Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wrapping up Big East media day

I managed to survive my first Big East football media day. Judging by the fact that I probably wrote twice as much as my boss was expecting from me I'd say it was a productive event.

Starting with the UConn side of things, head coach Paul Pasqualoni said that freshman quarterback Casey Cochran should be getting the cast off his left hand around Aug. 24. Pasqualoni said he has not seen the cast which became necessary when the former Masuk High star fell off his bike so he is not sure how much he will be impacted when practice starts later this week.
Tailback Lyle McCombs, the only sophomore among the 31 Big East players at media day, said he's really been impressed with the leadership of the offensive linemen.
Senior cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson had the best line about whether UConn, picked sixth in the preseason poll, can make a run at a Big East title.

"We've done it before and we can do it again," Wreh-Wilson said.

I thought it was interesting that McCombs was reluctant to announce any individual goals he has for the upcoming season but senior defensive end Trevardo Williams took a different approach saying he is shooting for "15 or 16 sacks" as a senior.

Senior tight end Ryan Griffin hails from Londonderry, N.H., a town I lived in for six years when I was a kid. One of my neighbors were the Griffins so I asked him if he was related to a Rita Griffin and he said that name did not ring a bell. That would have been proof that it was a small world if he was related to one of those Griffins.

Louisville was picked to win the league which is something that was of little concern to Cardinals' head coach Charlie Strong.

"It doesn't matter," Strong said. "We've been picked last, we've been picked seventh and now we've been picked first. It doesn't matter and I don't pay attention to it. We have a great young football team, a lot of starters returning so we have a good team coming back and it is just how well we are going to work together."

Louisville received 24 of the 28 first-place votes. The other four went to South Florida, which was picked to finish second. The always quotable Skip Holtz, a former UConn head coach, put it in perspective since his Bulls finished tied with Syracuse for last place in the 2011 standings.

"I think it shows that there is probably not another league where a last-place team could receive four first-place votes the following year," Holtz said. "I think it just goes to show you the respect they have for these four young men and the seniors that we have coming back but I also thinks it shows just how close the difference is between winning and losing in this league. We (the Big East) might not have that high, high team that has been there over the last four years but we don't have that perennial doormat either. Every year this league is extremely competitive and I think everybody is looking back at what is coming back and just how close we were a year ago. We are four plays away from being 9-3. The difference between winning and losing is that close."

Naturally much of the attention was not on the teams present but the uncertain future of the Big East so interim commissioner Joe Bailey and Senior Associate Commissioner Nick Carparelli garnered plenty of attention from the assembled media. Carparelli said that a commissioner should be named by the end of August.

They preached optimism and believe that the Big East could still be a major player down the road something that others question especially with West Virginia now in the Big 12 and the ACC welcoming Pittsburgh and Syracuse in 2013.
"We are working on any or all options on our champions," Bailey said. "There are going to be years when we compete for semifinal spots, there are going to be years when we are in the top 10 and there are going to be other years when we have to make sure they have a great place to play."

Carparelli, a Cheshire native, said that the makeup of the two divisions beginning in 2013 was debated when the conference held meetings on Monday in Newport and also Carparelli said it's too early to count out the Big East in terms of being a player when the Bowl Championship Subdivision heads to a four-team playoff.

"In print and in television there are people have been critical of the Big East and pessimistic about our future," Carparelli said. "I will remind you that we are barely three months into a process than won't go into effect until 2 1/2 years from now. It is premature to evaluate our position in the 2014 season today. Major details of the new format are not yet been decided."

I was unable to get a note on former Cheshire High football coach Steve Addazio, now the coach at Temple, into tomorrow's paper but I had to push it back for space purposes. I will pass on a couple of quotes.

First was a classic line from Strong, who coached with the fiery Addazio at Florida after Addazio acted like he was ready to get into a three-point stance when he addressed the media.

"You heard him a while ago, my man needed some decaf," Strong said with a laugh.

Finally, I asked Addazio for his thoughts on the departure of his former assistant coach Mark Ecke as the head coach at Cheshire High after Ecke resigned under pressure after he was accused of causing a scene at a lacrosse game his son was playing at.

"This is a business and it is a business of change," Addazio said. "You have to learn how to adapt and you have to learn how to overcome. Mark is a tough guy and he will do that. We've all had our rises and our drops and that is a part of the business. Mark will come back. He is a good football coach and a great person. He'll keep working and it will all work out."

UConn picked to finish sixth in the Big East

UConn was selected to finish sixth out of eight teams in the Big East preseason poll, which was released on Tuesday.

Louisville received 24 of the 28 first-place votes and is the preseason No. 1 pick. South Florida (four first-place votes) was selected second followed by Rutgers, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, UConn, Syracuse and Temple

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another reported commitment

The recruiting databases are reporting that guard Kyle Schafenacker from national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. has committed to UConn.

The 6-foot-4 Schafenacker was part of an offensive line which allowed St. Thomas Aquinas to average more than 180 rushing yards per game in 2011 and the Raiders ran for 34 touchdowns in 12 games last season.

New Jersey DB/WR commits to UConn

Jamar Summers, a wide receiver/defensive back out of Orange, N.J., committed to UConn.

Summers ran 13 times for 91 yards and one touchdown while catching 28 passes for 580 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior at Orange High. On defense he had 25 tackles and three interceptions.

Summers had a pair of 100-yard receiving games in 2011. In a win over Newark Central Summer caught three passes for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns and in a first-round playoff loss to Caldwell he caught five passes for 131 yards and a touchdowns. He also threw for 165 yards in a win over Barringer and ran three times for 112 yards including an 80-yard TD in a win over Glen Ridge.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Looking forward to a new challenge, assignment

In a perfect world I would have announced that I am taking over day to day coverage of the UConn football program with the first blog entry.

However, I wanted to meet with UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni first and since news broke on the beat before that took place, I have been posting some recruiting news as well as updates on UConn players in the NFL so in some ways I am putting the cart in front of the horse with the announcement that I am the Register's new UConn football beat writer but better late than never, I guess.

With the Big East coaches and selected players being available to the media tomorrow and Tuesday, I guess this is as good a time as any to write this blog. I am no stranger to UConn having covered nine Final Fours and five national championship teams during my stints at the UConn women's basketball beat writer and will continue to cover the UConn women in addition to handling UConn football coverage. I also spent a year covering recruiting of UConn several years back and have covered an occasional UConn football game. For the last four years I was a Yale football beat writer and also was the Register's lead high school football writer for a few years. My love of college football began when I spent two years in Miami in the early 1980s. I was a regular at the University of Miami home games during the 1983 and 1984 seasons and was in the stands when Miami beat Nebraska in the 1984 to win the program's first national championship.

I know I have no easy task following in the footsteps of former beat writer Chip Malafronte. Chip has taken a new role as the Register's sports columnist and I imagine he will still be around UConn quite a bit. Every person handles an assignment differently and I am sure this will be the case with me as well. I will do my best to provide recruiting news as well as trying to bring insight into the players who suit up for UConn. There are interesting times in the college football world with the unstable environment surrounding conference realignment, the long desired move to a playoff system in the highest level of collegiate football and of course there is the situation at Penn State which continues to unfold. I'm very excited about my new assignment. It will be a much different situation from my time covering Yale when I was pretty much the only newspaper to cover the team (not counting the campus newspaper). That is certainly not the case with UConn so I clearly have my work cut out for me.

In addition to my twitter account NHRJimFuller, I have created a facebook page at www.facebook.com https://www.facebook.com/UConnFootball which I encourage you to like as I will be posting updates on that page.

When I sat down with Paul Pasqualoni on Monday the future of the Big East was one of the topics of the interview. I filed a story for tomorrow's paper about that subject. I was curious to get Pasqualoni's take on the impending departure of Syracuse for the ACC since he won more than 100 games during his 14 seasons as the Syracuse head coach and guided the Orange to nine bowl games. He was more focused on who was coming into the Big East than he was who was leaving and also addressed how the addition of teams from Florida, Texas and California could positively impact UConn's recruiting. The video below has Pasqualoni's thoughts on those subjects.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teggart waived by Bears

Former UConn kicker Dave Teggart was cut by the Chicago Bears on Saturday as the Bears signed cornerback Jeremy Ware,

According to a ESPNChicago blog post, Teggart was informed of the decision before Friday's practice.

