Thursday, June 21, 2007

One more note

In conjunction with my notes on the high school track season, I neglected to mention that UConn will have another All-State sprinter in camp this summer. Josh Massey of Notre Dame-West Haven, who placed fourth in the 100 meters at the State Open (behind Trevardo Williams but ahead of Marcus Campbell) is planning to walk-on to the football team at UConn. That will give the Huskies three of the state's top five sprinters, all capable of running sub 11-seconds in the 100. Massey, who is 5-9 and 185 and ran a 10.85 at the State Open and was sixth at the New England Open, played running back and defensive back at Notre Dame. He'll also run track at UConn.

Nixon still waiting to qualify

A tidbit I wrote in today's print edition of the Register that didn't make it online, plus a few other notes and observations:

New Haven ’s James Nixon, one of the University of Connecticut ’s top recruits, has yet to qualify academically and is not enrolled at the school of yet, UConn football coach Randy Edsall said Wednesday.

Nixon, a graduate of Hyde and the Register’s Athlete of the Year in 2006, spent the last school year at Bridgeton ( Maine ) Academy.

He reportedly took the ACT recently and is awaiting the results. Student-athletes must achieve a minimum score on standardized tests in order to be eligible according to NCAA rules.

“James is not in school right now,” Edsall said after playing his round during the pro-am at the Travelers Championship. “He has some tests to wait on and then we’ll see. It’s something we want done.”

Edsall also commented, albeit carefully, on wide receiver Brandon McLean (Nixon’s brother), who was academically dismissed by the university last week.

"Remember, it was the university's decision, not my decision,” Edsall said. “The school parted ways with him. But yes, all our ties with him are severed."

According to a source close to McLean, the receiver, who will be a senior, is looking to transfer and play somewhere this fall. Southern Connecticut State and Massachusetts are among his top choices.
  • The blog has been on hiatus since late April due to numerous personal reasons. I'm planning to slowly ease back into it over the next few weeks and be in full swing by the time Big East Media Day in Newport rolls around on July 17, which will also be the one year anniversary of the Runway blog. Expect some sort of goofy tribute to celebrate.

  • I covered most of the season-ending high school track meets in Connecticut for the first time, and was amazed at the size and speed of the top sprinters. UConn defensive end recruits Trevardo Williams of Bridgeport Central (only a junior) ran a season-best 10.69 in the 100, while Bloomfield's Marcus Campbell's top time was a 10.85. Did I mention both are defensive ends? James Nixon clocked a 10.65 in the 100 in 2006. Combined with the other burners coming in and already on the roster, and UConn's football team is every bit as fast as the track team.

One guy UConn missed out on is Hillhouse phenom Terrell Wilks. Having no track training prior to the indoor season, Wilks blazed to a 10.42 in the 100 (which would have demolished the state mark of 10.55 had the wind been .7 miles-per hour slower) and is considered one of the fastest scholastic athletes in the nation.

He was also a wide receiver on Hillhouse's state championship football team, and will play both sports at Villanova. Florida and Clemson came in late with track offers, but Wilks wanted to play both sports. His decision to attend Villanova was partly because UConn's recruitment of him was somwehat uncordial. Seems last fall Wilks was invited to attend the Huskies game against West Virginia, but the school never made final arrangements. Wilks waited for a phone call that never came. Finally, just a few hours before kick off, Hillhouse track coach Gary Moore got in touch with one of the recruiters, who put Wilks' name on the list and said he was still welcome to attend.

UConn was lukewarm on Wilks at the time because they felt he was too thin and, according to Moore, too slow. Then news spread of Wilks' time in the 55 meters at the Dartmouth Invitational in December (only his second track meet ever), a blazing 6.37 seconds that rated the third-best time in the country. Many schools, including UConn, jumped on board. Wilks went with a Villanova program that showed interest from the start. Wilks will play in the Governor's Cup football game at the Runway next Thursday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

McLean dismissed

It’s been a tumultuous two months for New Haven’s Brandon McLean.

A soft-spoken and humble junior wide receiver for the University of Connecticut football team, McLean was arrested twice in a four-day span in April by campus police and charged with breach of peace.

On Friday, the news got worse. McLean was dismissed by the university for undisclosed reasons. A source close to the situation said it was an academic dismissal. Calls from the Register to McLean’s New Haven home went unanswered.

McLean, a former standout at Hyde, was arrested on April 18 after a dispute at a campus dorm and charged with threatening, criminal trespass and breach of peace. Three days later, he was arrested again outside the campus police department after a fight with Dexter Royes, a 47-year old New Britain man. McLean was again charged with breach of peace.

Last week, a Rockville Superior Court judge continued McLean’s case to July 26. In response to the arrests, UConn head coach Randy Edsall suspended McLean for the first three games of the upcoming season for conduct unbecoming a football player.

On Friday, sources said, Edsall received word of McLean’s grades from the spring semester. The decision to dismiss, however, came not from Edsall but from the university.

McLean, a starter as a sophomore, saw his playing time diminish last fall. After starting the first four games, he moved to a back-up role before a broken ankle ended his season in November. He finished with three receptions for 41 yards.

Extra points

In other team news released Friday, offensive lineman Andrew Presnell has quit the team and backup cornerback Darren McKahn has decided to transfer. Robert McClain, a backup running back who played mainly on special teams last season, will move to cornerback for the upcoming season. McClain is also in line to become the team’s punt returner.