Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time to get to work for UConn staff

The coaching staff that Bob Diaco was able to compile topped what I thought he was going to be able to put together. Now the question is whether he can do the same in the player recruiting department.

With the NCAA's month long dead period ending yesterday, it is time for the newly-formed UConn staff to hit the road to finish out securing commitments to add to the 10 that the previous staff was able to secure and hold onto.

Following his appearance on the Geno Auriemma radio show earlier this month I asked Diaco how many players did he expect to have as part of the recruiting class.

"It is very easy to look at it and see the open scholarship numbers and add players to fill that group accordingly but what we really need to do is look at 2015, what does that number look like?" Diaco said. "Let’s say that it is 15 or 16 in 2015, is it better to add 20 (in 2014) and keep it there or is it better to add 18 and add two to the Class of 2015? That is the balance that we have to look at so I can’t say for sure what the number looks like. I would to say to me it is somewhere around 18."

That number sounds about right as UConn lost 14 seniors, Yawin Smallwood is bypassing his final season to enter the NFL draft and the scholarship slots were never filled when freshmen Richard Lagow and Sha'ki Holines transferred. There also figure to be some attrition whether it is fourth-year juniors who have already graduated and choose not to return or other players leaving the program.

It was during the furious push until national signing day a year ago that UConn received pledges from nine of the 25 players in the class including two of the most high-profile true freshmen on last year's squad (quarterback Tim Boyle and receiver Brian Lemelle).

What I'm curious to see is if any of the assistants are able to entice prospects that they were recruiting at their previous stop to join the fold at UConn.

"We are in the information business, we are pooling our resources and trying to put together the best class we possibly can in the next three weeks," said cornerbacks coach Josh Reardon during last week's meet and greet with the media. "There are some guys committed to us and we are excited about those players and we will get to know them on a more personal level and there are certainly players who will have the opportunity to play at UConn."

Although UConn did lose Noye, Jordan Fuchs (to Indiana) and Chasz Wright (to Temple), it looks like they are in good position with the other commitments.

Cornerback Jamar Summers and linebacker Chris Britton are expected to be enrolled when the spring semester begins on Monday and they will be able to take part in spring drills.Tight ends Alec Bloom and Luke Carrezola, running backs Arkeel Newsome (who was named to the MaxPreps Small School All-American team) and Brice McAllister, offensive linemen Lamont Bradford and Trey Rutherford, linebacker Tom Rodrick and quarterback Logan Marchi are the other UConn commits.

I should be interesting to see what the list of recruits looks like on Feb. 5


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