College Sports

If you like pirates, you’ll love East Carolina’s new football recruiting pitch

Photos of the recruiting letters East Carolina sent out to about 30 football targets.
Photos of the recruiting letters East Carolina sent out to about 30 football targets. East Carolina

As a way to appeal to recruits, East Carolina’s Ethan Johnson and Kevin Slattery came up with an idea for the school’s latest round of football scholarship offers: get back to their pirate roots.

Johnson, the school’s director of player personnel, and Slattery, a staff assistant, decided to turn the letters into scrolls, complete with cursive writing and wax seals.

Johnson and Slattery used coffee grounds to stain the paper, and also burned the edges to make them look authentic.

Each of the about 30 letters they sent to different recruits start with, “Dear Pee Dee The Pirate.”

The process took a few weeks to complete.

“It came out better than we imagined,” Johnson said.

Aug. 1 is the first day schools can send official scholarship offers to 2018 football recruits.

The letters have gained a lot of traction on social media, especially after ESPN tweeted it out.

“It’s definitely taken fire on Twitter and we wanted the initial response to be No. 1, a large impact to our recruits and to how they perceive it and receive it,” Johnson said, “and then of course No. 2, the fan base and the opportunity for to represent ourselves on a national scale and do something creative.”

The scrolls weren’t the only thing about the letters that gained attention, however. ECU misspelled the word “scholarship” at the top.

“Unfortunately, we created a mixed bag there for ourselves,” Johnson said. “And those things do happen.”

He said he hopes that it doesn’t detract from the program’s efforts.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander