Monday, May 30, 2016

Former UConn DE Reuben Frank getting his shot in CFL

The list of players from UConn giving the Canadian Football League a shot continues to grow.

Yesterday, former UConn defensive end Reuben Frank was signed by Edmonton. He is one of five former UConn players currently in CFL training camps as Martin Bedard and Jesse Joseph are both with Montreal, Trevardo Williams is in camp with Toronto and former No. 1 overall CFL draft pick Alex Mateas is set to begin his second season with Ottawa. Also, Hamden's Byron Pinkston (who played at Florida International) is trying to make the Calgary roster and former Southern Connecticut State standout Ikponwosa Igbinosun is in camp with Montreal.

Frank is an intriguing prospect. He began his collegiate career as a fullback and caught 12 passes for the Huskies during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He moved to defensive end as a junior and had 50 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for loss and 3 sacks as a junior and senior.

At UConn's pro day in 2015, Frank worked with the running backs in the position drills and also worked alongside fellow defensive linemen including B.J. McBryde, now with the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Frank earned an invitation to try out with the Detroit Lions.

Edmonton's first preseason game is set for June 11 against Calgary. The CFL preseason schedule kicks off on June 8 when Montreal plays at Winnipeg.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Former UConn WR Geremy Davis drawing plenty of praise

Former UConn receiver Geremy Davis had a rather uneventful rookie season after the New York Giants took him in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL draft.

I've been seeing multiple reports where Davis has been working with the first-team offense. Some of that could be a result of players being held out of the Organized Team Activities but it gives Davis a chance to show what he can do.

Quarterback Eli Manning gave his thoughts on Davis in an interview posted on the Giants official site.

"Geremy is a bright guy," Manning said. "He knows the offense very well. He studies hard. He’s really in tune with what his assignments are. He’s got great size. He’s one of our bigger receivers. You can move him around and put him in different spots. He’s going to be really keyed into what his assignment is, so that’s always helpful. Hopefully, he can step up and get on a roll and make some plays for us come game time."

Also, Shamar Stephen returned to the field for the Vikings at their OTA sessions and here's a story about him posted on the Vikings' official site.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

UConn signees star in CCC Central track championships

In a few months Tyler Coyle and Keyion Dixon will be teammates with the UConn football team but before they arrive in Storrs they are busy finishing their high school track and field careers in style.
Earlier today they combined to win three events at the CCC Central Regional championships at Simsbury.

Coyle was a part of the winning 4x100 relay squad which ran a blistering time of 42.17 seconds, winning by nearly two seconds. He also won the long jump with a leap of 21-2 while Dixon was the winner in the 300 intermediate hurdles. Dixon's time of 39.45 is not only the fastest among the qualifiers for next week's Class LL championships but according to the CIAC official site, is the fastest in the state this season. Windsor's qualifying time of 41.85 in the 4x100 relay, set during the Glen Loucks Games on May 14, is the state's best this season.

Coyle is one of four runners who have qualifying times under 11 seconds in the 100 meters in next week's CIAC Class MM championships and the 4x100 relay team is currently the top qualifier, is currently the No. 5 seed in the long jump and would be one of the top qualifiers in the 200 if he opts to run in that race.

The duo went head to head in the 100. Coyle finished second with a time of 10.98 with Dixon taking third at 11.21. Weaver's Mark Doyley won the event with a time of 10.91.

The Class LL meet is set for June 1 at Willow Brook Park with the Class MM championships held at the same time at Middletown High School.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

UConn signee Herring shines at New Englands

UConn incoming freshman Tahj Herring made a spirited run at a pair of New England titles on Saturday.

Herring, a senior at Suffield Academy, finished tied for second in the 100 meters at the New England Prep School Track Association Division II championships hosted by Tabor Academy.

Herring was the No. 2 qualifier in the 100 meters with a qualifying time of 11.18 seconds and topped that with a clocking of 11.14 to finish tied for second in the finals.

Herring finished fourth in the 200 with a time of 23.22 and anchored Suffield Academy's third-place 4x100 relay team as he scored  12 1/2 of the 32 points for eighth-place Suffield.

Herring finished his career with 33 3/4 points in the New Englands.

