|33 Norman Whitley|
Hoping to re-energize promising career and finish in stellar fashion after veering slightly off a course that produced a team-high rushing total during sophomore campaign in 2008 ... Arrival of new coaching staff and different offensive scheme appears to be a promising mixture for an explosive, high-intensity and talented running back ... Also has proven to be a reliable pass catcher out of the tailback slot ... Height and strength allows a thrusting, low, ball-carrying angle ... However, has virtually missed all of the last two spring practice periods because of personal (2009) and injury (2010) reasons, while also overcoming two (2006, 2008) separate off-season shoulder surgeries ... Could contend for a return to the depth chart and significant playing time if health can be maintained ... Opened recent spring camp in satisfactory fashion, but after missing the first scrimmage (April 3) because of a family emergency, suffered a left knee injury April 9 that forced him to the sidelines for the remainder of drills ... His candidness and outgoing personality has allowed him to remain a media favorite.
2009: Entered junior season as ECU's top returning rusher, but only appeared in nine games - most in a special teams role ... Did not experience action in first five games before making season debut at SMU (and following with stints against Rice, Memphis, Virginia Tech, Tulsa, UAB, Southern Miss, Houston and Arkansas) ... Rushed three times for two yards and made a nine-yard reception against Mustangs, but did not touch the ball in the offensive backfield for the remainder of the year ... Served as the Pirates' top kickoff returner in nationally-televised clash against Virginia Tech ... Made four returns and picked up 64 yards, including a long of 20 on first attempt, vs. the Hokies.
2008: Led Pirates in rushing, compiling 698 yards and four touchdowns on 142 carries - an average of nearly 5.0 yards per attempt ... Played in all 14 games and made five starts (Memphis, UCF, Marshall, Southern Miss and UAB) ... Also recorded seven catches for 83 yards out of the backfield, one of which was a 51-yard TD reception at Tulane that also served as his first collegiate score ... In all, averaged 11.9 yards per reception ... Established career-highs in both yards and rushing attempts with a 28-carry, 135-yard performance at UCF which helped the Pirates to a pivotal Conference USA overtime road victory ... Authored two triple-digit rushing efforts, adding a 104-yard performance on 14 carries against Tulsa in the Conference USA Championship Game ... Also turned in a career-long run with a 69-yarder for a TD vs. the Golden Hurricane in the league title matchup, which also served as the second-longest ground gain in C-USA Championship Game history ... Had only 18 carries in first six games (3.0 cpg) but closed year averaging 15.5 attempts per contests in the last eight tilts (124) ... In addition to long TD jaunt at Tulsa, also added ground scores vs. N.C. State (42-yarder), Memphis (12) and UCF (two) ... Scoring rush vs. Knights came with 1:51 to play and sent game into overtime ... Other rushing efforts of note occurred in contests vs. Houston (9-83), UTEP (12-77), Southern Miss (14-71), Marshall (23-68) and Memphis (15-60) ... Averaged a season-best 9.2 yards per carry against Cougars as a reserve ... Contributed a seven-attempt, 31-yard outing vs. Kentucky in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl ... Top reception yard effort came vs. Tulane (52 on two catches), while top reception total was racked up vs. Marshall (4-31) ... First-ever ground touchdown was 42-yarder at Carter-Finley Stadium vs. Wolfpack.
2007: Redshirt freshman who rushed for 44 yards on six carries in eight games ... Campaign-long rush of 14 yards came in the final regular season game vs. Tulane ... Also experienced action as member of special teams squad ... Made debut in ECU backfield against West Virginia and rushed four times for 29 yards, which included a long of 12 yards in the fourth quarter ... Ran once for one yard against UAB before 14-yard pickup against the Green Wave ... Did not play in games vs. UCF, UTEP, N.C. State, Memphis and Marshall.
2006: Redshirted ... Spent majority of fall rehabilitating from shoulder surgery ... Officially signed with the ECU program in February, 2006.
High School: Captured back-to-back conference MVP honors for a tradition-rich Richmond County program ... Earned four letters and helped guide the Raiders to a combined 52-4 record during prep career which included consecutive conference titles in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 ... Rushed for 2,175 yards and scored 24 touchdowns as a senior ... Established Richmond County single-season records a year earlier as a junior with 2,666 rushing yards (290 carries) and 39 ground scores ... Averaged an impressive 9.2 yards per carry as a junior ... Ran for over 700 yards as a sophomore ... Opened high school career by becoming the first freshman in Raider history to score two playoff touchdowns ... Elected team captain during senior campaign ... Top single-game effort of note was a 377 all-purpose yard performance, which included a 91-yard kickoff return, against Millbrook High School ... Listed as the 11th-best prospect in North Carolina by SuperPrep Magazine ... Selected to play in the prestigious Shrine Bowl and responded with an MVP performance ... Rushed for 132 yards to lead North Carolina to a 28-24 win over South Carolina ... Produced a 40 time of 4.47 ... Coach was ECU Hall-of-Fame member and former Pirate coach Ed Emory (1980-1984).
Personal: Full name is Norman Eugene Whitley ... Born January 2, 1987 ... Earned a bachelor's degree in family community services in December, 2009 and is currently pursuing a second undergraduate degree in hospitality management this fall ... Hobbies include video games ... Has been a multi-year selection to the ECU Athletic Director's Honor Roll.