Coastal Carolina

More CCU football players look to transfer. Three starters among those seeking new teams

Coastal Carolina sophomore running back Alex James runs the ball against the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday night at Brooks Stadium in Conway.
Coastal Carolina sophomore running back Alex James runs the ball against the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday night at Brooks Stadium in Conway.

In addition to changing head coaches with the resignation of Joe Moglia and promotion of Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina may lose several players to transfers this offseason, including the only Chanticleer to be named to the 2018 All-Sun Belt Conference First Team.

Defensive end Jeffrey Gunter and offensive lineman Brock Hoffman – a pair of sophomores who each started all 12 games this past season – have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, making them immediately eligible to speak to other colleges about transferring.

Junior safety Jave Brown, who started seven games in 2018 including the final six of the season, and sophomore running back Alex James of Florence have also entered the Transfer Portal, confirmed CCU assistant athletic director for media relations Kevin Davis.

Quarterback Chance Thrasher, who has battled injuries and seen limited playing time in his four years at CCU, is also transferring as a graduate student. He left the team prior to the end of last season and shared Thursday on Twitter his reasons for leaving the program.

“People need [to] quit thinking these athletes are transferring because of lack of playing time or competition!” tweeted Thrasher of Suwanee, Ga., whose one career start in 2017 ended with an injury on CCU’s first offensive play. “A lot of us may be transferring because we want to compete! Play for a coach that cares about us. And the current culture isn’t what we committed to.”

Chadwell declined to comment on the potential transfers Thursday.

Gunter, who is 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, had 14 tackles for loss including five sacks last season and combined with fellow sophomore defensive end Tarron Jackson to record 25 of the team’s 61 tackles for loss.

The alum of Riverside High in Durham, N.C., also recorded five of the team’s 15 quarterback hurries to match Jackson for the team lead, as well as 49 total tackles, a pass breakup, forced fumble and blocked field goal attempt. He also saw action in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2017, registering 3.5 tackles for loss.

He was named First Team All-Sun Belt after the 2018 season and is the only Chant on the first or second teams. Jackson and freshman kicker Massimo Biscardi were named to the third team.

Hoffman is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds and has started all 24 games of his Coastal career.

The Statesville (N.C.) High graduate started 12 games at center as a true freshman and 12 games at right guard this past season when fellow sophomore Trey Carter was inserted into the center position.

In response to Hoffman entering the Transfer Portal, Thrasher tweeted, “This guy is a beast.”

Gunter and Hoffman, who were both respected teammates as members of the 2018 CCU Team Leadership Council, were contacted via Twitter on Wednesday night and chose not to comment. James, Brown and Thrasher did not respond to Twitter messages.

Brown (5-11, 190) joined CCU in 2017 as a third-year sophomore from Lackawanna College. The Franklin (N.J.) Regional High grad played in 10 games last year, recording 20 total tackles, including 2.5 for loss, with two pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Since redshirting as a freshman after graduating from Florence Christian School in 2016, James (5-11, 205) played in all 24 CCU games over the past two seasons and gained 475 yards rushing with seven touchdowns on 114 carries for an average of 4.17 yards per carry. The versatile and fast back added 16 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown as a backup.

The Transfer Portal was created by the NCAA last year to make it easier for student-athletes to transfer without requiring permission from their current program.

Undergraduates who transfer have to sit out a season unless they receive a waiver from the NCAA, so any transferring players may not play in 2019, though a head coaching change might warrant consideration for a waiver. Gunter, Hoffman and James would retain two years of eligibility, while Brown has one year of eligibility remaining.

Players who enter the Transfer Portal run a risk if they choose to remain at their current school. Their athletics-related financial aid can be reduced or revoked at the end of the current academic term, and coaches aren’t obligated to take them back on the team.

Freshman walk-on quarterback Matt Beale, a Carolina Forest High grad, has also left the CCU program.