GREENVILLE, Pitt County - The East Carolina football team announced the addition of five junior college transfers on Wednesday.
Each have signed national letters-of-intent and will begin play for the Pirates in the spring with practiced and the spring game, head coach Scottie Montgomery said in a press release from the school.
“We feel this is a great group of young men who will bring production on and off the field,” Montgomery said. “We are excited to add needed positional depth to our spring roster and we look forward to getting them on campus.”
The five junior college players are inside linebacker Cannon Gibbs from Jones (Miss.) Junior College; defensive back Marcus Holton Jr. from Georgia Military College; defensive lineman Tyree Owens from Copiah Lincoln (Miss.) Community College; offensive lineman Damarcus Shaw from Itawamba (Miss.) Community College) and tight end Eric Weber from Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Below are bios of each player:
Cannon Gibbs, ILB, 6-2, 220, Jr., Brandon, Miss. (Jones JC/Northwest Rankin HS)
Junior College: Led the Bobcat defense with 68 tackles (40 solo), 11.0 TFLs and 6.0 sacks as a sophomore ... Also logged one fumble recovery for coach Steve Buckley ... Helped JJC to a 6-3 record in 2016 ... Earned first-team Mississippi Association of Junior and Community Colleges (MACJC) honors ... Also recruited by Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech out of junior college ... Netted 22 stops and 2.5 tackles for lost yardage in nine games as a freshman in 2015. High School: Put together an impressive prep career at Northwest Rankin ... A three-year letterman who tallied 291 career tackles, 25.0 TFLs and 8.0 sacks ... Earned all-region honors as a junior and senior ... An all-state performer and team captain for coach Tyler Peterson in 2014 ... Recorded over 100 tackles and six sacks each during senior and junior campaigns ... Registered 50 stops and scored one TD as a sophomore ... Also earned additional letters in soccer (four) and baseball (three) at Northwest Rankin ... Excelled in the classroom with a 4.0 grade point average. Personal: Full name is Cannon Jennings Gibbs ... Born Dec. 5, 1996 at Brandon, Miss. ... Son of Mike and Kathy Gibbs ... Grew up in same town as current ECU quarterback Gardner Minshew and the pair ended up as HS rivals ... Brother was an All-America football standout at Delta (Miss.) State and currently serves on the Arkansas State staff ... Hobbies include hunting.
Marcus Holton Jr., DB, 5-11, 175, Jr., Tallahassee, Fla. (Georgia Military College/Godby HS)
Junior College: Collected 52 tackles (42 solo), 15 pass breakups, three interceptions, one fumble recovery during career for coach Bert Williams at Georgia Military College ... Played in 11 games as a sophomore in 2016 and was credited with 20 stops (14 solo), one pick and one fumble recovery ... Recorded a season-high four hits in contests vs. Navarro, College of DuPage and ASA College (and had two each against Palmetto Prep and Hocking) ... Pounced on loose ball and netted interception against ASA on Nov. 5 ... Seven pass breakups was among unit leaders ... Considered a key defender for Bulldog program that rolled to a 9-2 record (nine-game win streak) and reached as high as No. 10 in the NJCAA poll ... Made 32 tackles (28 solo), knocked down eight passes and had two interceptions as a freshman at GMC in 2015 ... Turned in 75 return yards on pair of picks ... Also recruited by Conference USA programs Marshall, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky out of junior college. High School: Booked 40 tackles, 2.0 TFLs, 11 pass breakups, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles as a senior for coach Todd Lanter at Godby High School ... Earned First-Team All-State (5A) and First-Team All-Big Bend Elite Team honors in 2014 ... Recruited by Wisconsin and Cincinnati following senior campaign ... Transferred to Godby after junior season (started prep career at Chiles High School). Personal: Full name is Marcus Winslow Holton, Jr. ... Born March 20, 1996 at Tallahassee, Fla. ... Son Marcus Holton Sr. and Angela Hodges.
Tyree Owens, DL, 6-4, 270, Jr., Oviedo, Fla. (Copiah Lincoln CC/Oviedo HS)
Originally signed with West Virginia in February, 2014 and was redshirted during first season in Morgantown ... Left Mountaineer program in the fall of 2015 and enrolled at Copiah Lincoln Community College.
