Monday, June 30, 2014

Former NC State QB Shirreffs transferring to UConn

Bryant Shirreffs nearly landed at Yale after an outstanding high school career at Jefferson (Georgia) High School.

Well, he will end up playing in the state Connecticut after all as he announced earlier today that he was transferring to UConn after spending his freshman season at North Carolina State. The story was first reported by the Hartford Courant.

"I was very open and I didn't know what to expect when I went to UConn," Shirreffs said. "I was impressed with Coach (Bob) Diaco and I think there is a bright future here.

"When I came up here, seeing how hard everybody was working with (strength and conditioning) Coach (Matt) Balis, it was something I wanted to be a part of."

Shirreffs, the Georgia AA Player of the Year in 2013, saw action in eight games as a true freshman at North Carolina State mostly as the quarterback in the wildcat formation. He finished fifth on the team with 158 rushing yards while completing four of five passes for 17 yards including the Wolfpack's first passing touchdown of the season. That came against Richmond in the second game of the season as he had a 7-yard TD pass and 28-yard scoring run in the game.

Shirreffs threw for 2,369 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for an additional 1,372 yards and 20 more scores as a senior at Jefferson High as he led his Jefferson High School team to the Georgia 2A state championship. He finished his career with more than 7,500 yards of total offense.

Shirreffs will need to sit out during the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer regulations but he will have three years of eligibility remaining.

He said that is expecting to arrive on campus in the next week or so.

"The last couple of weeks have been hectic," Shirreffs said. "I packed up (at NC State), went home to Georgia and now I am getting ready to go up to UConn."

Shirreffs was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic team as a freshman and he was recruited heavily by Ivy League schools and was expected to pick between Yale and Dartmouth before NC State came in late and offered him a scholarship.

Shirreffs' news comes not too long after another quarterback hailing from Georgia (redshirt freshman Kivon Taylor) left the program and the school.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Monster game for former UConn DE

Teddy Jennings came into Saturday's Arena Football League game with five sacks. He nearly doubled that total in the Philadelphia Soul's 84-48 win over the Iowa Barnstormers.

Jennings had three sacks including a safety to give him a team-leading eight sacks in 12 games.

Another former UConn product, Jerome Williams, had 1/2 of a sack as Philadelphia improved to 7-8.

Philadelphia's next game on July 7 against Orlando will air live on ESPN2 beginning at 8 p.m.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Jersey DB commits to UConn

John Robinson, a defensive back out of Dwight Morrow High in Englewood, N.J., has become the second defensive back in as many days to commit to UConn.

Robinson announced his decision via his Twitter account.

Go Connecticut Huskies #Classof2019

Robinson had three interceptions as a junior and also caught 13 passes for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns. At 6-foot-2 he will give UConn come length at cornerback. His commitment came less than 24 hours after Aaron Garland, a cornerback out of Fenwick in Oak Park, Illinois committed to UConn.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Illinois DB Garland commits to UConn

UConn hit the double-digit mark in Class of 2015 commits when Aaron Garland was added to the quickly growing list of pledges to the Huskies.

Garland announced his decision on Twitter a couple hours ago

I've just decided to commit to Uconn!! Can't wait to be wear the blue and white. #GoHuskies #HusksieCountry

Garland, a standout at Fenwick High in Oak Park, Illinois, was drawing serious interest from some Big Ten programs including Northwestern.

Record-breaking Newsome can't wait to get to UConn

Arkeel Newsome has made the journey up to the UConn campus plenty of times in the past but he admitted when he goes up there on Sunday to begin college life "my heart is definitely going to be racing."

It has been a long journey for Newsome, owner of pretty much every Connecticut high school rushing and touchdown scoring record during his brilliant four-year run at Ansonia High.

"I'm very excited but also a little nervous but once I get there I have to work hard in all I do," Newsome said after being named the New Haven Register's Male Athlete of the Year on Thursday night.

Newsome has been in contact with the new coaching staff and is fired up about what the next four or five years is going to be like.

"The new coaching staff, I love them, they are all great guys," Newsome said. "The freshman class is great too, I have kept in touch with a few of them so I am looking forward to being up there with that group of players."

When Newsome signed with the Huskies it looked like Lyle McCombs and Max DeLorenzo were going to provide the 1-2 punch at running back as they did during the 2013 season. However that quickly changed when McCombs, the team's leading rusher in each of the last three seasons, was dismissed from the team.

"I thought I had an opportunity (to play as a true freshman) when he was there," Newsome said. "I felt bad when I heard about him being kicked off the team now it is like it is a bigger opportunity for me."

DeLorenzo is the only experienced tailback as Newsome will be vying with redshirt freshman Josh Marriner and fellow incoming freshmen Ron Johnson and Brice McAlister. With a new head coach, offensive coordinator and running backs coach, it's hard to predict how the carries are going to be allotted but with the departure of McCombs and Joe Williams, who also moved on after some off the field issues, it seems more likely than not that at least one of the true freshman could make it onto the field.

Ansonia coach Tom Brockett doesn't know if Newsome will be on the field this season but he knows he will do the work necessary to put him in the ideal position.

"He will be prepared," Brockett said. "He has done everything he could and now he goes up there and it is the coach's (choice), they will evaluate him and do whatever they think is best whether it is redshirt him or if that is playing him. I know one thing, he is going to go up there and compete for an opportunity

"He's been a kid for four years who has done everything he was supposed to do in every aspect. When you are a high-profile kid like that, people are always waiting for you to stumble and he hasn't done that.
I think he is real excited. He is real happy where he is going and he is looking forward to it, when you talk about UConn and he is all smiles so I think he is real happy."

I spoke with Bridgeton (N.J.) High coach Dave Ellen this morning to get a better idea of what kind of prospect new UConn commit Nazir Williams is. One of the last things he said to me before hanging up was "you are getting a good one."

Williams plays both wide receiver and outside linebacker at Bridgeton but he is expected to play on the defensive side of the ball at the next level.

"He has a real high ceiling," Ellen said. "He has only been playing football for two years and he has a very big frame. he has a chance to put a lot of muscle. He has good size now but I think he's going to be a lot bigger."