Teggart was signed by the Bears after working out at Chicago's minicamp in May.

Teggart set nearly every kicking record at UConn from 2008-2009. He finished 128 of 129 on extra points, had 74 field goals including a 52 yarder against South Florida in 2010 which clinched a spot in a BCS bowl game.


Friday, July 27, 2012

2012 roster is up

Thought I'd pass along that UConn has posted its roster.

Former Xavier High star Graham Stewart, who transferred from Florida, is on the roster (and has been given No. 24) as is freshman lineman Andreas Knappe from Denmark, who is listed as a defensive tackle.

Looking at the roster from the final game of the 2011 season, I see 12 players with eligibility remaining who are not on the roster:
Linebacker Andrew Opoku (has transferred to Delaware)
Safety Jerome Junior (dismissed from team)
Cornerback Tevrin Brandon (dismissed from team)
Linebacker Matt Edwards (graduated)
Fullback Brendan McLaughlin
Cornerback Chris Lopes (transferred to Sacramento State)
Fullback Mark Hinkley (transferred to Bryant)
Linebacker Jerome Williams (previously reported that he would be transferring)
Tight end Corey Manning (graduated)
Tight end Teddy Baker (transferred to Wesleyan)
Tight end Mark Hansson

I do find it worth noting that a couple of former Southern Connecticut Conference stars received some prominent numbers. Former Hillhouse lineman and freshman center Rennick Bryan will wear No. 57 which was worn with tremendous distinction by former starting center Moe Petrus in the past four years. Also former Xavier High star Sean Marinan, a preferred walk on, was given No. 99 which was the number worn by Kendall Reyes. I also noticed at least three number changes as safety Ty-Meer Brown goes from No. 40 to No. 15 and running back Martin Hyppolite goes from No. 45 to No. 25 and Deshon Foxx, who wore No. 10 last year, is now wearing No. 4.

UConn also announced that practices will be open to the public on Tuesday Aug. 7 from 3-5:30 p.m., Tuesday Aug. 14 (3-5:30) and Saturday Aug. 18 (8:45-11:15 a.m.) on the practice fields off of Alumni Drive.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Malik Golden staying at Penn State

Former UConn recruiting target Malik Golden tweeted that he will be staying at Penn State.

Golden drew quite a bit of interest from UConn when he was at Cheshire Academy before committing to Penn State leading to speculation that if he chose to transfer that the Newington native could land at UConn. That ended when Golden wrote on his twitter account Staying here at PSU. This teams about to do something special and I want to be apart of it. #weare

Also, UConn received a commitment from defensive back Javon Hadley out of Palmetto High in Miami. Here is a link to a site which includes a video of Hadley in action

Monday, July 23, 2012

Latest on Casey Cochran, Graham Stewart

As I promised in the previous entry, I have some stuff to pass on off my interview with Paul Pasqualoni this morning.

Pasqualoni said freshman quarterback and two-time Gatorade state player of the year Casey Cochran's broken left thumb figures to hamper him for 4-6 weeks with Pasqualoni figuring it could be closer to six weeks than four.

Pasqualoni will have to wait a couple of weeks to see how bulky the cast is on Cochran's left hand to see whether he'll be able to take snaps when camp opens.

"Mentally, Casey is on top of things so he'll still be learning," Pasqualoni said, "He'll still be out there and getting reps. If he is not getting the actual physical rep, he will be getting the mental rep. It is just a matter of 
'will he be able to take a snap under the center?' The shotgun stuff he will be able to handle. I don't 
know how he'll configure or what they can configure with the cast so that is kind of a TBA deal, we will 
have to wait and see what happens. Six weeks puts us at just about the start of the season."

As for another highly-touted former Connecticut high school star, Pasqualoni didn't have much information on whether Florida transfer and former Xavier High star Graham Stewart would be eligible this season.

