Redshirt sophomore Kurt Benkert has been named East Carolina’s starting quarterback for the 2015 season, Pirates head coach Ruffin McNeill told The News & Observer.
“We’ve had great competition at that position so far, but we felt it was time to name a starter to move forward with our preparations for the season,” McNeill said. “While Kurt will have the first opportunity, we feel very good about the capabilities of Blake (Kemp), Cody (Keith) and John (Jacobs). Like anyone else in our program at all other positions, Kurt will need to keep progressing and continue to earn the job throughout the year.”
A former star at Florida’s Island Coast High School, near Fort Myers, Benkert appeared in three games last year and completed 8 of 10 passes for 58 yards playing behind Shane Carden. Needless to say, given how Carden wrapped up his ECU career as the school’s all-time leader with 11,991 passing yards to go with 88 touchdowns, Benkert has some big shoes to fill. ECU is starting to look like a legitimate AAC contender under McNeill, and now is not the time for the momentum to be killed.
Given how the Pirates lost last year’s top receivers in Justin Hardy and Cam Worthy along with Carden to the NFL, the 2015 season is going to be an uphill battle for Benkert and the rest of the offense. Hopefully, he keeps cool and works hard to build strong relationships with the receiving corps on and off the field so that moving the chains this season comes as easy as 1-2-3.
ECU opens the season at home against the CAA’s Towson Tigers on September 5.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to 247 Sports