Ellen said Williams is about 6-4 and 225 pounds right now and he believes he has all the physical attributes to be a dynamic outside linebacker at UConn.

"His first step is pretty good coming off the edge, he has nice long arms to keep people off of him," Ellen said. "He has very good grip strength when he gets ahold of somebody, they usually don't get away. We have him at outside backer and sometimes he comes up (to the line of scrimmage). He hasn't had his hand in the dirt at all for us so he will be up anyways. It should be a good transition, we are definitely going to try to get him well prepared for next year."

Ellen said that Bridgeton will play with three, four and sometimes five down linemen which means that Williams is put into a variety of different positions. Sometimes he simply takes off after the quarterback, other times he will engage and shred blockers at the point of attack and other times he drops so he can provide man to man coverage. He has displayed versatility as he had 8.5 sacks as a sophomore but had two interceptions during his junior season.

Ellen came away impressed with the way UConn recruited Williams.

"They went after him early, they liked him and they offered him," Ellen said. "They kept in communication with myself and with Nazir. We were talking and I said your visitations are going to be important. You are going to visit campus and you are going to get that feeling and when you do, you'll make your decision. He came home the other night, shot me a text and said he loved the visit up there. I told him to sleep on it and the next day he shot me a text and said he fell in love with it. He really felt like it was going to be his home. It is a good feeling, it think it was a feeling of relief for him and now he can concentrate on the season."

Labels: , ,

Newsome named Register's Male Athlete of Year; UConn is next

The uniform was a little different as the familiar Ansonia No. 2 jersey Arkeel Newsome wore with such distinction during the last four years was replaced by a black dress shirt and bow tie as Connecticut's all-time leading rusher was named the New Haven Register's Male Athlete of the Year in a banquet at Amarante's Sea Cliff in New Haven on Thursday night.

It's hard to argue with Newsome qualifications as Newsome ran for 3,867 yards and 64 touchdowns as a senior as he averaged 11.6 yards per carry. He finished his career with 10,685 yards and 98 touchdowns on 943 carries. Also, 11 of his 29 career receptions resulted in touchdowns and he finished with 187 career touchdowns in 55 career games.

He finished third in the national record book with 172 rushing touchdowns, 187 career TDs and 1,162 points, had sixth best total in career rushing yards and seventh with 41 career 100-yard rushing games as he is the first Parade All-American to sign to play football at UConn.

"It meant a lot," Newsome said. "It is an honor to win this award. It was a nice way to go out and move onto college."

Now it is time for Newsome to put his days at Ansonia in the rear view mirror. He is planning to arrive at UConn for summer session on Saturday. It will give him a chance to get into UConn's summer conditioning program. He is walking into an intriguing situation as Lyle McCombs, the Huskies' leading rusher in each of the last three seasons, was dismissed from the team. Joe Williams, who came to UConn with as much hype as any running back in the last few years, is also gone and the off the field issues of both talented backs ended their UConn careers prematurely.

With the departure of McCombs and graduation of Martin Hyppolite, that leaves Max DeLorenzo (who ran for 349 yards and five touchdowns during the 2013 season) as the only experienced tailback on the roster. Josh Marriner, who redshirted as a true freshman last season, has drawn raves from UConn coach Bob Diaco for his work in the weight room will be joined by Newsome and fellow incoming freshmen Ron Johnson and Brice McAlister with perhaps fullbacks Jazzmar Clax and Matt Walsh being in contention for some carries as well.

"I'm very excited but also a little nervous," said Newsome, who leaves for UConn on Sunday. "Once I get there I have to work hard in all I do."


Thursday, June 26, 2014

WR/LB Nazir Williams is latest UConn commit

Nazir Williams, a three-sport athlete at Bridgeton (N.J.) High, announced via his Twitter account that he has committed to UConn

N⚡️ @NazatronW
Honored to say that I have verbally committed to University of Connecticut ! #GoHuskies 🏈

Williams, a receiver/linebacker who is in the 6-4, 225 pound range, has become the ninth player from the Class of 2015 to commit to UConn.

Williams caught 27 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns as a junior while adding 37 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He had 20 receptions and 8.5 sacks as a sophomore.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Women's Football 101 Clinic a hit

UConn assistant coaches Don Patterson and Mike Foley speak to the mothers 
of Bobby Puyol and Ellis Marder before Women's Football 101 Clinic

I've been inside the Burton Family Football Complex many times over the last few years but never experienced a night like tonight with the inaugural Women's Football 101 Clinic.

Sean Marinan, Deshon Foxx, Jhavon Williams and Graham Stewart
talk to a group taking part in the Women's Football 101 Clinic at UConn
The appearance of UConn President Susan Herbst drew much of the pre-event publicity but there were other coaches, administrators, moms of current UConn players as well as others from both inside and outside the UConn community."It is going to be a fun night, a way to get everybody involved and meet all of the coaching staff," said Peggy (Walsh) Myers, mother of UConn redshirt freshman tight end Tommy Myers and a star on Geno Auriemma's first women's basketball team at UConn. "There are moms here, alumni, coaches, I think it is a great thing.

"I think it is awesome, I think it is a really good idea to get women involved in the sport and have a good time with all of this."

So what does her son think of all of this?

"He doesn't want me to embarrass him," Meyers said. "I was going to wear his jersey but he said just don't embarrass me."

The moms of quarterback Tim Boyle, kicker Bobby Puyol and defensive back Ellis Marder were among the estimated 200 women who took part in the event.

While this was the brainchild of first-year UConn coach Bob Diaco and something he took part in when he was on Brian Kelly's staff at Central Michigan, it was quarterbacks coach Don Patterson who set the tone for the evening when he told the gathered campers "hopefully you will leave here with more knowledge of football than your significant others."

Those who took part went through tackling and blocking drills, attempted field goals, ran through an agility course, threw some passes, spent time in the weight room and in film study rooms.

"It is just another opportunity to expose UConn Husky football to a whole other group and the give back is 'have you ever been in a football meeting?' so here is a great opportunity to actually sit in football meetings and get on the field coaching just like actual players," Diaco said.

As much fun as those who signed up for the clinic were having, the UConn players who volunteered for the event may have been the ones making the biggest commotion.

