The Mundy’s Mill coaching staff is expecting offensive lineman Darius Anderson to provide leadership for the team this season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
JONESBORO — Darius “Pancake” Anderson made the trek to Greenville, N.C., last week with his parents to visit the campus and check out the football facility.
By the time he was leaving to make his way back home, Anderson had made one of the biggest decisions of his young life.
The Mundy’s Mill rising senior offensive linemen had seen enough of the campus and heard want he wanted to from the Pirates’ coaching staff to pledge his commitment to the program.
Anderson also held offers from Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Florida International, James Madison, Middle Tennessee State, Old Dominion, Samford, South Alabama and Southern Miss, but was really impressed with East Carolina.
“They have an excellent coaching staff, and great facilities,” Anderson said. “The facilities were awesome. They have my major, which is communication, so I think it is a good fit.”
Anderson is the seventh commit for the upcoming recruiting class for East Carolina, but is the first linemen to make the pledge.
“East Carolina was my top school from the start,” said Anderson, who is 6-foot-3, 330 pounds. “At the end of the day, it always comes back to East Carolina. They are a big time program.”
Last season, the Pirates were 10-3 and defeated Ohio in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl 37-20 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The team is coached by Ruffin McNeill, a 1980 graduate of the North Carolina school.
“I think it is a wonderful opportunity for Pancake,” Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior said. “When he and his family went up there, I know they were really impressed. Coach Ruffin is a good coach, and they are playing big-time football at East Carolina.”
It would mark the second straight season that a Mundy’s Mill player signs with a Football Bowl Subdivision team if Anderson follows through on his commitment on National Signing Day in February. This past signing day, both running back Rodney Smith and linebacker Jonathan Celestin signed with Big Ten member Minnesota.
They became the first major college signees from the school.
With his pledge done, Manior said the lineman can now concentrate on the upcoming season. Mundy’s Mill is hoping to claim a school record second straight playoff appearance.
Last season, the Tigers reached the Class AAAAA quarterfinals before losing at Gainesville. It marked only the second playoff appearance in school history, and first wins in the postseason.
“I’m ready for the season to start,” Anderson said. “After what we did last season, we are really excited.”
Anderson is being counted on not only to lead the offensive line, but the entire team.
“We have some big expectations for him,” Manior said. “I know he is ready to step into that role as a leader. With his commitment, it has taken a lot of that recruiting pressure off. He will be counted on to provide some stability to the team.”
Anderson said he will likely take visits to Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia Southern and Arkansas State, but says he is “solid” in his pledge to East Carolina.
“I just want to see those schools,” Anderson said.