ECU starting offensive lineman suspended after charges

(Photo: Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire, Getty)

East Carolina senior starting offensive lineman Cortez Herrin was arrested late Saturday night with two marijuana charges, Pitt County Court records show.

Herrin, 22, was charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute (felony) and possession of marijuana paraphernalia (misdemeanor). He was booked on a $5,000 secured bond.

The Saluda, S.C., native has been suspended indefinitely as a result of the charges.

“We are aware of the matter concerning Cortez Herrin,” ECU coach Mike Houston said in a statement. “He has been suspended indefinitely from all football activities as we continue to gather information.”

Along with Herrin, ECU redshirt sophomore defensive end Dorian Hardy was also recently booked for failing to appear as a result of three misdemeanor driving charges: speeding, reckless driving, and no operator’s license. Hardy has also been suspended indefinitely from the program.

Hardy has appeared in two career games with one tackle. He suffered a season-ending knee injury last preseason and missed all of his redshirt freshman campaign. Hardy was previously arrested in 2018 along with running back Tay Williams for resisting a public officer.

The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Herrin has started for the Pirates the last three years along the offensive line at left guard when healthy. He missed significant time this past season with a knee injury, but still managed to participate in six games, including five starts.

Herrin was granted a medical hardship for his freshman season when he only appeared in one game during the 2016 campaign, allowing him an extra year of eligibility. He is entering his redshirt senior season with the Pirates as a result.

Marijuana is legal for adults in 11 states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts. Medicinal marijuana is also legal in 19 more states. Marijuana isn’t legal for recreational or medicinal use in North Carolina.

Herrin has been a key member of the Pirates’ offensive line the past few seasons. The South Carolina native has played in 27 career games with 22 starts under his belt. He started 16 games in a row the last two seasons at left guard before being sidelined prior to the Old Dominion game with a knee injury.

Counting Herrin’s return, the Pirates will bring back the majority of their offensive line from this season. Senior starting center Branden Pena has graduated and moved on, but the Pirates are expected to apply for an extra year for senior Fernando Frye, who has experience at guard and center. Left tackle D’Ante Smith and Herrin, both multiple-year starters, are expected to be back in 2020 to anchor the left side of the line. Right guard Sean Bailey (redshirt senior) and right tackle Matt Morgan (redshirt junior) will also return with starting experience next season.

The Pirates also redshirted Peyton Winstead, a player with starting center experience who will be a redshirt sophomore next season. Rising redshirt freshman Noah Henderson also started a few games at right tackle in 2019.

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