Northwestern senior defensive back Corey Seargent feels he has found a “home away from home” at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
Seargent committed to ECU during an official visit last weekend to the school. He is ECU’s third recruiting pickup in the secondary in this class, and opted for Ruffin McNeil’s program over Charlotte, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State and Appalachian State.
“I really liked the coaching staff, and the school as a whole,” Seargent said on Thursday afternoon. “The coaches really reinforced getting your degree and that’s a big thing for me and my mom. You have to get the education first, then football second. And, everybody treats you like family, and I liked that a lot.”
Seargent said ECU coaches told him he’ll likely be a cornerback, a perfect position fit for his size and skillset. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety had a monster year for the Northwestern defense, leading the Trojans in tackles (148), forcing three fumbles and intercepting four passes. Seargent’s efforts earned The Herald’s All-Area Defensive Player of the Year award from a 13-school coverage area.
In Greenville, N.C., Seargent found a football-crazy community, much like his hometown of Rock Hill.
“Everybody loves football down there, it’s all they talk about,” he said.
Seargent said he didn’t take his visit itching to make a commitment. Despite interest from a number of schools, he has closed his recruitment.
“I had a lot of thinking to do about it,” said Seargent. “It wasn’t like, ‘oh, I just want to go to this school and get it over with.’ I had to think about what would benefit me and my mom. It’s not that far away from home, so that was a good look off the bat. And they treat you like family, so it’s a home away from home, and I’m not even there yet.”
On the same trip, standout Mauldin athlete Dre Massey, who shined in the North-South game, also committed to play for the Pirates this fall. With National Signing Day on Feb. 5, just 13 days away, here’s an update on local football recruits and what they’ve been doing in the weeks leading up to the big day:
Russell Hubbs visits The Citadel: The Citadel has a new coach, former Lenoir-Rhyne head man Mike Houston, but that hasn’t changed Northwestern linebacker Russell Hubbs’ enthusiasm about going to the school. Hubbs committed in late November, and The Citadel is the type of school where players commit to the school as much if not more than the individual coach. Add in a new coach like Houston, who just took his previous school to the Division II national championship, and there was no stumble in the Trojan’s commitment.
“It actually made it better,” Hubbs said about the coaching change that happened after Kevin Higgins left for an assistant job at Wake Forest.
Northwestern defensive coordinator James Martin had high praise for Houston, which he shared with Hubbs.
“He told me he’s a great coach and he’s mainly a defensive guy,” said Hubbs. “He’s downhill, he likes to bring pressure, and especially if you look at his record from Lenoir-Rhyne, he’ll do really good.”
Former Northwestern Trojan Austin Wiles, who plays at The Citadel now, also did some recruiting to keep Hubbs on board with the Bulldogs. During the visit last weekend, Hubbs and his family met with Houston, toured the school and the stadium, ate in downtown Charleston and met with position groups and position coaches. Hubbs, a first-team All-Area selection, made 125 tackles, including four for a loss, while helping marshal an extremely stingy Northwestern defensive unit last fall.
Zeek Rodney visits Syracuse; Wake Forest next up: Fresh off an official visit to one ACC school, Syracuse, South Pointe defensive lineman Zeek Rodney will make a visit to another one, Wake Forest, this weekend.
Rodney, a Shrine Bowler this season, didn’t have the kind of senior year he may have envisioned after a monster junior campaign, but the interest in him didn’t wane.
Syracuse is graduating its top defensive tackle, team co-captain Jay Bromley, and the Orange could offer playing time in the ACC almost immediately. Wake Forest, and new coach Dave Clawson, quickly reached out to the South Pointe senior when Clawson was appointed as Jim Grobe’s replacement and were able to line up an official visit up to Winston-Salem, N.C.
Rodney has also visited Marshall and Charlotte, and had a Wake Forest assistant coach at his home on Monday morning, according to recruiting guru Phil Kornblut.
Number of Stallions on the move: Rodney isn’t the only South Pointe Stallion making visits and decisions. South Pointe coach Strait Herron said that standout defensive back Josh Massey visited Youngstown State last week, the same school where York running back Ryan Moore just began his college career, and will visit The Citadel this weekend.
Herron also said that All-Area wide receiver Anthony Johnson has committed to Butler Community College in Kansas, defensive back Eric Westbrook visited Campbell last weekend and committed, and receiver Kyle Brandt and lineman Whit McGuirt will both visit The Citadel this weekend.
Running back Josh Brice officially visited the campus of Wingate University last weekend, lineman Devin Hilton visited Limestone and defensive end Jontae Henry will visit Lackawanna Community College (Penn.) on Feb. 8.
Helms committed to Campbell: Nation Ford coach Michael Allen said his quarterback and honorable mention All-Area selection Dalton Helms has committed to Campbell, while Helms’ top receiving target last season, Riley Hilton, intends to commit to Presbyterian College. Hilton finished the 2013 campaign with 86 catches and 10 touchdowns, and also played in the North-South game.
Additionally, Falcons linebacker/fullback Andrew Bruce will visit Lenoir-Rhyne and Presbyterian on official visits this weekend.
Indian Land receiver Manny McCord offered by Newberry: Indian Land senior wide receiver Manny McCord has been a busy recruit this week. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder visited Brevard on Saturday, Newberry on Tuesday and Methodist College on Thursday. McCord, who played in the North-South game this season and made All-Area honorable mention, received an offer from Newberry on Tuesday.
Chester athlete Quan Caldwell to visit S.C. State: Dangerous Chester athlete Quan Caldwell will visit S.C. State this weekend, according to his coach, Anthony Sterling. Caldwell played a number of positions this past fall for the Cyclones and finished the season with over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns. Caldwell averaged 28.5 yards per catch and over 27 yards per return.
Lewisville pair taking visits: Versatile Lewisville senior Tony Gaston visited Newberry last week. Gaston was well on his way to a 1,000-yard receiving season when an injury forced him to take over at quarterback. Gaston’s teammate, linebacker Mitch Langford, will be visiting Emory & Henry either this weekend or the next, according to Lewisville coach Will Mitchell.
Lawrence Adams visits N.C. A&T: York defensive lineman Lawrence Adams paid a visit to North Carolina A&T last weekend and liked what he saw, but also has a visit to Georgia Southern planned for next weekend. Two of Adams’ teammates, receivers Josh McCoy and Markell Castle, were at Newberry on Thrursday.
Clover Blue Eagles on the road: Clover running back Ladarius Adams visited Pikeville College, in Kentucky, and Blue Eagles quarterback Scott Jackson paid a visit to Guilford College. Adams was an All-Area first team running back this season despite missing five games due to a concussion.
Lancaster ends football coach application process; Rock Hill search underway
Lancaster has closed the application process after receiving 53 resumes for its vacant head football coaching position. Lancaster athletics director Mark Strickland said he and administrators will begin whittling down the field of applicants and arranging times and dates for interviews with suitable candidates.
Rock Hill athletics director Bill Warren said he’s already accepting applications from candidates interested in the Bearcats’ football coaching vacancy. But the job hasn’t been listed yet on the school district’s job board.
Warren said that will happen in early February, when the search gets going in earnest.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T