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ECU's Futrell at the forefront

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East Carolina's Kendall Futrell (44) celebrates a play against Virginia Tech at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium last season.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

GREENVILLE -- It is not only Kendall Futrell’s frame or his bulging upper-body muscles or his speed that has East Carolina’s football coaches excited about his junior season.

There is the factor of new defensive coordinator David Blackwell and his schemes, but also head coach Scottie Montgomery said this week that Montgomery is proven as a much more well-rounded player than when the defensive end/linebacker came to ECU out of South Central High School a few years ago with plenty of speed and potential.

“Probably our most talented player, on defense, is Kendall Futrell, but he has really come on with his level of maturity and his understanding of our defense,” Montgomery said. “To be honest this defense just fits him. This is his defense and we are starting to see a lot of leadership out of him.

“That whole defensive line has juice and a lot of them are looking at him and (Alex) Turner as the leaders of that group.”

Freedom has been a key word for the front seven on the defense for the Pirates under Blackwell. Futrell said that is especially the case for him.

“I get to use space, and last year I was really close to the o-linemen and in the four-technique sometimes,” he said. “Now I get to be wide and come off (the edge) and just use my speed as a weapon.”

“I definitely feel more comfortable doing it and have matured a lot since my freshman year,” he said. “It’s just trying to lead guys the right way on the field and off the field. I’m just trying to be the best role model I can be.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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