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July 16, 2012

Donaldson a Pirate

Kirk Donaldson, defensive end and tight end for Vance High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, has committed to East Carolina University. He announced his decision on Thursday, July 12 as earlier reported on PirateIllustrated.com premium.

"It's the right fit for me. They showed me the most love. I like where it is and I like the coaching staff," Donaldson said when asked why he selected ECU.

"The coaches told me I will be playing outside linebacker and a little bit at defensive end. They have also talked to me about playing tight end. Wherever they want to put me, I'll play." He added that the coaches will decide if they want him to play tight end during spring practice.

Donaldson admitted that he has not played outside linebacker before. "I mostly had my hand down in the dirt," he said. "I don't foresee any problem making the transition."

It's pretty obvious that the Pirates want him to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense because of his speed and his size. He runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds. He stands 6-feet, 3-inches and he weighs 250 pounds.

He's strong too. His maximum bench press is 350 pounds and his maximum squat is 475. He reps 475 pounds 4 times and 405 pounds 8 times for 6 sets.

We asked him to describe his skills as a defensive end. "Coaches like my explosion off the line," he said. He only played three games last season. He wanted to take time off to improve his grades. Still he had 4 sacks and 18 tackles, said Donaldson. Does he need to improve on anything? "I need to work on my pass rush game and be more of a run stopper. To make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker I need to change direction better and cover receivers. I haven't done that before." He noted that in his senior year at Vance he will drop back into coverage from the DE position.

He has not visited ECU. He has scheduled a visit for the end of July. He checked out ECU and its campus online. "The campus is phenomenal. I like the style. It's a really beautiful campus." He has visited North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Clemson.

He participated in the Shrine Bowl Combine and said that he is being considered to play in the Shrine Bowl Game. "I'll be sending them film of my first two games and they'll decide. I think I will make it," he said.

Keith Wilkes is the head football coach at Vance. We asked him what kind of football player ECU will be getting. "ECU is getting an outstanding young man first," he said. "He's an outstanding student and a leader for the team. His best football is still ahead of him. He has tremendous potential."

Wilkes said that he plans to have Donaldson play at both defensive end and outside linebacker this coming season. He'll also play tight end. "He's a good athlete. You definitely want him on the field as much as possible."

We asked Coach Wilkes to describe Donaldson's strong points. "He's got good speed of the edge. He probably runs a 4.6 40 and weighs about 260. I think he'll get up to 275 to 280 and still have a lot of speed. He's a smart, aggressive kid. He takes coaching well."

We asked the coach if he needs improvement. "You can always get stronger and faster and improve on technique," he said.

Wilkes concluded, "ECU has been a great program. I have two or three other kids who played at East Carolina. I think it was a great choice for Kirk. I think he'll do well there."

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