The journey to 7 has ECU safety Stringer ready to be a leader for Pirates
Hoping to bring the luck to the meaningful number
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - National recognition Wednesday for a couple ECU football players. Ryan Jones and Holton Ahlers named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list. Ahlers also landed on the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Watch List. But on the defensive side, locals might need to give some recognition to one of the safeties. His name is Gerard Stringer. He’s a pretty impressive story.
“I’m as pleased with him, and his growth, as I am with anybody in the program,” says ECU head coach Mike Houston, “That first year, I didn’t know if he would be around after a year. Maturity level he wasn’t quite there. He needed to grow up.”
It has been a journey for ECU safety Gerard Stringer.
“Off the field, you meet him and he’s just a nice guy, smiling. On the field he is a different guy. Just really like who he is on the field, flying around,” says ECU defensive coordinator Blake Harrell, “He makes us so versatile out there. Just really proud of the tough guy he’s became.”
He has had to battle through serious injuries. From an Achilles in 2020, to a concussion for much of last fall.
“He had to come back from his Achilles last year. And when he came back he was out the first couple games with concussion,” says ECU safety Jireh Wilson, “I am just proud of how he bounced back. I expected it. I don’t think a lot of people did though.”
“As much as I hate he missed the 2020 season, it may have been the best thing that ever happened to him,” says Houston, “When you get something taken away from you figure out how important it is to you.”
“I feel 100 percent. I get in the training room, I stretch,” says ECU safety Gerard Stringer, “After workouts, after practice I stretch, do everything I need for my achilles.”
Positive changes over the years but one thing has stayed with him... family. It’s why he will wear number 7 this fall.
“My brother passed away in 2014 so he wore number 7 in high school, my dad’s grandma passed when he was seven it has always been that number for me,” says Stringer, “My dad always wanted me to wear it. I didn’t want to wear it. I was always scared of number 7 because everything bad happened with number 7. But I just decided to just embrace it. We talk about it in here about what is our why. That’s my why number 7.”
Seven on the back to hold down the back of the defense this season.
“I see him as one of our leaders,” says Houston, “I see him as a positive example for the young kids.”
“Being that leader for the young guys, making sure they setting the right example,” says Stringer, “Putting that good example out for them so they can follow my lead and be what we need to be for this team.”
Definitely a guy to root for.
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