Spring Football 2001

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Wednesday, May 9
QB Garrard may be C-USA's best

By Brad Edwards
Special to ESPN.com

East Carolina Pirates
Around C-USA
Army Black Knights
Cincinnati Bearcats
East Carolina Pirates
Houston Cougars
Louisville Cardinals
Memphis Tigers
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
TCU Horned Frogs
Tulane Green Wave
UAB Blazers
2000 overall record: 8-4
Conference record: 5-2 (t-2nd)

Returning starters
Offense: 6
Defense: 9
Kickers: 1

2000 statistical leaders (* - returners)
Rushing: Leonard Henry* (711 yds)
Passing: David Garrard* (2,332 yds)
Receiving: Marcellus Harris (496 yds)
Tackles: Pernell Griffin* (87)
Sacks: Devone Claybrooks (5)
Interceptions: John Williamson* (2)

What's new
There are five Division I-A football teams in North Carolina, and the battle for bragging rights will have a significant development this season. Over the last 10 years, the best records in the state belong to UNC and ECU, but those squads haven't played since 1981. That will change when the Pirates travel to Chapel Hill on Oct. 6.
Battling it out
After losing a senior starter from last season, three players are now in the mix at tight end. Seth Yates and Corey Floyd both have experience after playing as backups last year, but Ben Thomas, who played mostly special teams, has gotten some attention. The race is too close to call after spring drills, though none of the candidates is consistently performing at a high level. If nobody shows significant improvement before September, this will be an area of concern for the Pirates.
Eye catcher: WR Derrick Collier
Collier transfered to ECU and played in 11 games last year with no starts. He had only seven receptions in the regular season but caught a 44-yd TD pass in the bowl game. He has since emerged as a deep threat and was a favorite target of QB David Garrard during the spring. Collier is listed as the starter at split end entering the fall.
Budding star: HB Terrance Copper
As a freshman last year, he played in all 12 games, making 11 catches for 199 yards. With the departure of Keith Stokes, however, Copper will be the starter at H-back and punt returns in 2001. He combines great speed with good size and athleticism and, teaming with Collier on the other side, gives ECU plenty of big-play potential.

Brad Edwards researches college football for ESPN and is a contributor to ESPN.com throughout the year.

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