An ever present smile was on the face of offensive tackle Paul Nwokeji as he was involved in a blocking and tackling drill, quarterback Chandler Whitmer was there throwing passes but perhaps nobody was enjoying themselves more than linebacker Graham Stewart and defensive back Jhavon Williams who were clearly getting into the spirit that Diaco envisioned this night being all about.

"It is so great," Diaco said. "There are administrators here, there is great support from faculty, there is people from student services, there are parents of players, it is a just a great event.

"We capped it at 200 and it sold out really quickly so if everybody enjoys themselves and tells somebody else we go to 400 and if they tell two people 'what a great time, let's go together next year' now you are at 600 people so we would like to keep escalating it."

Getting back to the Myers family, I asked Peggy how her son likes the new coaching staff and she said "he loves it, Tommy is very fired up."

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Five UConn players on Athlon's All-AAC preseason squad

Sean McQuillan, who had 25 catches as a sophomore, was only player
from UConn named to the All-AAC first team by Athlon magazine.
In the take it for what it is worth department, Athlon has been making predictions of not only order of finish but also the preseason all-conference teams.

Tight end Sean McQuillan was the only UConn player named to the first team while receiver Geremy Davis was the only other offensive player selected as he was a second-team pick.

On defense, tackle Julian Campenni and cornerback Byron Jones were named to the second team while safety Obi Melifonwu was a third-team selection.

In the team prediction side of things, Athlon had UConn finishing 5-7 and 3-5 in conference play which would put the Huskies tied with Memphis and Southern Methodist for sixth place. The magazine had Cincinnati and East Carolina finishing at the top of the conference with 7-1 records.

Labels: , , , ,

Tomorrow's Women's Football 101 Clinic at UConn a sellout

UConn announced that all 200 slots for tomorrow's Women's Football 101 Clinic have been sold out with UConn President Susan Herbst among the participants for the event.

"We were half full after three days of registration," Diaco said. "Like anything else some people don't understand what it is all about so that is what it is about, showing a group of people that have never been in an actual football meeting as a players an opportunity to look, feel and see what that is like, learn about how we teach hitting and striking.

"From my perspective leading in here I am very interested in teaching football striking positions and how we teach the players to move, strike and hit and in kind of a grassroots effort to be sure that people can understand that amidst all of the conversations of it being unsafe that we are teaching it in a safe way, we are really making an effort and showing people that the game is safe and we are teaching it in a safe way and here is how we are teaching it so give grandmothers, mothers, daughters, future mothers, aunts and neighbors and guardians to allow the young people in their lives a chance to participate as a youngster in football, that they will have a deeper understanding of how we teach hitting and how we teach striking position so that will be a big, big plus. Everybody will be involved, it is a complete community service if anything we will be in the red. It is not a money maker, we don't make any money, we take our own time rather than being at dinner, soccer games, baseball games we are going to take another night and work and try to serve the community. It is fun, fun night. It is a great event and for anybody not to think it is a great event is really convoluting the whole thing."

The future of the tight end position at UConn was on display when redshirt freshmen Quinn Thompson and Tommy Myers combined for nine catches at UConn's spring game. One of the more intriguing prospects among the soon to be arriving incoming freshman class is Alec Bloom and now UConn added New Jersey tight end Ian Campbell to its current recruiting class.

He is the second tight end to commit to UConn joining Ben Hartwick, who like Campbell is in the 6-5/6-6 range.

With all the buzz surrounding the offseason conditioning program, I am curious to see what the tight ends are listed at when preseason camp starts on Aug. 1 but right now here are the heights and weights of the scholarship tight ends on the roster

Sean McQuillan 6-3 239
Tommy Myers 6-5 238
Quinn Thompson 6-4 244
Michael Boland 6-4 252

Bloom was listed at 6-6 235 on the national signing day release put out by UConn. McQuillan is a junior while the others will be freshmen so there will be no lack of red-zone targets at the tight end position in the coming years.

As for Campbell, he is a talented enough athlete to also play basketball and lacrosse at Pequannock Township HS. As a junior he had one game with two catches for 136 yards, both going for touchdowns and another with seven receptions.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Report: UConn/UMass to play at Gillette Stadium in 2016

UConn is set to play UMass during the 2016 season at Gillette Stadium, the home of the NFL's New England Patriots, according to a blog post from the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The UConn/UMass game is scheduled for Sept. 10, 2016 with a return game to be played at Rentschler Field. A source indicated that the two schools have been in negotiations for a home and home series.

The teams used to meet regularly during their days in the Yankee Conference. UMass leads the all-time series 36-34-2 but UConn won the most recent meeting 37-0 in the 2012 season opener.

Another interesting angle is that UMass is now coached by Mark Whipple who was very much in contention for the UConn job after Randy Edsall left for Maryland and before Paul Pasqualoni was hired by UConn.

My colleague Mike Pucci has a story on Shelton's Jason Thompson, a running back who is headed to UConn as a preferred walk-on.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Thompson said. “To be injured my sophomore and junior year, and to still have a shot to play my dream, Division I football, is unbelievable. I can’t wait to get up there and make the most of my opportunity.”

Thompson ran for 1,142 yards and 11 touchdowns and also caught 41 passes as a senior at Shelton High. Before he gets to UConn he will get a chance to play at Rentschler Field as he is a member of Team Nutmeg playing in Saturday's Super 100 Classic. The game starts at 4:30 p.m. He is the second player I've heard of going to UConn as a preferred walk-on joining Oxford's Dan Carbonaro.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Former UConn star returns home for a good cause

The NFL is holding a rookie symposium to try to help the next wave of promising prospects make the often difficult transition from college life.

Something tells me the first-year players with the San Diego Chargers don't need to head at a week-long group of seminars but merely spend some time with third-year defensive end Kendall Reyes.

If ever there was a visual of a professional athlete who "gets it", the festivities on the playing fields outside the Boys and Girls Club of Nashua yesterday during the second annual R.E.Y.E.S (Re-engaging Youth through Exercise and Sport) Family Field Day would certainly do the trick. Reyes was not merely the face of the event but he was at the forefront of every activity, engaging with the people who turned out, posing for photos and acting like anything but the resident NFL star. Of all the people who turned out for the event, it's highly unlikely any of them enjoyed themselves more than Reyes himself.

