Harris, Mitchell ready to be one, two rushing punch for ECU football, Pirates’ third back being decided at camp

Playing with a chip, dropping fast food diet helping make duo even better
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:43 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The East Carolina University football season kick off is not too far away now. Their first opponent, N.C. State checked in at 13th in the national coaches poll on Monday.

The running game was huge last fall for the Pirates. They plan to add to it this year.

“The competition right now is for who is the third back,” says ECU head football coach Mike Houston, “There is no doubt we have two number ones. They will take care of those carries right there and we are trying to figure out who number three is.”

Rahjai Harris and Keaton Mitchell are one, two. Mitchell named a preseason All-American by the Pro Football Network Monday. Accolades are nice but Mitchell is focused on getting even better, and faster, this fall.

“My dad always told me keep that chip on my shoulder and don’t ever lose that chip,” says ECU preseason All-American running back Keaton Mitchell, “With Rahjai behind me, my spot is never solidified. We are both number one, so like, I just gotta keep going and pushing him, and he pushing me.”

Harris came in camp down five pounds and focused on making some home run runs this fall. He credits his change in diet for trimming down.

“When I first got here, I ate McDonald’s every night. I would get a Sprite. I would tell the coaches I’m eating good, I’m eating good but that weight was just going up,” says ECU running back Rahjai Harris, “This off-season my girlfriend just cook, cooked, cooked. I’m like why are you cooking like this? I didn’t like it at first but you know I’ve seen results, results, and results, and I started eating healthy.”

Coach Houston says it is a three horse race for the third running back spot and it should be a powerful backfield all season.

“We have had years where that third back ended up being our leading rusher,” says Houston, “So we got to have somebody step up and come through out there. And they will. Somebody is going to rise to the top during camp.”

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