball himself. Benkert seems to do alright with the decision making process, but focuses on primary reads a bit to often.
He is an exciting prospect for sure, but with Shane Carden’s success, don’t be surprised if Benkert redshirts this upcoming season. Either way, look for Benkert to be Carden’s eventual successor.
Most similar to: Shane Carden
Brandon Smith (OL): East Forsyth High School, Kernersville, NC
Ht: 6’ 7”
When it comes to being a physically dominant offensive lineman, Brandon Smith fits the bill. His hulking frame sways across various reports on the internet, from 6’7” to 6’8” and anywhere from 300 to 330 pounds. Regardless, the Pirates are bringing in a big body.
Smith looks comfortable when run blocking, and seems to have relatively quick feet for being so large. He has played both guard and tackle in high school, and its unclear which he will play for ECU.
Most similar to: Adhem Elsawi
Jabo Lee (RB): Dillon High School, Dillon SC
Ht: 5’ 9”
40 time: 4.51
This could be the player most likely to contribute right away for the Pirates. Jabo Lee wrapped up his high school career with his third state title victory, a 21-6 victory over Fairfield-Central High School. On the football field, Lee is used to getting it done.
Lee is a shifty runner, who uses his small stature to his advantage. But, unlike most small running backs, he does not shy away from contact. If the Pirates continue the trend of using multiple running backs, then Lee would be an excellent change-of-pace back. He could be used similarly to how Darren Sproles is used in a crowded New Orleans Saints backfield.
Most similar to: Reggie Bullock
Isaiah Jones (WR): Austin High School, Austin, TX
Ht: 6’ 2”
40 time: 5.08
Isaiah Jones comes from a strong bloodline of talent on the gridiron. Jones is the son of former ECU linebacker (and three-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboy) Robert Jones. His older brother, Cayleb, plays wide receiver for Texas. Not to be outdone, Isaiah has shown great promise as a future target for Carden.
Jones is a very reliable target. His highlight tapes are riddled with impressive grabs and poise under pressure. Jones can make a catch with a defender right on him, and seems comfortable splitting double coverages. The biggest knock on Jones is that he does not have breakaway speed. Jones will need to work on his quickness and ability to run after the catch to be more of a complete receiver.
Most similar to: Andrew Bodenheimer