Reyes joins Donald Brown (now his teammate in San Diego) and Darius Butler as the only UConn products to be taken in the top 50 picks in the NFL Draft. He is the first kid from Nashua, N.H. to play in the NFL since linebacker Kole Ayi played a total of 12 games with St. Louis and New England during the 2001 and 2002 seasons and the first one to be drafted since tackle Herb Wester went in the fifth round of the 1988 draft. But there is so much more to Reyes than being the Big Man on Campus.

Even though he has started 20 regular-season games during his first two NFL seasons, including all 16 during the 2013 season, Reyes has not forgotten his roots.

Before he was attracting college recruiters to his games at Nashua North High School or playing a pivotal role in UConn playing in its first BCS bowl game, he was like one of the more than 200 kids who turned out on Saturday. The Nashua Boys and Girls Club was once his sanctuary, a place where he not only became a better athlete but a more well-rounded person as well.

"I spent a good amount of years mostly from fourth to sixth grade when my family needed me here," Reyes said. "The Boys and Girls Club, they had my back and our entire family's back. That is where I spent the bulk of my years here, they were very pivotal years growing up."

So when it came time for Reyes to organize an event in his hometown, it was only natural that the Boys and Girls Club and Nashua Police Athletic League would be at the forefront of the feel-good event. So shortly after the San Diego Chargers wrapped up mini-camp, Reyes was "on the first thing smoking out of San Diego, I hoped on the field flight I could and I came out.

"Giving back, that is just part of who I am. It is just the fact that I actually get to do it. I can get everybody together to do something for the community out in Nashua and basically all of Southern New Hampshire. Basically it is a blessing and I am so glad I get to do it, working with all of these people who are willing to give up some time and make sure these kids have a great time. That is what it is about at the end of the day, that this kids have a truly great experience that they can go and remember and help them in any facet of their lives."

When the inaugural event was held last year Stellos Stadium was the site but this year Reyes and the other event organizers decided to hold it at the Boys and Girls Club. So on the fields at Grand Avenue there was an obstacle course, dunking tank, 3 on 3 basketball games and a variety of other events set up.

"It's great," Reyes said. "I would say the first year was definitely the learning curve so you learn from that and I brought it back second year. I wanted it to do it here at the Boys and Girls Club of Nashua, it is a great location and it is easier for us to set everything up. The turnout is great, we have a bunch of food for everyone, the kids are having a blast and I am going out and playing games with them. I really couldn't ask for anything better."

This weekend was all about giving back and reconnecting with people who helped Reyes become the first player from Nashua to start an NFL game since Greg Landry in 1984. In about a month he will be back in San Diego looking to become a more consistently effective player in his third season with the Chargers.

"We put some good things together, we have some solid players and now we have to figure it out," said Reyes, who has 62 tackles and 10.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons. "We have a solid team so it is just being consistent and things are looking good for us in 2014. You learn so much in this game, every year you learn more about the game, learn more about yourself. It is always adapting and molding to the game. Adaptability and ability to stay healthy, that is a huge part of it, taking care of your body and mentally staying with it is all a huge part of it."

He has a familiar face on board as the Chargers signed Brown, the only UConn player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, in the offseason. When Reyes was a freshman Brown enjoyed a record-setting season with the Huskies as he ran for 2,083 yards and 18 touchdowns. While he's not going to reach those numbers this season with the Chargers, it didn't take long for Brown and Reyes to take trips down memory lane.

"Don's out there, we have gone golfing a few times and he is a solid dude," Reyes said. "I always looked up to him and now that he is on our locker room I still look up to him, the type of leadership he has, he is an excellent teammate and he always puts his team first and I always admired him."

Reyes admits his delight at seeing the ever expanding number of his former UConn teammates making it into the NFL.

"We all still chat it up and get together whenever we play against each other, it is awesome," Reyes said. "There are so many of us that are in the league now. Back at UConn we would also talk about the league and now we are there so it is dreams coming true. So many guys that made it and so many guys that are about to come on up, we have done some good things and clearly there is talent in Connecticut."

The most recent additions are defensive tackle Shamar Stephen and linebacker Yawin Smallwood, taken in the seventh round of last month's draft by Minnesota and Atlanta respectively.

"I was excited to see them drafted. I hit them up to tell them I was proud of them and now it is starts," Reyes said.

Byron Jones, who will be a senior cornerback on the 2014 UConn squad, figures to be up next as he was rated as one of the top five senior prospects at his position by one NFL draft analyst.

"He was a freak athlete since the day he showed up," Reyes said. "He is doing his thing and as long as he continues to work hard and continue to get better he is going to be a solid player."

Reyes admits that when he comes back into New England, he tends to gravitate to Nashua rather than head back to UConn but he said he has been getting positive progress reports on how things are progressing up new head coach Bob Diaco.

"I am not going to lie it is pretty tough getting back there," Reyes said. "I live year round in San Diego, I have a huge commitment here in New Hampshire. I go back when I can but it is pretty tough going back. I have heard a lot of good things about the coaching staff, even some of the former players I am in contact with, they love the (staff) and the changes."

Finally, I would have been remiss had I not asked Reyes for his reaction to the death of San Diego sports icon Tony Gwynn, who lost his battle with cancer last week.

"It is not news you want to hear," Reyes said.  "I can definitely empathize with his son Tony Gwynn Jr. and his family (Reyes' father Gerard passed away in February at the age of 49). I was at an event with him but I never got too close. The whole Chargers' organization we went down to the stadium and visited his statue so the community loved him."

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, June 20, 2014

St. Mark's WR commits to UConn

The Class of 2015 commitments continue to roll in as St, Marks (Mass.) School receiver Aaron McLean announced on his Twitter account that he has committed to UConn.

Officially committed to play football at #UCONN next year!

McLean had 10 touchdown receptions as a junior and 19 TD catches over the last two seasons as he was named to the All-New England Class C team. The 6-foot-6 McLean earned All-Independent School League honors in both football and basketball. He is the seventh player from the Class of 2015 to commit to UConn.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Former UConn DB continues to impress

Among the UConn alums in the NFL there may not be a better story than that of Robert McClain.