"I really don't know exactly when that committee meets (to rule on Stewart's hardship request to not have to sit out a season after transferring) but obviously time is getting a little short right now," Pasqualoni said. "The good news is he does have a redshirt year because he did play last year as a true freshman so he is what I would consider a guy who has four years to play three. If it works out this year, that's great. If not, then he will practice and learn the system and still have three years with us."

I asked Pasqualoni that if every player he was expecting to be returning to the team in the fall would be doing so and he said "at this point, yeah."

Pasqualoni has been relieved that it has been a relatively quiet summer in terms of off the field issues with the current Huskies.

"You have 85 guys, it's like anything else there are going to be things that come up with 85 people," Pasqualoni said. "Not every day is going to go perfect so you just hope that there are no real big issues. You hope that the behavior issues - knock on wood - the guys have been really good but we still two weeks left. You worry about the injury stuff. They are here running and lifting. They could get hurt  in the weight room they can get hurt conditioning. They can pull hamstrings, groins and all that other stuff so you are hoping 
that all this stuff doesn't happen. Unfortunately for Casey, he was home riding his bike, hit the curb and fell."

Pasqualoni couldn't comment on the status of former Clemson receiver Bryce McNeal, who indicated back in January that he planned to transfer to UConn or Andreas Knappe, a 6-9 offensive line recruit from Denmark. 

Of the duo, it seems as if Knappe is the more likely to play for the Huskies in the upcoming season. McNeal visited Louisville over the weekend and has yet to enroll at UConn so it figures to be more of a wait and see deal with him.

I also got a position by position breakdown from Pasqualoni but I'll probably wait to post that until we get closer to Big East media day.

I did want to pass on the fact that I created a facebook page where I will be posting links to stories, blogs and videos so feel free to go to https://www.facebook.com/UConnFootball and like the page if you wish.

Pasqualoni reacts to Penn State situation

For more than a month I've been waiting to sit down with UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni so we could meet and exchange some thoughts, pretty standard operating procedure when somebody takes over a new assignment. As luck would have it, that meeting was set for this morning. Naturally, one of the topics raised was Pasqualoni's thoughts about the sanctions being levied against his Penn State, his alma mater.

My interview with Pasqualoni ended about 30 minutes before the sanctions were announced but still I thought I would pass on what Pasqualoni had to say.

Pasqualoni not only played for Joe Paterno but during his final three seasons with the Nittany Lions, convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky was a defensive assistant at Penn State and was Pasqualoni’s position coach in the UConn coach’s final two seasons.

Following a report filed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh which stated that Paterno and Penn State’s culture contributed in allowing Sandusky to molest multiple children without appropriate action being taken to either stop the abuse or let authorities know of the allegations, the NCAA released its own findings in a press conference on Monday morning.

The NCAA levied a $60 million fine, has vacated 111 victories from 1998-2011, reduced the number of scholarships by 10 initially and 20 each year for a four-year period. Penn State has also been banned from postseason play for four years and was placed on probation for five years. Current Penn State players are allowed the transfer and will be able to play immediately.

“Not just for me because I am a Penn State grad and I played there but I just think, No. 1 it is such an unfortunate thing that whatever happened happened,” said Pasqualoni, who was a linebacker at Penn State from 1968-71.”(I am) thinking of those kids (molested by Sandusky) first. I have young kids, I have a 13, 12 and 10 (year old children) so I couldn't imagine living through that.”

Unlike the NCAA levying the “death penalty” on the Southern Methodist University football programs in the 1980s following a series of recruiting violations and improper benefits paid to football players, Penn State’s violations were not a result of trying to gain a competitive advantage.

“This is not (about) recruiting violations, this is not extra practices,” Pasqualoni said. “This territory that the NCAA is now getting into with Penn State is unprecedented territory. I, like everybody else, am just interested to see exactly what happens and I am curious how they will approach it.”

This was far from the only subject discussed. At some point later today I will have more from our interview.

UConn just sent out a statement from Pasqualoni on the Penn State penalties.

“As I have said in the past, Penn State is still a tremendous university – and always will be. I feel bad about this happening about my alma mater, but I would feel bad if this happened at any school. The sanctions handed down by the NCAA today are severe, but with the intent of making positive changes at the school. The report that was recently submitted to the Penn State indicates that there is evidence that major mistakes were make there and the covering up of a horrific situation.”


