Friday, August 09, 2013

Newest Husky Michael Boland trying to catch up

These have been exciting but very challenging days for the newest member of the UConn football team.

Michael Boland, who had 14 sacks as a standout two-way lineman at Dunmore (Pa.) High, was preparing himself to go to prep school this fall and likely playing on the line.

That all changed when former Cheshire Academy linebacker Cory Jasudowich left the program with the intention of transferring and Boland received the call that he could come to UConn immediately. He would not, however, be suiting up as a lineman for UConn.

However, UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said that Boland will start off playing tight end.

“We envisioned him at three places,” Pasqualoni said. “We envisioned as a tight end, as an offensive tackle and as a defensive lineman. He is a about 265-267 pounds and had a pretty good high school career. He was pretty impressive on the basketball court so I he is one of the guys in this group who are pretty athletic, he has good size and good athleticism.”

Boland was preparing to enroll at prep school before heading to UConn in January but he was holding out hope that he would get the call that a scholarship slot was available immediately. That call came on Tuesday and the next morning he was in a car bound for Connecticut.

“When I got the call I was pretty excited and called my dad to try to get up here as fast as possible,” Boland said. “I know I had to have the right mindset, I knew I was going to be a little behind and had to get to know the playbook. All the time was spent studying the playbook.

“They had talked about it (playing tight end) back in my recruitment but what really surprised me is I thought I was going to prep school and when I first found out, I was shocked but at the same time I was real glad. I wanted to come up here and give it all I’ve got.”

With the graduation of Ryan Griffin and John Delahunt, transfer of Neil Shortell, decision to have fellow freshman Jordan Fuchs attend Milford Academy in the fall before enrolling at UConn and recent injury suffered by freshman tight end Quinn Thompson, the Huskies were in need of another tight end. Boland is happy to get the opportunity at tight end.
“I was mostly an offensive tackle and defensive end but whenever I ran I always ran with the skill guys so the speed didn’t bother me,” Boland said.

“Blocking wise it is pretty much the same but the only thing I have to learn are the routes.”

Boland knows he has plenty of work to do if he wants to be a part of the UConn travel squad as a true freshman.

“It is hard to come in and start as a freshman so I figured I had to come in and earn my way to make it onto the travel team,” Boland said. “We have two great guys in Sean (McQuillan) and Spencer (Parker) who are doing a great job and (freshman Tommy Myers) who is also doing a great job so I am trying to learn from them.”

On signing day Boland was one of the surprises in UConn's recruiting class so I was curious whether the Huskies made a late run to land Boland's commitment. Boland said the opposite was true.

"UConn was the first team to (show) interest in me and I always followed UConn for years following their great tight ends so when they interest in me I was really excited and it made me work harder and harder every day," Boland said.



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