Taken by Carolina in the seventh round in the 2010 draft, McClain managed a total of 16 tackles in 16 games as a rookie before being let go. He went into camp with Jacksonville the following year but was cut once again. When the Atlanta Falcons signed him, few expected him to be little more than training-camp fodder or perhaps a special-teams performer.

Instead, McClain started nine games over the last two seasons as he recorded 126 tackles and broke up 15 passes. Well, he is continuing to impress folks down in Atlanta.

In a blog posted on the Falcons' official site McClain was named the "Standout of Day 3" as blogger Jay Adams wrote "he truly put together a strong veteran minicamp."


QB Taylor leaves UConn

Richard Lagow and Kivon Taylor were all smiles
during media day last August but both have moved on
One of the highlights of the final class signed by Paul Pasqualoni was having three quarterbacks signed by the Huskies.

Well, with the news that Kivon Taylor is no longer enrolled at UConn and intends to transfer, only Tim Boyle is left from that trio.

Taylor commitment on 2013 signing day was a huge surprise considering that UConn already had commitments from Boyle and Richard Lagow. He redshirted last season and ran into trouble during the spring as he was suspended indefinitely from the team. He was later reinstated to the squad. He did not play in the spring game but was expected to compete with Boyle, Casey Cochran and Chandler Whitmer for the starting job when preseason camp begins on Aug. 1.

Taylor's departure leaves the Huskies with just three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster and with Chandler Whitmer gone at the end of this season, the hope is that Boyle and Cochran are here for the duration regardless of who gets named the starting QB because if one of them were to leave, next year's team would feature one experienced scholarship quarterback.

As for the aforementioned Lagow, he left schools during preseason camp last year to be closer to home. He enrolled at Oklahoma State but was not on the Cowboys' roster last season but as an alert blog reader pointed out, he is on the 2014 Oklahoma State roster listed as a redshirt freshman.

UConn announced kickoff times for three more games as the Sept. 13 home game against Boise State will start at noon (and will air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2), the Sept. 19 game at South Florida will start shortly after 8 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2 and the Oct. 23 game at East Carolina is a 7 p.m. start on ESPNU.

We now have starting times for half of the 12 games as it was previously announced that the Aug. 29 season and home opener against Brigham Young will start at 7 p.m., the Sept. 6 home game against Stony Brook will be a noon kickoff and the Nov. 8 game against Army at Yankee Stadium is set to start at 3:30 p.m.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lofty rating for UConn star

Former UConn running back Taber Small has found his calling as an NFL draft analyst and he has put out a list of the top five senior prospects at every position for the 2015 NFL draft. UConn rising senior Byron Jones checks in as the No. 4 rated cornerback.

The 6-foot-1, 196 pound Jones started 20 games at safety during the 2011 and 2012 seasons but following the graduation of standout cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson and safety prospects like Andrew Adams and Obi Melifonwu to play alongside returning start Ty-Meer Brown, Jones was moved to cornerback for the 2013 season. Jones finished with 60 tackles and a team-leading three interceptions. He heads into his senior season with 199 tackles, six interceptions and 14 pass breakups in 36 career games.

It didn't take long for Jones to make an impression on Diaco, who was at the helm of some dynamic defenses when he was at Notre Dame.

"Byron Jones is going to be one of the best corners in America, not one of the best corners on our team but one of the best corners in the country," Diaco said late during spring practice.


First high school clinic a hit at UConn

Bob Diaco made his first appearance at the Travelers Championship as he joined UConn women's associate head coach Chris Dailey and AD Warde Manuel in a charity mini-golf event in the fan zone.

After the trio finished their round Diaco said "Warde carried us."

As far as football-related talk, he was fired up about the first of six clinics with high school players which took place on Tuesday.

"It was great," Diaco said. "For a Tuesday morning we had 50 ninth-12th graders there. They were energized, learn some football and had a chance to spend four of five hours together."

He has also been encouraged by what he has seen since the players returned to campus earlier this month.

"Guys want to be good, they are fun to work with they are wide open," Diaco said. "The overall character and respect for each other and for the university and for football itself is on the incline."

The incoming freshmen are set to arrive in 10 days and it will give Diaco a chance to get them going in the Huskies' offseason conditioning program which is already making a difference with UConn's returning players.

"I can't wait," Diaco said. "We are so looking forward to moving forward with those guys, it is going to be a lot of fun."

As he said when I spoke to him in his office recently, Diaco believes all the freshmen who signed with the team in February will be arriving with no academic casualties anticipated.

"So far (everything is good)," Diaco said, "I haven't gotten an y information to the contrary, like anybody else, new players, young people will have trouble assimilating but they have been great."

Also, according to his Twitter account, Delaware defensive end/linebacker Connor Freeborn has committed to UConn.

 Connor Freeborn ? @cfreeborn11  ·  3h
Committed to play football at the University of Connecticut. Thank you everyone for all of the support! #huskynation

Freeborn had originally committed to play lacrosse at Navy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Graduate assistants named

UConn announced that David Deboer and Nick Lezynski on the offensive side and Tyler Stockton and  Josh Zidenberg on defense will be graduate assistants.

Deboer was an offensive graduate assistant coach at Central Michigan from 2012-13 where he worked with current UConn offensive coordinator Mike Cummings.

Lezynski was a graduate assistant at Holy Cross in 2012-13 working with the secondary. He also was the defensive coordinator for the Crusaders’ junior varsity team and special teams coordinator.  He is a 2011 graduate of Notre Dame with a degree in marketing and was a four-year walk-on member for the Fighting Irish

Stockton was a member of the Notre Dame football team and earned his undergraduate degree in business administration with a concentration in corporate finance in 2014. He was named the 2012 Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year for the Irish and was awarded a monogram during his career.  Stockton also received the 2013 Irish Around The Bend Award for his involvement in community service.

Zidenberg was a graduate assistant coach at Virginia from the 2009-11 seasons. He is a 2008 graduate of Virginia with a degree in anthropology and earned his master’s degree from the school in administration and supervision in 2011. For the past two years, he was a Business Development Manager for Movement Mortgage, Inc., in Virginia Beach, Va. Zidenberg was a player personnel assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 2008-09.