Saturday, July 21, 2012

UConn commit leads team to 7-on-7 title

According to a blog post on the Dallas Morning News site, UConn quarterback commit Richard Lagow led Plano to a 45-28 win over Manvel in the Fox Sports Southwest Division I 7-on-7 title.

Although the blog post does not mention it, there are multiple posts on twitter that the 6-foot-6 Lagow was named the tournament's MVP.

Lagow tweeted "just found out I got the tournament MVP... never could have done it without my family, coaches and teammates! #PTOWN till I die. #blessed" about being named the MVP


Thursday, July 19, 2012

McCombs a Doak Walker Award candidate

UConn sophomore running back Lyle McCombs was one of 52 players named as candidates for the Doak Walker Award given to the nation's top collegiate running back.

McCombs ran for 1,151 yards in 2011 and his average of 95.9 yards per game was second among freshmen. He earned Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers' Association of America and was a second-team All-Big East selection.

The Doak Walker Award will be announced on Dec. 6.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

UConn freshman QB Cochran sidelined

UConn announced that freshman quarterback and two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year Casey Cochran suffered an injury to his left (non throwing) wrist in a biking accident and will undergo surgery later this week.

Cochran began his career at New London before transferring to Masuk and leading the Panthers to the 2010 Class L title. Cochran is among the players in contention for UConn's starting quarterback spot.

 He graduated early and enrolled at UConn for the spring semester enabling him to take part in spring practice and play in the spring game. Cochran struggled in the game, completing just 4 of 15 passes for 46 yards. Cochran threw an interception and was sacked three times. Going by what I saw in the spring game, I'd have to say that Chandler Whitmer (who was 18 of 27 passing for 187 yards with two touchdowns and an interception) would be the frontrunner once fall camp opens although UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni refused to name a starter following the end of spring practice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jim Boeheim will miss the classic games against UConn

I know this is a blog on UConn football but since Syracuse and the Big East announced that Syracuse's move from the Big East to the ACC will become official on July 1, 2013 and I was at the Verizon Center for the United States/Brazil basketball doubleheaders, I caught up with Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim to get his react on the impending move.

"It is time to move, the Big East needs to move on and we need to move on," said Boeheim, an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team. "We had an unbelievable run. It  has been a memorable experience but things happen. The Big East changed over the years many times and it always worked out. This will work out for us and it will work out for the Big East."

When I first heard that Syracuse would be leaving the Big East, I think my reaction is probably similar to a lot of other people in mourning the end of the classic basketball games between UConn and Syracuse including the historic six-overtime thriller won by the Orange in the 2009 Big East quarterfinals.,

"It is tough, those were great games," Boeheim said. "I can't tell you how great those games were over the years and probably the greatest game played in the Big East and a lot of other really good ones. It really will be missed, there is no question."

Monday, July 16, 2012

UConn has three players on Lombardi watch list

UConn senior tight end Ryan Griffin, senior defensive end Trevardo Williams and senior linebacker were named to the LOmbardi Award watch list. Griffin had 33 catches for 499 yards as a junior, Williams led the Huskies with 12.5 sacks while Moore had 86 tackles and a team best 16 tackles for losses in 2011. The list will be cut to 25 quarterfinals and then sliced to seven and four semifinalists. The winner will be announced on Dec. 5.

