May 282013


By Nathan Summers

Monday, May 27, 2013

The East Carolina football team hopes Lucas Thompson will be a Pirate soon, but he isn’t one yet.

The prized defensive back from Winter Garden, Fla., signed with the Pirates back in February of 2012, and he hasn’t played organized football since. Thompson failed to qualify for the ’12 season, but opted not attend a junior college while he worked on meeting academic qualification standards.

More than a year later, Thompson is still committed to the Pirates, whose secondary could likely use a player of his caliber immediately. It was hoped he would be in school by the start of ECU’s first summer session, but classes began on May 14 without Thompson being enrolled, according to ECU sources.

“We’re hoping to have Lucas here for the second session of summer school, and he’s done well with everything we’ve asked as far as academics,” ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill said last week, noting that he spoke with Thompson recently. “We should know something definite pretty soon.”

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Thompson initially committed to McNeill and the Pirates during halftime of the Under Armour All-America Game two years ago.

Despite the long layoff, McNeill said he thinks Thompson will still be able to make a smooth transition to the college game.

“The way our team trains — and he’s such a good football player and an even better kid — he’ll come in and get around our kids and they’re going to love him because he’s just like they are,” McNeill said of Thompson. “There is always an adjustment period, and he’s not going to come in here and be Ed Reed right away, but I do think he can come in here and be ready to go with our coaches and his teammates.”


A pair of 2011 ECU signees, defensive back Glen Hilliard and wide receiver Donte Sumpter, left the program following spring drills with the team. Both sophomores who redshirted during the ’11 season, neither player earned a letter with the Pirates and both will presumably seek transfers.

“It’s competitive, and all our kids are competitive and when we recruit them, they want to play,” McNeill said. “They’re both great young men and they worked hard for us. I know they’ll have success at the schools they go to next, and it did not end with me on a negative basis at all. It happens. If we keep recruiting like we are, it’s going to be competitive, and there are only so many plays and so many reps.”

Sumpter and Hilliard join previous offseason roster losses like senior former running back Hunter Furr, who is committing his athletic time to track, and senior offensive tackle Grant Harner, whose chronic ankle injury ended his career prematurely.

Contact Nathan Summers at or 252-329-9595.

via The Daily Reflector.


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