New Jersey WR/DB commits to UConn

Marshe Terry, a two-way standout at Northern Burlington (N.J.) High became the fifth member of the Class of 2015 to commit to UConn.

Terry, a first-team WJFL Patriot Division pick as a defensive back as a junior who was also a double-digit scorer on the basketball squad, announced his decision on his Twitter account

Just verbally committed to UCONN #Huskies C/O 2019 to play football!!! #GoHuskies baby!🙌🏈

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Some catching up to do

With last week being my first week of vacation in 2014 I guess it's time to catch up on what I missed during the week off.

The biggest news was that UConn, which had no Class of 2015 commitments, received pledges from four rising high school seniors during the week.

Kevin Murphy, a defensive tackle who had 88 tackles including a team-high six sacks as a junior at East High in West Chester, Pa., was the first one to commit. Next up was 6-foot-4 quarterback Tyler Davis and that was quickly followed by commitments from New Jersey tight end Ben Hartwick and New Hampshire defensive end Phillippe Okounam.

The 6-foot-5 Davis ran and passed for more than 1,000 yards and had a combined total of 27 touchdowns as a junior. Hartwick will add more size to the tight end position at UConn while Okounam is originally from Montreal and plays at St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H.

Both of UConn's incoming freshmen made an impact for the losing Pennsylvania team in Saturday's Big 33 Classic.

Luke Carrezola, a defensive end/tight end out of Neshaminy, had a pair of quarterback sacks in a game won by Maryland 31-24 in double overtime. Tight end Alex Bloom had two catches for 18 yards and was the intended receiver on the game-ending interception by Rasheed Gillis. Pennsylvania quarterback Mark Pyles, who is headed to Bucknell, spoke highly on Bloom when he discussed the interception after the game when he said "I saw a 6-7 tight end who’s very athletic and catches everything, against a cornerback. I tried to get him to make a play. It’s not his fault. It wasn’t the best ball."

The duo should be on campus in about two weeks.

Former UConn defensive end Teddy Jennings continued his impressive rookie season with the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul as he had a quarterback sack in yesterday's 57-56 loss to Pittsburgh.

Jennings, who had two solo tackles and an assist against Pittsburgh, has taken over the team lead with five sacks despite missing three of the first 13 games.

ESPN has a  blog about the strong bond Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Prince Shembo has with his father, a connection which was only strengthened when the elder Shembo suffered a brain aneurysm the night before Notre Dame was set to play Michigan State during Shembo's sophomore season. In the blog Shembo mentioned that Diaco, Notre Dame's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the time, drove him to the hospital so Shembo could see his father.

Former UConn offensive tackle Will Beatty is still sidelined after suffering a serious leg injury in the 2013 regular-season finale against Washington. Beatty wasn't able to do anything during organized team activities of OTAs but Giants coach Tom Coughlin has gone on the record as saying that he is hopeful that Beatty can return to the field by the start of training camp.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Opening for former UConn LB?

There was some horrible injury news coming out of the Atlanta Falcons' camp today as linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, expected to be one of the top playmakers on the Falcons' defense during the 2014, was lost for the season due to a ruptured Achilles' tendon.

Weatherspoon had 290 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions over the last four seasons for the Falcons despite missing 17 games. Among the players who could potentially play bigger roles in Weatherspoon's absence could be former UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood.

Smallwood was taken in the seventh round by Atlanta and has been touted as potentially being one of the steals in the draft. Time will tell how the Falcons readjust the linebacking corps without Weatherspoon but losing a player of Weatherspoon's caliber leaving a significant hole for the Falcons to fill and with four of the final five draft picks in last month's draft being linebackers, it bears watching if Smallwood or any of the other rookies put themselves in position for expanded roles as rookies.


Monday, June 09, 2014

UConn gets its first 2015 commitment

Kevin Murphy, a nose guard/defensive tackle out of East High in West Chester, Pennsylvania, became the first player in the Class of 2015 to commit to UConn.

Murphy had 88 tackles in 10 games as a junior including four games with at least 10 tackles. He had a team-high six sacks, three coming in a 38-7 win over Sun Valley. Murphy, a key contributor since his freshman season, will enter his senior campaign with 193 tackles and nine sacks.

Murphy and East High will open the 2014 season by hosting Penn Wood on August 29.

Speaking of UConn defensive linemen, the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul now has a pair of former UConn defensive ends on the roster.

Teddy Jennings is in the midst of a solid rookie season with the Soul as he is currently tied for second on the team with four sacks and Philadelphia acquired Julius Williams in exchange for offensive lineman Duke Robinson in a trade with San Jose.

The trade was completed on June 2 but Williams was placed on the "refuse to report" list by Philadelphia two days later before being activated to the active roster on Friday. Williams did not play in Philadelphia's loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday but perhaps he will make his debut with the Soul on Saturday when Philadelphia hosts Pittsburgh.

Former UConn linebacker Jerome Williams, who had six solo tackles and three assists in four games, was placed on inactive reserve list last week by the Soul.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

UConn ready to hit ground running without McCombs

Max DeLorenzo is UConn's most experienced tailback following
departure of Lyle McCombs, the team's top rusher last season
Plenty of people have weighed on how the UConn running game is going to look following the dismissal of Lyle McCombs, I figured it was my turn to join the party.

McCombs was UConn's leading rusher in each of the last three seasons  and considering that other than Max DeLorenzo, the other players vying for playing time at tailback will have a combined total of seven career carries, a lack of experience is certainly an issue. For an untested running back the biggest potential pitfall tends to be pass blocking which was an underrated part of McCombs' game.

First, for the sake of full disclosure I never fully understood why he was UConn's featured back. I was not covering the team during his best season but in the last two seasons I was not overly impressed with what I saw from McCombs. He simply wasn't big enough to move the pile and he didn't show enough escapability for a back of his size to be productive. He did display the ability to make things happen if he got into the secondary but that didn't happen very often. Still, on the team lacking experienced playmakers McCombs played a heck of a lot of football and only three UConn running backs ever ran for more yards than he did so I won't attempt to trivialize what his absence could mean.