Big East, Syracuse make it official

It's hardly going to be filed under the department of earth-shattering news but the Big East and Syracuse officially announced that the Orange would be leaving the Big East on July 1, 2013. Among the big three sports of football, men's basketball and women's basketball it figures to impact men's basketball the most considering that the UConn/Syracuse rivalry has become one of the very best in college athletics. “This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for the Big East’s future," Big East interim commissioner Joe Bailey said in a statement. "With the recent addition of eight schools to the Big East, the future for the conference has never been brighter." Dr. Daryl Gross, the Syracuse AD also issued a statement: “We look forward to the new academic and athletic partnerships and the extraordinary competitive opportunities that membership in the ACC offers. We are excited about both our final season in the Big East and our long-term future with the ACC.” Now the biggest question is whether UConn will join Syracuse in bolting the Big East for the ACC. One of the reported stumbling blocks has been Boston College's resistance to UConn coming into the league. For what it's worth, when UConn was officially welcomed into Hockey East I asked UConn AD Warde Manuel whether BC and UConn both being a part of Hockey East is a signal that tensions between the schools have thawed. "The dialogue with BC is fine," Manuel said. The dialogue with (Boston College AD) Gene DeFilippo, he has been a great friend of mine for a long time, the dialogue is fine with UConn. Where it goes, it will be up to the conversations that Gene and I have. We have a good relationship with BC moving forward. I can't speak to the past but I know Gene and I in our conversations know that we want to be there and try to work things out."

Sio Moore named to Butkus Award watch list

UConn senior linebacker Sio Moore was one of 51 players named to the watch list for the Butkus Award which is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate linebacker. Moore enters his final season with the Huskies with 202 career tackles with 86 of them coming during his junior campaign when he started 12 games. He led UConn with 16 tackles for losses in 2011 and had 6.5 sacks.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Fatukasi talks about his decision to commit to UConn

I just heard back from Beach Channel (N.Y.) defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi who committed to UConn on Monday and figured I would pass on what he had to say.

First, the 6-foot-4 280-pound lineman from Rockaway Park, N.Y. addressed the reasons why UConn was so appealing to him.

"It felt very convenient, it has both majors I am interested in (engineering and sports medicine). It's a great atmosphere. I've seen the campus a little bit feel like when they offered, I didn't hesitate."

While Fatukasi has aspirations of playing professionally, he said he plans on using the next four years (or five years if he redshirts) to spread his wings academically. With his eye on a masters degree once he graduates from UConn, a longer stay in Storrs could be possible.

Fatukasi is just as determined as making an impact on the field as he does in the classroom and liked what he saw and heard when he visited campus recently.

"When I went there and talked to one of the players and he said it is coming, it is growing and I want to be a part of it."

Another reported commitment

According to a report in the Erie (Pa.) Times-News ,tight end/defensive end Quinn Thompson has committed to UConn.

 "It's a great school with great facilities," Thompson said in the Times-News story. "I really like the coaches and I think my biggest opportunity is there for things I want to accomplish."

 As a junior at General McLane High Thompson ran for 292 yards and five TDs and had nine receptions with six going for touchdowns. On defense he had 80 tackles and seven sacks.

 Here is a link to the story http://goerie.com/article/20120713/VARSITY01/307129851/General-McLane's-Thompson-makes-verbal-commitment-to-Connecticut

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Story on future Husky

Thought people might be interested in checking out a story in the San Diego Union Tribune about Shawn Boose, a high school quarterback who will be transitioning to receiver when he arrives at UConn.

Here is the link

Williams on Nagurski watch list

UConn senior defensive end Trevardo Williams was named to the Bronco Nagurski Award watch list today making the Bridgeport native a candidate for the award given to the nation's best defensive player.

As a junior Williams led the Huskies with 12.5 sacks and had 15 tackles for losses. He enters his senior season ranking sixth all time at UConn with 19 sacks.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ryan Griffin named to Mackey Award watch list

UConn senior tight end Ryan Griffin has been named to the Mackey Award watch list as one of the top tight ends in college football for the second straight season.
The 6-foot-6, 247-pound Griffin from Londonderry, N.H. caught 33 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns as a junior and heads into his final season with 87 career receptions.
Griffin had eight games with at least three catches in 2011 highlighted by five catches in an Oct. 8 game against West Virginia.
Griffin was one of 33 players named to the watch list. The semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 12 and the finalists will be named on Nov. 19. The winner of the Mackey Award will be announced on Dec. 6.


Monday, July 09, 2012

Commitments are starting to roll in

What started off as an entry on the commitment on Thomas Lucas is quickly turning into an ever-expanding commitment roundup with Folorunso Fatukasi and Lance Burlingame also committing to UConn according to internet reports.

Let's start with Lucas.

When he visited the UConn campus a couple weeks back, he left without a scholarship offer.

