Casual fans who follow the East Carolina schedule from afar, and perhaps ignore the majority of the rest of the college football news, may have freaked out about the number of players who entered the transfer portal this spring from the Pirates list. But those who understand the current state of the sport – with so many players having more eligibility than originally expected due to the COVID-19 year – realize that there is a tightening of the list with each program accordingly.
ECU has not been immune to this, as 11 scholarship players have entered the program since February, with the majority occurring after the Spring Ball ended in early April. None of the players were expected to contribute heavily to this year’s squad.
Of the players who have entered the portal, only three have found homes so far, with the cornerback Jayden Chalmers transfer to Campbell, wide receiver troy lewis finish at James Madison, and away T.J. Lockley engaging in Jacksonville State.
During the 2021 season, teams were allowed to have more than the typical 85-man scholarship limit due to COVID. This fall, that number dropped back to 85, leading many programs to trim their rosters this winter and spring. May 1 was the deadline for players to access the portal and maintain immediate eligibility at a new school for next season.
“We talked about it a little over a year ago when you had the blanket waiver and everyone got an extra year of eligibility,” the fourth-year ECU coach said. mike houston mentioned. “As soon as that happened, we played over 85, like everyone else in the country, in 2021. It got us 85 scholarships, but with so many players taking the year offered to them, you end up in a situation where all the rosters have to go back to 85 before this fall, so everyone in the country is faced with a situation where they don’t have as much roster space. You will see many of them.
In addition to losing some players through the portal, hackers feel like they’ve upgraded with a few potential immediate-impact additions. Among this season’s transfer class are three wide receivers in Isaiah Winstead (Toledo), Jarett Garner (duke) and Jaylen Johnson (Georgia), and three offensive linemen in justin red (State of Norfolk), Ben Johnson (Marist) and Parker Moorer (West Virginia).
These moves could not have been made without some players down the depth chart leaving the program.
“I think for us you had guys where you look and they’re not going to see the field for us here,” Houston said. “The players want to play. The thing that we try to do when a child comes to us and they enter the portal, we try to make sure that we help them find a landing spot. That’s my biggest concern, that they have a landing spot. I think you’re going to look up and see there’s a lot of athletes in the portal that don’t have a landing spot because there’s no roster spot nationally .
The Pirates are expected to have just nine seniors on the 2022 roster, and the squad is still made up of mostly underclassmen going forward. This means that the scholarship space will be further restricted in the upcoming recruiting classes.
“Next year’s class (for 2023), we only have eight (scholarships to give away) right now, and that’s a ridiculously low number,” Houston said. “Now I think there will be more. We kind of plan to watch 10 in total because I think you’ll have some attrition. But at the end of the day, even still, all 10 It’s not going to be high school student-athletes. It’s going to be high school and transfer. Everyone is going to look at it like that.