Junior College: Played in eight games and was credited with 11 tackles (all solo), 3.0 sacks and one forced fumble ... Three quarterback drops resulted in a loss of 24 yards ... Helped CLCC to a 6-3 mark ... Logged a season-high three stops vs. Hinds on Oct. 6 ... Had two hits each in contests vs. Coahoma (Sept. 8), Holmes (Oct. 13) and Southwest Mississippi (Oct. 22) ... Recorded forced fumble against Pearl River on Oct. 29 ... Initially committed to Texas A&M before heading to East Carolina ... Also recruited by Auburn, Kentucky, Houston, Mississippi State and South Carolina. High School: Played for coach Wes Allen at Oviedo ... Helped lead the Lions to a 6-4 record in 2013 ... Finished with 68 tackles, including 3.0 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss as a senior ... Also had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and blocked a kick ... A two-time Orlando Sentinel All-Area Second Team selection as a defensive lineman ... Earned a spot on the 2013 All-Seminole Athletic Conference First Team ... Selected to play in the Central Florida All-Star Game ... Named player of the game against Seminole after finishing with 16 tackles, including 10 solo stops, four tackles for loss, a sack and two fumble recoveries ... Was the second-leading tackler for OHS as a junior, collecting 78 stops and six sacks ... Helped lead squad to an 11-2 record and third-round state playoff appearance ... No. 13 rated prospect by the Orlando Sentinel on its Central Florida Super60 ... Was No. 75 on the Sentinel's Top 100 Florida prospects ... A three-star prospect according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout ... Also offered by Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Minnesota, NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest and Wisconsin out of high school. Personal: Full name is Tyree Anthony Owens ... Born December 17, 1995 ... Son of Hakim Du Pree and Marlon Owens.
Dqmarcus Shaw, OL, 6-4, 320, Jr., Batesville, Miss., (Itawamba CC/South Panola HS)
Junior College: A two-year starter at Itawamba for coach Sean Cannon at ICC ... Played in a combined 19 games (10 as freshman, nine as sophomore) during two-year career anchoring Indians' offensive line ... Helped squad to a final rank of No. 19 in the NJCAA poll with a 5-4 record ... Indians rose as high as No. 10 following 23-12 upset win over then No. 4 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College early in season ... Key member of offensive unit that averaged 563.2 yards (169.3 rushing, 393.9 passing) and 36.1 points per game ... ICC stood second nationally in passing yards, fourth in yards per game average and sixth in total offense during 2016 campaign ... Earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State (North) and National Junior College Athletic Association All-Region 23 honors ... Also recruited by Cincinnati, Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State and Southern Miss following junior college career.
Eric Weber, TE, 6-2, 220, Soph., Blythewood, S.C. (Southwest Mississippi CC/Blythewood HS)
Originally inked national letter-of-intent with ECU on Feb. 3, 2016, but never enrolled in classes ... Re-signed with Pirates after playing one season at the junior college level.
Junior College: Played in four games for coach Tucker Peavey ... Did not record any offensive statistics, but was credited with five tackles (four solo) as a member of the defense and special teams squads. High School: A two-year, two-way standout for coach Dan Morgan at Blythewood High School ... Racked up a combined 458 yards on 36 receptions with five touchdowns as a junior and senior ... Significantly contributed to the Bengals’ 9-4 record in 2015 and run through the Class 4A Division II playoffs, which was capped by an appearance in the quarterfinal round ... Had nine receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns during senior campaign ... Both scoring catches came during a 55-22 road win at Clover HS ... Defensively, played end and tallied 64 tackles (14 solo) with seven resulting in lost yardage ... Added a sack and turned in the longest fumble return in program history, a 79-yard scamper against Westwood HS ... Cited as one of the top tight ends in the Midlands area by The State ... Pulled down 27 catches for 290 yards and three TDs during junior season in 2014 ... Spent sophomore campaign (2013) at Jack Britt HS in Fayetteville, N.C. ... Played under head coach (and former ECU standout) Brian Rimpf, helping the Terriers to a 9-4 overall record and a perfect 6-0 league ledger ... Also recruited by NC State out of high school. Personal: Full name is Eric Douglas Weber ... Born July 11, 1998 at Columbia, S.C. ... Son of April Weber-Rambert ... Hobbies include four-wheelers and video games.