Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Introducing the Class of 2013 (or 2014).

For the folks who aren't going to the reception at the Runway tonight, here's what Randy Edsall had to say about the incoming class along with some other notes.
  • Of the 21 recruits, 18 will enroll on June 28 for summer classes. Trevardo Williams, Keensen Chambers and Jesse Joseph are already in school. Edsall said Williams has surprised him with how much stronger he's gotten during the time he spent at Canterbury. "He's the closest, strength wise, to having an opportunity," Edsall said. Joseph needs to improve his strength, and Chambers is in a cast after recent wrist surgery, and won't be lifting for a while.

  • Wide receiver was one of the main (if not the biggest) concerns for improvement, and UConn responded with four recruits of all sizes. Dwayne Difton could be the impact player in the group. He played for St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, the top high school program in the nation this fall, where Cris Carter, the former Vikings star, coached the receivers. Edsall said he has, "tremendous speed" and watched his workout coming away "very impressed." Malik Generett, at 6-foot-5, was called "a winner and a leader," by Edsall. He led his William Penn (York, Pa.) football team to the playoffs, and is captain of the basketball team, currently 22-0.

  • Leon Kinnard, just 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, will be a quarterback at UConn until he says he doesn't want to be a quarterback anymore, Edsall said. Michael Box, the other quarterback recruit, has the more traditional 6-foot-3 frame. Both can throw the ball and maneuver in the pocket, Edsall said, traits the Huskies want for their offensive leaders.

  • Most of the class was born in 1991, meaning they've grown up knowing UConn as a Division I-A program. For the in-state players, it's viewed as a successful program (as opposed to an upstart) where all their goals can be accomplished. "We're getting to the point where a lot of kids understand they can flourish here, in-state kids especially," Edsall said. "If they haven't seen that, they're missing the boat. Because when you have a chance to be this close to home, and have your friends and family come and see you play all the time. And you can be an All-American here, because it's been done, and you can be a Rhodes Scholar candidate here, because it's been done, and you can win a Big East championship here, it's been done, you can get to the NFL from here, it can get done. Kids are starting to understand that. We need the coaches in this state to understand that because with the facilities and everything we have, you don't need to go anywhere else. Hopefully, we'll get more and more of the state kids to stay here at home."

  • Seymour's Mike Osiecki, the Gatorade State Player of the Year, comes from a football family. His dad starred at Ansonia, Arizona State and spent time in the NFL. His brother is a preferred walk-on quarterback at Louisville. In the mold of Mike Hicks, Eric Kuraczea, Edsall is beginning to love the Naugatuck Valley. "He is the epitome of the word football player," Edsall said. "Whatever (coach Paul Sponheimer) asked him to do, he'd go and do. He played tailback and middle linebacker, and never came off the field. He's one of those tough valley kids and gets the most out of his abilities."

  • It still hasn't been decided if Nick Williams, listed as an athlete, will play on offense or defense. Edsall said he doesn't foresee any two-way players ala Darius Butler. But Williams' main contributions will be as a return man, another area the coaches targeted for improvement.

  • Keep an eye on Martin Hyppolite, the tailback recruit from Wakefield, Mass. At 6-foot, 215-pounds and great lower-body strength, Edsall said he reminded him of a certain tailback about to leave the program early for the NFL. "We weren't certain if we were going to recruit a tailback," Edsall said. "With Donald out, Martin was at the top of our list. He has tremendous balance and strong legs. He reminds me of the guy leaving in terms of his balance and lower body strength. He's a guy we're excited about."


Blogger Eben said...

good to see you back in the saddle Chip!! and great to hear that all is well with your family. we all know that comes first. god bless and keep up the good work.
p.s. if you think the dude is creepy in the shamwow infomercial, go watch the Slapchop one. he actually says, quote,'re gonna love my nuts." yea eww.

February 04, 2009 5:52 PM 
Blogger Eben said...

good to see you are back, Chip!! and great to hear the family is well we all know that is of the utmost importance. god bless and keep up the good work.
p.s. if you think the dude is creepy in the Shamwow infomercial, go watch his Slap-chop one. he actually says, "you're gonna love my nuts." yea eww

February 04, 2009 5:54 PM 
Anonymous Den said...

First, welcome back. I wasn't aware of any medical issues going on (nor is it any of our business), but I'm just glad you're back and more importantly, everything seems to be ok.

Curious comments from Edsall regarding Kinnard. From what I've heard, he signed with UConn because they were the only school that allowed him to stay at QB. Given his size and Edsall's comments, I have to think Kinnard has as much of a chance of playing QB for UConn as I do. Seems more like a CB to me......

February 05, 2009 11:35 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Agree, Den. Edsall's comments were a little odd. It seemed like they got him there by saying he could be a QB, but they expect it won't take long for him to realize he's going to have a tough time seeing over his o-lineman and better suited at another position.

February 05, 2009 11:46 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true that UCONNs current recruiting class was rated 6th or 7th out of the 8 Big East teams? Somewhere between 76th and 80th nationally? Virtually every BCS school and several Mountain West, WAC, MAC, MVC, and C-USA schools had a higher rated incoming class?

Now I know its all speculation at this point and kids can pan out to be better than others rated higher in high school, but is it premature to expect UCONN to be inching upward given the 1) superior facilities/training center, 2) the co-big east title a year ago, 3)the nation's leading rusher, 4) selling Donald Thomas' rise to a rookie NFL starter, 5) better power and geographic scheduling (like ND, UNC, Baylor, Tenn, NC St, Maryland) and 6) the campus renewal/renaissance in the past decade?

I don't expect us to be recruiting with the Pete Carrolls and Urban Meyers, but if former laughingstock Rutgers and So. Fla (that didn't even have a D1 team a decade ago) can be ranked in the 20s, then why can't UCONN get to 50? Maybe my expectations are too high.

February 12, 2009 10:31 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Don't fall for those rankings. Sure, a "recruiting expert" (snort) can give a fairly accurate assessment of the top classes.

Without even knowing a single name, I can tell you USC, Oklahoma, LSU, Ohio State and Florida are probably somewhere in
the top 10.

But once you get past those elite 15-20 programs, ranking classes is a total crapshoot. Between 76 and 80? Please. Star rankings mean nothing. It's all about what happens once they arrive on campus. Folks should be 10 times more amped up for the start of spring practice than for signing day.

February 12, 2009 11:15 AM 

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