Colchester United boss John Ward has signed rookie defender Tom Eastman on a free transfer from Ipswich Town.
The 19-year-old has turned down a six-month contract at Portman Road to make the short move to Essex, where he has agreed a two-year deal.
Eastman, who was born in Colchester, has appeared 13 times for the Tractor Boys but did not figure after Paul Jewell arrived as manager in January.
Ward told the club's official website: "As well as a player who can come in and compete now he is also one for the future.
"It gives us good competition in that area. He has come to kick his career on and play some football, and this is a move which fits in nicely for him and for us."