At the practices I witnessed during spring camp McCombs was running with the first-team offense and he had more carries than any other player at UConn's spring game so obviously he was figuring into Bob Diaco's plans at that point.

Now the question is who emerges as the featured back?

DeLorenzo is the returnee with the most experience and he had his moments during the 2013 season although his 3.5 yard per carry average was the lowest among UConn running backs with at least 10 carries. DeLorenzo did have the longest run in the spring game with a 16-yard scamper. Josh Marriner came to UConn with plenty of hype so after redshirting as a true freshman, perhaps he could factor into the equation as well. Marriner and DeLorenzo had the Huskies' rushing touchdowns in the spring game. Clax also received some carries during the spring game. Both Clax and fellow fullback Matt Walsh have the ability to be short-yardage backs if asked to do so. Then there are the three incoming freshman running backs. Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome, who rewrote the Connecticut high school record book comes in with the most buzz while Ron Johnson and Brice McAlister were extremely productive high school backs.

History has shown that running backs can make an impact at the collegiate level as quickly as any other player. While Arkansas' Alex Collins was the only FBS freshman to run for 1,000 yards during the 2013 season, nine of the top 100 rushers were either true or redshrt freshmen. It won't be a surprise to see one of the true freshmen utilized in the upcoming season. Of course with all the attention given to McCombs and the running back situation, it will still come down to how well UConn's offensive line can perform.

When I spoke to Diaco about the tailback position moving forward, he didn't seem overly concerned.

"We've got six scholarship players at the position that all have aptitude, three older players and three brand new guys coming in," Diaco said. "The tailback issue is not going to have an issue functioning."

When I sat down with Diaco last week I asked him which players are stepping up in the leadership department which is something that could be of even larger importance now that McCombs is no longer a member of the team.

"Alex (Mateas), Geremy Davis, Deshon Foxx, the quarterbacks are doing a good job collectively. Byron Jones, Andrew Adams, Angelo Pruitt, Julian Campenni those guys," Diaco said.

While time will tell who emerges as the top rushing threat on the 2014 UConn team, the one certainty is that things will look different on offense for UConn without McCombs lining up at tailback.

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 06, 2014

Diaco's take on recruiting: Strength in numbers

Perhaps it is just my perception but judging by what I have seen in recent weeks and months it certainly appears as if Bob Diaco is more generous in handing out offers than Paul Pasqualoni, his predecessor at UConn.

I can't log into Twitter without seeing reports of more players in the next couple of recruiting classes receiving offers from UConn so when I sat down with Diaco earlier this week I asked him for his take on handing out scholarship offers.

"You are going to sell a car, how many people are you going to talk to about buying it?" Diaco said. "If you want to sell one car, you have to talk to about 20 people so the recruiting board is full of guys we would really like to have. We may only have one spot so first one in ... Everybody understands the landscape, the PSA (prospective student-athletes) understand the landscape, the guardians understand the landscape and the coaches understand the landscape. This is all over the country, not just at UConn."

Now for the more short-term future, Phil Steele released his All-American Athletic Conference teams a couple days ago. Receiver Geremy Davis was the only UConn player named to the first team. Cornerback Byron Jones was named to the second team and Alex Mateas was a fourth-team pick.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Time announced for UConn/Stony Brook game

UConn announced that the Sept. 6 game against Stony Brook will kickoff at noon and will air on SNY.

The game is the second of three straight at Rentschler Field. UConn hosts Brigham Young on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. and then Boise State comes to East Hartford for a Sept. 13 game. The time of the game will be announced at a later date. The only other game with an announced start time is the Nov. 8 game against Army at Yankee Stadium which has a 3:30 kickoff time.

UConn's Diaco continues to get the word out

Appearance on Geno Auriemma's radio show just one
 of many by UConn football coach Bob Diaco
Time will tell just how successful Bob Diaco will be as UConn's football coach but there can no questioning his desire to generate a more passionate home crowd experience.

Shortly after taking the job he was already starting to make the public speaking rounds and he hasn't been slowing down one bit.

The next stage begins tonight when Diaco appears at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Windsor, the first of the appearances at a different restaurant in the chain during Thursdays in June. From 5:30-7 p.m. he will meet UConn fans with stops coming in Manchester (June 12), Milford (June 19) and North Haven (June 26).

"It is a huge piece," Diaco said. "The fans need to feel to engaged to the team and have information about the team and feel like they are a part of the team and come to games, that serves the team because the players get excited about a full stadium and reinforcing that they are doing something very important that is very interesting. That raises their commitment level and investment which then a great investment creates a great persistence so this great school spirit creates this great energy and persistence towards a goal. It goes hand in hand and that is what I am trying to do. Before they have an opportunity to see wins and feel success, let's kind of get the word out there that 'hey this is going to be very interesting. You will really be excited and respect what product is being put out there by the guys."

Another of Diaco's events worthy of mention is the Women's Football 101 Clinic set for June 25.

Diaco is aware that some of the publicity the event has been generating centers around the thought that the event could be condescending to women. However, Diaco vows that nothing could be further from the truth as this will not be a "this is a forward pass" or "this is a first down."

"It is fun, fun night. It is a great event and for anybody not to think it is a great event is really convoluting the whole thing," Diaco said.

"It has been a great response. We were half full after three days of registration so people need to get 
registered. Like anything else some people don't understand what it is all about so that is what it is about, showing a group of people that have never been in an actual football meeting as a players an opportunity to look, feel and see what that is like, learn about how we teach hitting and striking.

"We are really making an effort and showing people that the game is safe and we are teaching it in a safe way and here is how we are teaching it so give grandmothers, mothers, daughters, future mothers, aunts and neighbors and guardians to allow the young people in their lives a chance to participate as a youngster in football, that they will have a deeper understanding of how we teach hitting and how we teach striking position so that will be a big, big plus. Everybody will be involved, it is a complete community service if anything we will be in the red. It is not a money maker, we don't make any money, we take our own time rather than being at dinner, soccer games, baseball games we are going to take another night and work and try to serve the community."

