Newcomers make an impact in a crowded DL room

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Even without the presence of graduate transfers Shaundre Mims and talented freshman JD LampleyEast Carolina’s defensive line room would be vying for one of the best and deepest units on the team.

But with those two players thrown into the mix starting this spring, it’s only lifted the Pirates even further up front defensively.

“They’re going to be in the mix, and that’s the problem, it’s created a lot more competition,” Houston said. “It’s an agreement where you can’t take a day off. You have to go out there and compete at a high level every day. That’s one thing these two kids have. They have a great engine.

As FCS All-American last season, Mims has no shortage of experience at the college level, although he will be competing at the FBS game-in and game-out level for the first time in his career. ECU 2022 signer’s brother CJ Mims, Shaundre transferred as a graduate from Charleston Southern and enrolled this spring. The 6-foot, 276-pounder had a few tackles for loss and a sack of Holton Ahlers last season when ECU beat the Buccaneers inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, 31-28.

But the performance impressed ECU enough to give Mims a strong look once he entered the portal, landing him to add to an already talented and deep defensive line room.

Lampley, meanwhile, was one of the biggest high school commitments of the Class of 2022. He chose ECU despite offers from Duke, South Carolina and others. While ECU’s coaching staff knew he had a good one in the Richmond High School product, Lampley has arguably been even better than expected since showing up for winter conditioning.

Both players have already risen to first and second team action in parts of the defensive line room under the position coach Roy Tesh. It is even with the Pirates returning two starting defensive tackles with several years of experience in elie morris and Rick D’Abreu. Third-year defensive linemen Xavier McIver, D’Anta Johnson and Suirad Items have also played important snaps in the past for the Pirates defensive front. These are seven lone players who could see snaps for the ECU defense on game days this fall, not to mention J’Vian McCraywhich has shown flashes in practice in the past, and CJ Mims once it arrives this fall.

Shaundre is the only senior in the room, so naturally he provided some leadership when he arrived. But if he and Lampley are healthy and continue to progress this offseason like they are currently, both should be big contributors in their first year in the purple and gold.

“They don’t really know our scheme inside and out yet, and that’s the only thing holding them both back,” Houston said. “But the only thing they do is compete at a high level and play hard.”

Mims, Lampley and the rest of the ECU team will be in action for the Pirate Nation to see this weekend at the Purple-Gold Spring Match inside the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.

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