It remains to be seen what impact UConn's incoming freshman class will have on the football field but if nothing else, the class could have one heck of a 4x100 relay team.

Herring came into Saturdays meet with a season-best clocking of 11.02 seconds, according to the most recent list of qualifiers on the CIAC site Tyler Coyle of Windsor has run as fast as 10.95 at the Middletown Invitational while Glastonbury's Keyion Dixon best listed time is 11.29 at the East Hartford Invitational while Quayvon Skanes twice ran as fast as 11.06 earlier this month leading up to the Chicago Public School meet.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Former Long Beach State AD Cegles hired at UConn

Vic Cegles, the director of athletics at Long Beach State since 2006, has been named Deputy Athletic Director at UConn.

Cegles, who will serve as the sport administrator for the UConn men’s basketball, baseball and golf programs, was named the 2014-15 Athletics Director of the Year in NCAA I-AAA by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

Among Cegles' hires during his time at Long Beach State is UConn AD David Benedict who worked for Cegles from 2007-10 and also served in the same athletic department at Arizona State from 1996-2002.

"I am elated that Vic Cegles has made the decision to join the UConn family," Benedict said in a statement. "Vic has a diverse background and will bring a vast amount of leadership experience in collegiate athletics, including running his own successful athletic department, in addition to serving over 21 years at Power Five institutions. While Vic’s focus will be on the external areas of the department, he will be a key member of my leadership team and will be counted on to make many of the day-to-day decisions.

“Vic brings with him ties to the Northeast, over 30 years of college athletics experience and a reputation for developing student-athletes and coaches alike. He believes in the mission of higher education and may be one of the most competitive individuals I know.”

Cegles earned a reputation for coordinating successful fundraising campaigns in his stints. Cegles spearheaded Long Beach State’s first ever capital campaign and raised over $25 million for athletics. Long Beach teams captured 36 Big West championships, made 70 NCAA postseason appearances under his leadership and have won the conference's Commissioner’s Cup for six years in a row. 

The Long Beach Press Telegram first reported Cegles' move from Long Beach State to UConn.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Diaco generating interest in UConn program

Time will tell how the 2016 UConn football season progresses and what the crowds look like at the seven home games. However, head coach Bob Diaco is certainly doing his part to drum up support for the team heading into his third season.

He took part in meet and greets with UConn fans in Hartford and New York this week. The Associated Press did a story on Diaco's visit to Van Diemens on 3rd Avenue in New York. The story has been appearing on websites and papers across the country and there is no way of quantifying how valuable this is and will be for the program moving forward.

It is not the first time that Diaco has done this. I did a story back in 2014 when he made a similar appearance at Buffalo Wild Wings in Milford. Since Diaco has been on the job at UConn he has certainly tried to get the word out and he should be commended for that. His success at UConn will ultimately be determined by wins and losses but he is doing his part as the face of UConn football to get the word out. I have seen posts on social media suggesting that Diaco's third team with the Huskies bears similarities to Matt Rhule's third squad at Temple which won 10 games during the regular season and played in the American Athletic Conference title game. If the Huskies can approach the kind of success the 2015 Temple team enjoyed, the fans including some likely at these "road tour" events will get to see what Diaco was hired to do, turn around the fortunes of the UConn football program.

Diaco's next stop on his road tour is Dockside Seafood & Grill in Branford on Monday from 5:30-8 p.m. and on June 16 he will appear at Jasper White's Summer Shack in Cambridge, Mass.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

UConn's Crozier named to Rimington Trophy watch list

UConn redshirt sophomore center Ryan Crozier is one of 56 players named to the Rimington Trophy spring watch list.

What's interesting is that this is Crozier's second appearance on the Rimington watch list but he has yet to appear in a game at center for the Huskies. Last year he was also named to the watch list as he was expected to replace the graduated Alex Mateas as UConn's No. 1 center but a knee injury would sideline him for the 2015 season.

Crozier, who played at national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,, appeared in 10 games as a true freshman in 2014. He started at left guard in the final three games of the season.

Crozier returned to the field for spring practice and assumed the role of starting center as he had during the 2015 spring drills before suffering his injury.

The award is named after Dave Rimington, a two-time All-American center at Nebraska and two-time winner of the Outland Trophy.

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