Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pasqualoni excited about UConn's pro prospects

A sat down with Paul Pasqualoni a couple of days ago for another story I am working on but was able to address of couple of topics with him beginning with what he hopes emerges out of four former Huskies taking part in the NFL combine.

The workouts have already started as defensive end Trevardo Williams and linebacker Sio Moore did 30 and 29 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press today. Tomorrow morning they will have the chance to run and jump in front of representatives from every NFL team. Cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson will go through drills with the other defensive backs on Tuesday.

"I would say that Sio in the all-star games, he upped his stock," Pasqualoni said. "Now at the combine it will be a matter of how well he tests, how well he interviews, what they think his football knowledge is. It will be the same thing with Blidi, Dwayne and Trevardo. I am hoping they all when they have their pro day here can be healthy and have a real good day."

Although I have seen mentions of UConn's pro day being on March 20, Pasqualoni confirmed that it is indeed on the 27th and he is hoping to see the entire 2012 senior class take part in the event.

"I would hope they are all here," Pasqualoni said. "My request to them, I can’t make it mandatory but my advice to them is that they are all here and they all go through it so that the pro scouts from the teams that are here can get some information on all of them. If they are not in category of being a drafted player then at least from the free-agent standpoint all the teams have the information and maybe they would be given consideration to be free agents which is still an opportunity to be in somebody’s pro camp and make a team. I would think every senior, not every senior, but 95 percent would want to experience that."

Eight seniors were selected to play in postseason all-star games. Gratz, Wreh-Wilson and Moore played in the Senior Bowl. Williams was supposed to play in the Senior Bowl but hurt his ankle early on in the process. Moore impressed at the East-West Shrine Game which helped him earn a spot in the Senior Bowl when Williams was unable to play. Linebacker Jory Johnson and tight end Ryan Griffin played in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic while receivers Michael Smith and Nick Williams played in the Texas vs. The Nation and Casino Del Sol games respectively. If senior offensive guard Adam Masters not suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a loss to Syracuse, it seems likely he would have been selected to play in an all-star game as well.

I asked Pasqualoni for an update on Masters since I haven't heard much about him and his recovery from the injury.

"To my knowledge, he is probably not 100 percent yet but I would suspect that by the time he gets to his pro day here in a few weeks, if he is not 100 percent he will be almost 100 percent," Pasqualoni said.

Speaking of injuries, Pasqualoni said he has yet to hear from the NCAA regarding defensive end Teddy Jennings' bid to receive a sixth year of eligibility.

"I haven't heard but expect to hear pretty soon," Pasqualoni said.

Pretty soon means that UConn will know before the Huskies start spring practice on March 11. Jennings has been considered to be more of a long shot to receive the sixth year of eligibility than was offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett, who was granted the extra season earlier this month.

Finally, Pasqualoni discussed the importance of events like the Junior Day that UConn held earlier this month.

"The junior days are really important because they are an unofficial visit but you are trying to give them a pretty comprehensive overview of the school so on our junior day," Pasqualoni said. "Getting these kids here at this time of the year with as accelerated as recruiting is really pretty vital to having a successful recruiting season."



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