More than 50 current and former student-athletes eligible to participate in commencement exercises
Almost 50 Pirates were honored after earning a 3.75 GPA or higher
ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill Welcomes Back 21 Returning Starters, 50 Lettermen
Twenty Players Recognized After ECU Earns Bowl Bid, Posts Second-Highest Win Total Since 1992
The consummate collegiate student-athlete, both in the classroom and in the field ... Serves as the program's top scholar-athlete who has enjoyed a distinguished career to date, becoming ECU's first-ever Academic All-America selection in the sport of football as a sophomore before following up with a repeat honor in 2012 ... On the field, has been slowed by a right hip injury over the past two seasons which has limited development and diminished playing time ...Officially listed as a reserve behind Lee Pegues at the boundary end position heading into the his senior campaign, but standing will only be defined by a return to full health and 100 percent clearance by sports medicine staff ... Was held out of contact during spring drills, thus did not experience action during scrimmage schedule ... Work ethic and dedication have enabled grueling academic schedule and football responsibilities to successfully mix during his career, especially during the fall ... Accomplishments in weight room also have been matched by few as evidenced by a "good" rating during spring testing ... In all, has made a near 200-pound combined improvement in the bench press (425/+60), back squat (615/+80) and power clean (343/+57) in a two-year period ... In all, has booked multiple tackles in 23 of 37 career games ... As previously mentioned, is a two-time Capital One Academic All-America honoree with second-team selections in 2011 and 2012 ...Also named first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District III in 2012 and is a three-time Conference USA All-Academic Team selection.
2012: Appeared in 12 games, making his lone start against Navy ... Booked 10 tackles (three solo) ... Also credited with a quarterback hurry against UTEP and a batted pass at Tulane ... Eight of 10 stops were on rushing plays ... Recorded first hit (solo) of season at North Carolina before following with a pair of assisted tackles at UCF ... Teamed with Gabriel Woullard on an eight-yard sack of Memphis' Jacob Karam in the second quarter ... Tallied a season-best three stops (all assists) against Navy in only start ... Closed campaign with two tackles, one resulting in lost yardage, against UL-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
2011: Served as a starting defensive end for the second-straight campaign ... Played in all 12 games, but did not start at Houston or UTEP ... Booked 37 tackles, the third most among linemen ... Tallied 30 hits on running plays and made 11 solo stops ... Recorded 12 tackles in non-league action and 25 during C-USA tilts ... Credited with 4.0 hits for lost yardage (0.5/Memphis, Southern Miss, UCF; 1.0/Virginia Tech; 1.5/UTEP) and a half sack (UCF) ... Also a member of the Pirates' special teams units, booking a squad third-best three stops on punt returns ... One of only three players with three or more stops on punt runbacks ... Steady throughout the campaign with 18 stops during the first six games and 19 over the final six ... One of only six Pirates with four or more TFL during the year ... Added one pass breakup against Tulane as well as a quarterback hurry and fumble recovery, both versus UAB ... Combined with Jake Geary to sack UCF's Jeff Godfrey for a three-yard loss in the third quarter, giving Milner at least a half TFL in three of the final four games of the year ... Registered four tackles at UTEP, making three with 1.5 for lost yardage in the first half ... Dropped the Miners' Nathan Jeffery (one yard) and Joe Banyard (six yards) for losses in the second quarter ... Recorded two hits during Southern Miss' opening series, which lasted three plays, and four in the first quarter ... For the game against the Golden Eagles, booked a season second-best five stops ... Made a season-high three solo hits at Houston ... Stopped Cougar quarterback Cotton Turner short of a first down on a fourth-and-three carry in the final quarter ... Recovered third career fumble during the second quarter against UAB ... Registered season's quarterback hurry during initial series of the contest versus the Blazers, forcing a Bryan Ellis incompletion ... Finished two tackles short of career high with six hits versus Virginia Tech, booking four in the opening half ... Tallied two half tackles for lost yardage against the Hokies, knocking Josh Oglesby and David Wilson for thee-yard losses.
