Spring superlatives: East Carolina

Recently, several of my co-workers have been examining the strongest and weakest positions for each team this spring. I thought I would jump in on the action.

During the next few weeks, I’m going to look at the strengths and weaknesses of every team I cover. They’ll be posted alphabetically by conference. So let’s start with Conference USA and the spring superlatives for East Carolina.

Strongest position: Wide receiver

Key returners: Senior Dwayne Harris (83 catches, 978 yards, seven touchdowns), junior Darryl Freeney (48 catches, 718 yards, three touchdowns), junior Joe Womack (12 catches, 141 yards), sophomore Andrew Bodenheimer (six catches, 87 yards)

Key departures: Alex Taylor (35 catches, 367 yards), Jamar Bryant (22 catches, 205 yards, two touchdowns), Reyn Willis (six catches, 107 yards, one touchdown).

The skinny: The receiver position is the deepest of all positions for the Pirates this spring, and that depth will be critical as they switch to a Texas Tech spread style of offense. Harris is one of the most dynamic players in the country both as a receiver and as a kick returner, and he will be East Carolina’s premier receiver yet again.

Weakest position: Quarterback

Key returners: Sophomore Josh Jordan (three career games, 5 of 7 passing, 61 yards), redshirt freshman Rio Johnson.

Key departures: Patrick Pinkney (32 career starts, 6,980 career passing yards, 39 career passing touchdowns, 23 career interceptions)

The skinny: East Carolina has just two scholarship quarterbacks heading into the spring and neither has significant experience. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is looking for a quarterback who can spread the ball around and he might not find that guy this spring. On the bright side, the Pirates did get a commitment from former Boston College quarterback Dominique Davis in December, but he didn’t enroll in January, which voided his letter of intent. However, hopes are high that Davis does end up in Greenville in August, joining true freshman Shane Carden.