Coastal Carolina is losing two key football players to Atlantic Coast Conference schools, according to reports and social media posts.
Sophomore defensive end Jeffrey Gunter is transferring to Syracuse, according to The Daily Orange and Cusenation.com, while sophomore offensive lineman Brock Hoffman is transferring to Virginia Tech, according to Twitter posts on his account and the Virginia Tech Football account.
They are two of the four Coastal players who entered the NCAA Transfer Portal this offseason, and will be big losses for new head coach Jamey Chadwell, who was promoted from offensive coordinator and associate head coach on Jan. 18 when Joe Moglia resigned.
Gunter was a First Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection after this past season – the only Chanticleer named to either the conference’s first or second teams – and Hoffman has started all 24 Coastal games since he enrolled at the school. He started at center as a freshman and guard as a sophomore.
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Both sophomores have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
CCU redshirt sophomore running back Alex James of Florence and junior safety Jave Brown apparently remain in the Transfer Portal, which was created by the NCAA last year to make it easier for student-athletes to transfer without requiring permission from their current program.
Gunter visited Syracuse last weekend and chose the western New York school over N.C. State, North Carolina, Oregon and Tulane, according to Cusenation.com, and plans to major in sports law.
“I just felt like this was the best opportunity not only to set me up for college life and football, but after football and once I get my degree,” Gunter told The Daily Orange.
The Durham, N.C., native, 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.
He also tied for the team lead with five quarterback hurries and recorded 49 total tackles, a pass breakup, forced fumble and blocked field goal attempt.
Due to transfer rules, Gunter is expected to sit out the 2019 season, during which both Syracuse starting defensive ends – Kendall Coleman and Alton Robinson – and key reserve Brandon Berry are due to expend their eligibility.
Syracuse, which signed six defensive linemen in its incoming recruiting class, went 10-3 in 2018 with a 34-18 Camping World Bowl win over West Virginia.
Gunter was originally recruited to CCU by Kramer Cook, who is now the director of recruiting operations at Syracuse. Cook joined head coach Dino Babers’ Syracuse staff a month before Gunter committed to Coastal Carolina.
“All the people who recruited me left,” Gunter told The Daily Orange. “I just felt like it was really unstable, and I couldn’t perform to the best of my ability. I wasn’t becoming the best player I could be.”
Hoffman, who is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, said on Twitter he also received offers from Appalachian State and Charlotte.
In a Twitter post, he thanked Moglia, who remains CCU’s executive director of football operations, offensive line coach Patrick Covington and strength coach Tony Decker for his opportunity to play at Coastal and for helping him progress.
“I would like to thank all three of you for developing me into the player and person I am today,” he wrote.
Virginia Tech, which is coming off a 6-7 season under head coach Justin Fuente, lost three starting offensive linemen to graduation off the 2018 team and may have playing time available in the interior of the line.
“They say their O-line just needs some experience and someone to come in and be a leader, and they think that’s me. And I think so, too,” Hoffman told The Athletic. “I just felt like it was a perfect fit and I didn’t need to drag the process out any longer.”
The Athletic reported Hoffman will attempt to get a waiver from the NCAA for immediate eligibility. It said his mother recently had a brain tumor removed, and part of the reason he wanted to transfer was to be closer to his home in Statesville, N.C., which is about a two-hour drive from the Hokie campus in Blacksburg, Va.
“She’s doing better and stuff,” Hoffman told The Athletic. “I just think I need to be close to home to take care of her and help her with certain appointments.”
Gunter and Hoffman were both team leaders as members of the 2018 CCU Team Leadership Council. Hoffman received Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List recognition for posting at least a 3.5 GPA for the 2017-18 academic year.