2010: Lived up to potential during strong debut season, playing in all 13 games and starting 11 after injuries hit the defensive line ... Not in the starting lineup at North Carolina and Southern Miss ... Ended the campaign with 47 total tackles, the second most among ECU linemen ... Credited with 30 assists and 17 solo stops ... 42 hits made on rushing plays ... Booked seven tackles for lost yardage, including three sacks ... Added five quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery ... In very limited special teams' duties, made one hit on a punt return ... Recorded a TFL in the last three games and at least a half tackle for lost yardage in eight contests ... Registered multiple stops in every game but North Carolina and UAB, making one solo knockdown in each contest ... Booked a personal-best eight hits against Navy with six in the second and third quarters ... In the Military Bowl against Maryland, tallied three tackles, one for a loss (one yard), and a quarterback hurry ... Recovered a fumble for the second-straight game against SMU, picking up a loose ball in the first quarter ... Forced first career fumble versus the Mustangs on their initial play of the third quarter ... Booked a personal-best five solo tackles against SMU, a week after recording four versus Rice ... Tied for the team lead with 3.0 sacks after dropping the Mustangs' Kyle Padron for a seven-yard loss in the third quarter ... Recovered first career fumble in the second quarter against the Owls and returned it 50 yards, the longest by an ECU player since Van Eskridge's 50-yard runback at UTEP, Oct. 13, 2007 ... Recorded a personal-best two QBH, both in the first half, against Marshall ... Also tallied first pass breakup of career against the Thundering Herd ... Credited with first career quarterback hurry against N.C. State, forcing a Russell Wilson third-down incompletion in the fourth quarter ... Sacked Southern Miss' Austin Davis on the Golden Eagles' final play of the game, preserving ECU's 44-43 victory ... Recorded first quarterback drop at North Carolina, dropping T.J. Yates for a three-yard loss in the third quarter ... Tossed Tyrod Taylor for a five-yard loss in the opening quarter at Virginia Tech for first career solo tackle and solo TFL ... Opened the year with four assists versus Tulsa and two against Memphis.
2009: Redshirted during initial season in the Pirate program ... Officially signed in February ... Earned the defensive unit's Rick Bankston Memorial Award for outstanding scout team play.
High School: A two-way starter as a senior and overall four-year letterman for coach Mike Sheehan's Crusaders ... Named to the Mid-State All-Conference squad as a junior and senior ... Selected as defensive lineman-of-the-year and co-player-of-the-year in 2008 ... Was also program's choice as team MVP at conclusion of senior campaign ... Booked 104 tackles, 37 resulting in lost yardage, a team-best eight sacks, two batted passes and a pair of fumble recoveries in 2008 ... On the offensive side of the ball as a tight end, was credited with 64 knock-down blocks and was not charged with a sack allowed as a team captain ... Helped lead Cardinal Gibbons to a 7-6 record in 2008 ... Tallied 111 stops, six sacks, three pass deflections and three overall blocked kicks as a junior in 2007 ... Rated among the top 50 defensive ends according to ESPN.com ... Picked up one track letter and earned all-conference designation as a shotput and discus thrower ... Turned in power numbers of 330 pounds (bench press) and 575 pounds (squat) ... Named "Overall MVP" of the Schuman's National Underclassmen Combine in Ohio ... Also enjoyed an illustrious academic career with National Honor Society membership ... A two-time scholar-athlete selection who served student body as both a vice-president (2007-08) and president (2008-09) ... Resided in the top five percent of his class (Junior Marshall) with a 3.95 grade point average ... Participant in the Principal's Leadership Conference.
Personal: Full name is Matthew Paul Milner ... Born June 7, 1991 at Raleigh, N.C. ... Son of Andy and Ann Milner ... Father played college football at Allegheny College while grandfather (Emil Milner) was a football letterman at Delaware ... Earned a bachelor's of science degree in applied physics during ECU's 2013 Spring Commencement Exercises ... Currently pursuing a second undergraduate degree in the physics curriculum ... Consistently earned selection to the ECU Chancellor's List (4.0 grade point average) as undergraduate ... A three-time recipient of the prestigious Jerry T. Brooks Award (2010, 2011 and 2012), a honor representing status as the team's top individual academic performer ... Has also been the recipient of the C-USA Academic Medal (3.75 GPA or higher) on three occasions ... Picks prep coach as favorite all-time Pirate player (Sheehan lettered as an OL at ECU in 1998) ... Lists Pittsburgh Steelers' Hines Ward as favorite current NFL player ... Credits parents and coaches as most influential on career ... Was the 2010 winner of the Merck General Chemistry Achievement Award, which is presented to the top students who have gone through ECU's CHEM 1150/1160 General Chemistry Track ... Was among six chosen from approximately 600 students, based on grade-point average and results of the American Chemical Society's first semester general chemistry standardized exam ... Daily management of diabetes has been well-chronicled in numerous game-day television features ... Enjoys playing the piano, snow skiing, hunting and flying - in fact, has already earned his license as a private aviator.