Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Signing Day notes

A few highlights from Edsall's signing day press conference:
  • The new assistant coaches are hired. An announcement will be made tomorrow.

  • Mike Cox decided to leave to attend grad school at the I-AA level. The decision was made over the weekend, so there's at least one scholarship opening.

  • Edsall said this is UConn's most athletic recruiting class ever. Lots of two and three sport athletes. Lots of speed.

  • As is the norm, a few of UConn's signees had other schools swoop in and attempt to change their minds. Cincinnati came in after Angelo Pruitt, Boston College on B.J. McBryde. Edsall says UConn doesn't have to do that because they already have everyone they want locked up.

  • One of the biggest holes to fill was in the secondary, and Edsall is happy with the five DBs he is bringing in. Andrew Opoku is a 6-4, 226-pound safety and Gilbert Stlouis is a cornerback from Davie, Fla. Both are already enrolled. Ty-Meer Brown, Byron Jones and Taylor Mack also come in with big expectations, though Edsall said their late enrollment will put them behind Opoku and Stlouis.

  • Side note: that is how Gilbert Stlouis spells his name, even though it is pronounced "St. Louis". I can't figure it out, either. I'd think it would at least be spelled "Saintlouis". Whatever. No one cares. Let's move on.

  • Speaking about Tebucky Jones Jr., Edsall said he needs to get in the weight room but is someone who is a tremendous athlete with the will to learn and succeed. He comes from a passing offense at New Britain High, where he caught 51 balls for 735 yards and eight touchdowns.

  • Edsall said during Jones' recruitment, he had an opportunity to walk around campus with his father, Tebucky Jones Sr., a former Syracuse star and eight-year NFL veteran. The elder Jones told Edsall if UConn had its current facilities back in the early 90s, he would have stayed home and gone to UConn rather than gone to Syracuse.

  • Scott McCummings and Leon Kinnard are both dual threat quarterbacks, but Edsall said that's not the new skill set he's looking for at the position. "The most important ingredient is someone who can throw the ball and is accurate," Edsall said. "If they have that, and the ability to run, that makes them more of a threat." I spoke with McCummings' high school coach Tom Lamb last week. Lamb, who coached Doug Flutie at Natick (Mass.) High, says McCummings can throw it 80 yards in the air. If true, that's an arm and a half.

  • McCummings and OL recruit Mark Hansson are two guys who'll at the very least be stars in the classroom. McCummings was recruited by Harvard, Hansson is currently taking college-level courses in the International Baccalaureate program.

  • Linebacker Josh Alexander of Waldorf, Md. set a state record with 21 sacks last season.

  • Reuben Frank was a star defensive end in high school, but will play fullback at UConn. Edsall said the coaches liked what they saw from him at the position during the school's summer camps.

  • Edsall called out the recruiting sites' and their class-rankings system for the sham it really is. "It's all very stupid, in my opinion," Edsall said. "For anyone to go out and rank classes, and to evaluate thousands and thousands and thousands of kids that are 17 and 18 years old, and think they're going to watch all this film and put a ranking on them, it's propaganda. And it's one of the things that's ruining the game, in my opinion. ... It's ruining kids, is what it's doing. I just hope some people come to their senses soon and does something about the recruiting process because we're in this to help young people and this process isn't helping young people. It's hurting them. Until that message gets across, it's not going to get better, it's going to get worse."

  • Edsall also said he's surprised that many high school football coaches in Connecticut still don't realize what the UConn program has to offer. Edsall said he "did his darnedest" to recruit all of the state's BCS signees from today to UConn. "The coaches are realizing the product we have here now. We beat Notre Dame, we beat South Carolina, we have a Big East championship. Sometimes it's tough to break the land of steady habits in terms of what their perception is." Edsall declined to name names. But you have to think he was referring to the majority of coaches in Fairfield County.

  • Expanding on the previous statement, Edsall said it bothers him that every year UConn offers discounted game tickets to high school coaches, offers free coaching clinics in the spring and opens up spring practice to all coaches. But "they don't get the kind of numbers you'd think," Edsall said. "That's what's disappointing to me. We are better received outside the state of Connecticut than what we are within the state, in certain pockets. That's tough to say, but you've got to say it because it's true."

  • Edsall did say he won't recruit kids who, in his opinion, aren't committed to academics, a strong work ethic and show a strong character.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Have you no opinion on Edsall's comments about CTHS coaches?

February 04, 2010 12:25 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

I'm not surprised many high school coaches are apathetic. Coaching is a part-time job for a high school head coach. A very time-consuming and very low-paid part-time job (considering the hours put in).

All are balancing coaching with their full-time jobs and family. Hard to call these guys out for something like this. Granted, it's great that UConn offers this and I would much rather have my kid play for a high school coach who cares enough to take the time to attend these sorts of things.

But not all high school coaches can pull it off or are willing to pull it off. Agree or disagree, I don't condemn them for not taking the time.

On the flip side...if there are coaches with Division I-caliber talent on the roster (which is a very small percentage, mind you) and they aren't doing all they can to get those players noticed by college coaches and helping determine what programs their kids should be looking at, that's another story.

February 04, 2010 1:08 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

As for the kids, sometimes they just don't want to stick around this neck of the woods. As Edsall said it happens everywhere. Kids see college as an opportunity to get out and see more of the country, whether they are athletes or not. Some kids actually factor in things other than football, like specific academic programs offered (shocker, I know), how they anticipate themselves fitting into a program and how their personality will mesh with a coach. And sometimes simple location can work against a program recruiting in-state kids, and there's nothing that can be done.

February 04, 2010 1:17 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about some reaction from the state high school foothball coaches to Edsall's comments. I am sure you would find the perspective a bit different. There are two sides to every story (at least that's what they used to teach in journalism class).

February 04, 2010 6:45 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Anonymous, (same guy as first post? different? Leave a name, people!)

In retrospect, hearing what a high school coach or two feels about this wouldn't have hurt. Still, while there are two sides to every story, but only one side to a man's opinion. Edsall is only giving his opinion. I can't see why any coach would be offended by Edsall saying he'd like to see more coaches active in the clinics UConn is offering.

But for the most part, you're right. Should have been a better effort on my end.

February 04, 2010 7:31 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home