football Edit

Corona Crisis Likely to Lead to Fiscal Recruiting Challenges For ECU

Mike Houston outlines the unique challenges that Covid19 has created for recruiting this year.
Mike Houston outlines the unique challenges that Covid19 has created for recruiting this year. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

The Covid19 crisis has created some interesting challenges with football recruiting, many of which will affect the way East Carolina goes about its business for the 2021 recruiting class and maybe even into 2022.

First of all, everyone can return next season regardless of their class, expanding scholarship rosters to unprecedented levels. How that will work at ECU remains to be seen but it most likely will mean some players will exit at season’s end and the Pirates could end up bringing in fewer players overall.

“It’s like everything else in 2020, it’s unprecedented. You’ve got Alabama, Georgia,South Carolina and Florida (high schools) playing and North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia is not playing,” said Houston, “So it makes it really tough from an evaluation standpoint on both the seniors and the juniors.”

The inability to gage the progress of rising seniors (and juniors) on film and in live action doesn’t help matters at the high mid-major level where the recruits that they actually have a realistic opportunity to land may improve or digress during this period of inactivity.

“On a lot of guys, you really want to see that senior film and those kids are being robbed of that,” Houston stated, “It’s also complicated by the ramifications of basically everybody getting an extra year of eligibility from this year.”

“I just thing the whole thing is crazy. We’re recruiting kids and we can’t see them face to face and you can’t bring them on campus to let them see the facilities and let them see a game day. You can’t see them live. That’s really put a big premium on live evaluations. This whole thing with the pandemic is not going to be a one year impact on your recruiting and your rosters."

"This is going to be a three year and four year impact on not only the high school kids but the current kids that you have on your roster right now. It’s something everybody has to deal with. You’ve got to be able to manage the roster and still bring guys in because you’ve got to have a freshman class four or five years from now. It’s just really going to be tough.”

So far, ECU has landed eleven commitments for the 2021 class. Of those, four are ranked three star, four more are ranked two star while three others remain unranked with a combined nine offers.

Many times ECU finds an abundance of diamonds in the rough but while many of those players have developed into quality picks, it has not translated into many victories over the past several years.

It all puts a premium on landing quality in-state talent in a state like North Carolina where you no longer can charge out-of-state recruits in-state tuition rates. The schools who can do that best will come out of the Coronavirus pandemic in a better financial stead than those who do not.

“Financially I would think in-state guys would help more but the whole deal is you can’t have misses and guys who are wasting a scholarship,” Houston told PirateIllustrated.com on Monday, “So it’s important that you’re using your slots wisely.”

“You have your 85 scholarships and you have your 25 counters for the incoming class of recruits. Then all of your seniors and everybody getting an extra year of eligibility, so you’re going to see some teams that have 110 scholarships next year because those plus ones above the 85 from where your senior class is don’t count,” said Houston.

“You’re going to come down to institutions being limited financially because you’re in a pandemic. This is not a one year deal. This is a three or four year problem that schools are going to have to navigate and deal with.”

Stay tuned to PirateIllustrated.com for continuing coverage of both East Carolina recruiting and Tulsa game week heading into Friday’s 9 pm kickoff on ESPN 2.