ECU players receive pre-season recognition

from Jim Modlin East Carolina Pirate grad:

IRVING, Texas – Senior defensive end C.J. Wilson has been tabbed Conference USA Preseason Defensive Player-of-the-Year, according to the league’s 12 head coaches as the 2009 Preseason All-Conference USA Teams were announced Tuesday.

Wilson is one of five Pirates on the all-conference team, joining offensive lineman Sean Allen, linebacker Nick Johnson, safety Van Eskridge and kicker Ben Hartman. Wilson also earned league preseason laurels last season.

East Carolina, which placed a league-high three defensive players on the preseason all-conference team, tied with Southern Miss for the most overall preseason selections. Houston and Tulsa each earned four nods, followed by Marshall with three. Houston junior quarterback Case Keenum was chosen as the league’s preseason offensive player-of-the-year while Tulsa return specialist Damaris Johnson earned preseason special teams player-of-the-year honors.

In 2008, Wilson helped the Pirates to back-to-back wins over nationally-ranked Virginia Tech and West Virginia to begin the season as well as the school’s first-ever Conference USA Championship. He led all ECU linemen with 70 tackles, tied for the conference lead in tackles for loss with 18.5 and was second in the league in sacks with 10.5. He added five quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and a forced fumble. A first-team All-C-USA selection, Wilson recorded at least one sack in nine contests and produced five or more tackles in eight games.

The 2009 C-USA football season kicks off on Friday, September 4 when Tulsa travels to Tulane in a game that is slated for ESPN. Nine other teams open the following day, with the Pirates hosting three-time FCS national champion Appalachian State and UTEP welcoming non-conference foe Buffalo in the first CBS College Sports telecast of the season. Opening weekend concludes on Sunday, September 6 when Memphis hosts nationally-ranked Mississippi on ESPN.

Tom McClellan
Assistant AD/Media Relations
East Carolina University