Taking Stock –
|High School||Berwick Area (Berwick, PA)|
|Star Rating||Three Stars|
|Signed Date||Dec. 18, 2019 (Early Signing Day)|
East Carolina University’s defense was a sticking point in 2019. Despite some steps taken in a positive direction by the Pirates’ offense toward the end of last year, the defense loosened up, allowing a season-high in yards against Tulsa in the season’s final contest.
Overall, the unit allowed an average of 469.3 yards per game last year, ranking them 119th in Division I. Against the air attack, the Pirates were only slightly better, ranking 108th in the FBS with 261.6 yards given up every game.
To rectify those shortcomings, ECU invested heavily in its defense during this recruiting cycle, signing five defensive backs to bolster their secondary as well as a slew of defensive linemen to plug holes left by graduating players.
Teagan Wilk, a 5’11” free safety from Berwick Area High School in Pennsylvania is one of those defensive backs that the Pirates’ staff hope can transform a shaky defensive unit.
Wilk, who was an early enrollee and was set to participate in spring practice before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all on-campus activities, logged 17 interceptions in three seasons at Berwick Area.
As a freshman at Southern Columbia Area High School, Wilk racked up five interceptions, giving him 22 for his prep career. In addition, Wilk displayed his physicality by notching 115 tackles, including 46 solos as a freshman.
Watch Teagan Wilk’s highlight tapes here.
Throughout most of his prep career, Wilk played on both sides of the football, seeing time at both wide receiver and running back on offense. As a junior, Wilk caught 23 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns while finding the endzone five times out of the back field.
Wilk also has experience running back punts and kickoffs.
At ECU, however, Wilk will at least start his collegiate career as a defensive back. While he will not be the fastest or biggest on Mike Houston’s depth chart, Wilk has displayed a good ability to read the quarterback’s eyes and make a decision about where the ball is likely to end up, even before it is thrown.
That, of course, helped Wilk pad his interception numbers, as did his outstanding leaping ability. Perhaps what stands out on tape, though, is Wilk’s willingness to help stop the run game and make a tackle on the ball carrier if needed.
On his tapes, Wilk can often be seen reading where the football is going before jumping up to the line of scrimmage and making a solid tackle before the ball carrier can gain meaningful yardage.
In the physical American Athletic Conference, having a safety that is not scared to make a tackle and hit someone will pay dividends.
Senior Davondre Robinson figures to be the Pirates’ starting free safety in 2020 while ECU also has redshirt freshman Juan Powell and senior Warren Saba, just to name a few players, in the defensive back field.
Nevertheless, the Pirates have seen their fair share of turnover on the back end with Colby Gore graduating after the 2019 season and Daniel Charles entering the transfer portal following a team-issued suspension.
By combining newcomers with players already on the roster, the Pirates should not have a problem finding a stable combination of personnel. Where Wilk figures into that pecking order remains to be seen as college football teams around the country have yet to begin formal team practices ahead of the upcoming 2020 season.