When the offer came from the UConn coaches the defensive back out of Paint Branch High in Burtonsville., Md. wasted little time in accepting and becoming the latest player to commit to the Huskies.

"They offered me today and I decided it was the right place for me to be," Lucas said Monday night.

"I love the school because it has a school for business and that is what I'll be majoring in.  I love the coaches, Coach Matt (Cersosimo), Coach P (Paul Pasqualoni) ...."

The 6-1, 181-pound Lucas has a 35-inch vertical leap and 4.5 speed in the 40. Although he plays safety in high school and had 57 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles as a junior, the UConn coaches told Lucas he will play at either cornerback or receiver.
Lucas, a grounded enough soon to be high school senior that he requested that I credit his mom, dad, uncle and other family members for getting him to this point, is eager to build on an impressive junior season when he helped Paint Branch win its conference title, go 9-2 and reach the state playoffs.

"I want to win state title. we won our conference, made the playoffs and lost by three points," Lucas said. "This year we are going (for the championship)."

Various recruiting databases are also reporting that New York defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi has committed to UConn. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Fatukasi plays at Beach Channel High and attended UConn's football camp last month. I have a call into Fatukasi.

Finally, Dean College defensive tackle Lance Burlingame tweeted that "it's official, I'm committed to UConn one more season at Dean and I am on my way."

Burlingame had 11 tackles for losses and four sacks as a freshman at Dean.

I just got off the phone with the 6-4, 285-pound Burlingame who will have two seasons of eligibility when he suits up at UConn in 2013.

"I have been talking to UConn since the spring time," Burlingame said. "It is not too far from home so I will be near my family and it was a good fit all the way around, academically, travel wise and football.

"They (UConn) have some great players and every year they seem to improve and I want to be part of that."

Burlingame will play this fall at Dean. I remember going to a Dean game when they played Yale's JV team recently but I checked the schedule on the Dean site and there are no games scheduled for the state of Connecticut.

Burlingame credits his time at Dean for paving the way for him to land at UConn.

"Dean is a great place for me'" Burlingame said. "If it wasn't for Dean I wouldn't have the opportunity I have, the opportunity to come to UConn. The talent level, you have great players here and going up against them only makes me better."

McCombs, Williams named to national watch lists

UConn sophomore running back Lyle McCombs and senior defensive end Trevardo Williams have been named to the Maxwell and Bednarik award watch lists respectively.

McCombs ran for 1,151 yards to earn Freshman All-American honors while Williams had 12 1/2 sacks and 15 tackles for losses in 2011.

Semifinalists for the awards will be announced on Oct. 29, three finalists will be announced on Nov. 19 with the winners being named on Dec. 6.

Also, the College Football Performance Awards site listed all of the candidates for its awards. Ryan Griffin (tight ends), Williams (defensive line), Sio Moore (linebackers) and Nick Williams (kickoff returner) made the list in their respective positions.

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Lawrence Wilson suspended for season opener

Former UConn linebacker Lawrence Wilson has been suspended for one game and fined for an additional game check according to a report on the NFL.com site.

Wilson was taken by Carolina in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft. He played in all four preseason games in 2011 making a tackle in the preseason final against Pittsburgh. Wilson did not play in any regular season games. He was released in November after an arrest for speeding and misdeanor marijuana possession.

Wilson would be able to take part in training camp but would miss the Sep. 9 game against Washington and be eligible to return to the team on Sep. 10.

Here is a link to the report http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82a5f0e4/article/lawrence-wilson-saints-lb-suspended-fined-by-nfl


Monday, July 02, 2012

Moore, Williams on CFPA watch list

UConn senior defensive end Trevardo Williams and senior linebacker Sio Moore were named to the College Football Performance Awards watch lists at their respective positions.

Williams, a Bridgeport native, led the Huskies 12.5 sacks and was second with 15 tackles for losses during the 2011 season. He joins Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald as the only Big East player among the 35 players in the CFPA defensive lineman list.

Moore, who is from Apex, N.C., led UConn with 55 solo tackles and 16 tackles for losses as a junior and is one of 40 players to make the CPFA watch list for linebackers.

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