Grad transfers officially join ECU football program

Pirates coach Scottie Montgomery announced Friday that Dukes Thomas Sirk, Clemsons Tyshon Dye and Minnesotas Gaelin Elmore have all signed their grant-in-aid agreements and are officially members of the team

Jeremy Brevard—USA TODAY Sports
Former Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk addresses the media at last summer's ACC Football Kickoff event in Charlotte. Sirk is now a member of the ECU football team

Quarterback Thomas Sirk, running back Tyshon Dye and defensive end Gaelin Elmore all previously announced their intention to join the East Carolina football team next season as graduate transfers. But until they actually graduated, they weren’t able to make their commitments official. That happened Friday, when coach Scottie Montgomery announced that all three veteran additions to his program have signed grant-in-aid agreements to play their final season of eligibility with the Pirates. Sirk, who received a medical hardship after missing all last season at Duke with a ruptured Achilles tendon, is already enrolled in ECU’s first summer session. Dye, who played his first three seasons at Clemson and Minnesota transfer Elmore are expected to arrive on campus for the start of the second session on June 22. Each of the new players will be eligible to play right away under the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule. Of the three, Montgomery is the most familiar with Sirk, who he coached during his tenure as the Blue Devils’ offensive coordinator. The dual-threat quarterback played in 24 games at Duke with 12 starts, completing 261 of 441 passes fo 2,692 yards and 19 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,041 yards and 16 scores. He was the co-MVP of his team’s Pinstripe Bowl win against Indiana in 2016. An Academic All-ACC selection in the classroom, Sirk graduated from Duke in May with a bachelor’s degree in political science. “I feel Thomas will help this football team in many ways, especially from a maturity and character standpoint,” Montgomery said in a statement. “He knows our system well on the field and we feel confident about merging his skills with what we’re trying to do as an entire unit.” Due, who earned a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation & tourism management from Clemson earlier this month, rushed for 351 yards and five touchdowns on 76 carries during his 17-game career with the Tigers. The former four-star prospect contributed 109 yards and a touchdown to the Tigers’ national championship effort a year ago. “Tyshon is a big physical back who definitely has home run potential,” Montgomery said of the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Dye. “He’s obviously been a part of a championship culture and I’m confident he will have an opportunity to impact our program with a similar mindset.” Elmore, a 6-6, 275-pound pass rusher, played in 38 games with nine starts at Minnesota, while helping the Gophers to three straight bowl appearances. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection has recorded 39 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks during his college career. He received his bachelor’s degree in communication studies. His addition figures to be a significant upgrade to a pass rush that produced only eight sacks in 12 games last season. “I expect Gaelin’s presence to provide us with an explosive edge rusher who can affect both the running and passing game,” Montgomery said. “Off the field, his life story is one of perseverance and will be a source of inspiration to all of us.” In other personnel news, ECU announced that wide receivers Blake Proehl and Mydreon Vines, along with offensive lineman John Spellacy — all of whom signed in February — have enrolled for the first summer semester. Montgomery also said that junior defensive tackle Justin Brown has departed the program because of personal reasons.