Diaco is also fired up about upcoming football clinics open to high school aged players. Somebody from Diaco's staff has been in contact with somebody from every team which fields a varsity football team in Connecticut. There will be six one-day clinics in June beginning on June 17.

"They are excited," Diaco said. "You have a collective group of very happy people that feel like they are getting a great service and then there are a couple that we feel like we need to continue to win over and get back into the UConn Husky fold."


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

UConn's Diaco on running backs, rewarding walk-ons and plenty more

Today happened to be the day when I was able to schedule some time to sit down with head coach Bob Diaco and other than the news that Lyle McCombs, the team's leading rusher in each of the last three seasons is no longer a part of the program.

UConn announced the departure of McCombs, who ranks second on the Huskies' career list with 677 carries and is fourth with 2,681 yards although he remains on scholarship until he is done talking the final classes this summer he needs in order to graduate.

Diaco didn't have much more to say on the matter although he said everybody else that he was expecting to be back is still in the fold.

"I don't know what I can say," Diaco said. "He has not met the expectations set forth by the group and for that he won't be moving forward with us."

With McCombs out of the picture, Max DeLorenzo and Jazzmar Clax are the only returning running backs who had carries during the 2013 season. Josh Marriner came to UConn with plenty of buzz and he will push for time after redshirting as a true freshman. Clax and fellow fullback Matt Walsh may also factor into the running back derby and UConn is bringing in three tailbacks in Register State Player of the Year Arkeel Newsome, Ron Johnson and Brice McAlister.

"We've got six scholarship players at the position that all have aptitude, three older players and three brand new guys coming in," Diaco said. "The tailback issue is not going to have an issue functioning."

On a brighter note, Diaco recalled with glee the moment when he informed walk-ons Chris DeBerry, Dominick Manco and Justin Wain that they were receiving scholarships.

"It is awesome," Diaco said. "It is the best, it reaffirms everything we are talking about. It gives an indication of the DNA and character of the team and our coaching staff. You put something in and you are going to get it back out, it is not like we are just going to use and use. We could sign more guys but those guys earned that opportunity. Both Dominic and Justin are going to play in the games (Manco as the long snapper, Wain as the punter). Chris is being rewarded for being a great teammate."

So how did Diaco break the news to the trio?

"I told the team," Diaco said. "I told them collectively together as a team. There were guys in the room crying it was that important to the team. They were jumping around, celebrating, hugging, crying. It was a very emotional outpouring response by the whole team. It was one of the more awesome moments we have had as a team together. "

The incoming freshmen are not expected on campus until later this month but Diaco was optimistic that all the players who signed with the team in February

"So far everything seems fine," Diaco said. "They are all working, checking every box, getting registered, applied for housing and all the things that are needed to be done to move from high school to college."

When the team wrapped up spring practice Diaco asked the players to use good judgement during the time that they would be away from campus. When the team reconvened on Monday he was delighted that the players did just that.

"We were able to move forward," Diaco said. "The concern is you have to spend a week, two weeks, three weeks going back to where you were at the end of spring training. After having three weeks or in some cases four weeks off, these guys came back (in good shape)."

Diaco didn't have much of a reaction to being placed in a division with Central Florida, Cincinnati, East Carolina, South Florida and Temple as the American Athletic Conference announced the two divisional format beginning in 2015.

"For us, the only difference between the future models is one was Tulane and the other one was Central Florida so it was no real consequence for UConn," Diaco said.

Finally, Diaco said his kids will be finishing school on Friday and he is anxiously awaiting the chance to get his entire family together in Connecticut.

"I have a house but it is empty and there is nothing in it," Diaco said. "They have finish school, my children are still in school."

So how much is he looking forward to seeing his kids and wife arrive in Connecticut?

"More than anything," Diaco said. "It has been horrible."

Labels: , ,

McCombs gone from UConn

When the UConn players returned to campus for the summer session there was one notable absence.

Lyle McCombs, the Huskies' leading rusher in each of the last three seasons, is no longer a part of the program. He will
finish up classes necessary to graduate this summer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Sio Moore on the move?

Thanks to some question and answer posts on the Oakland Raiders official site both former UConn star Sio Moore and Raiders head coach Dennis Allen address the possibility of Moore moving from the strong-side outside linebacking position he played as a rookie to play on the weak side as rookie Khalil Mack could move into the strong side spot.

"I did this in college. I started out as a WILL (weak-side backer), and then moved to SAM, where the SAM was an outside linebacker and a down free safety," Moore said. "Moving form SAM to WILL here again, it’s nothing that’s abnormal. I just try to use my versatility and continue to show our coaches and my teammates that I can do anything on the field and I want to continue to work at it, no matter what position.”

Here's what Allen had to say on the possibility of moving Moore.

"We believe in versatility," Allen said. "When you get into games, the more things guys can do, the better you are going to be able to adjust, change the game plan, make the defense work based on what the offense is doing to you. There will be times where you need more linebackers on the field based on what the offense is doing. Sometimes, you may not need as many. Yes, he has the skill set that position and we’ll continue to work with him throughout the rest of these OTAs and training camp. Again, we’re going to put the best three guys on the field. Whoever those best three guys are, we’re going to put them on the field and we’re going to go play.”

Here are some thoughts from Moore on the adjustment he made to the NFL.

“The biggest thing that I learned is that as good as I want to be at football is as good as I’m going to be at life. It’s as responsible as I’m going to be off the field. As good as I’m going to take care of my home that I live in. As good as I’m going to treat my family, my teammates, the people around me, as much time and effort as I put into myself, it’s going to correlate to how I do on the field. If I take the time out to make sure I’m on top of everything in a detailed manner, when it comes to football, I’m going to approach football in a detailed manner and do the same thing, because it’s going to become a cycle. It’s going to become what’s the norm. When you look at great players, that’s how they stay great for so long, because of the consistency to be able to do the right things for an extended period of time.”


Monday, June 02, 2014

UConn coach keeping busy

Time will tell how successful Bob Diaco is as UConn's football coach but when it comes to engaging the fans and trying to create interest in his team he is leaving few stones unturned.

We had a meet and greet with the UConn students at a spring practice, has been hitting the airwaves on various Connecticut radio and television stations and now comes word that he will be making an appearance at four different Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursdays in June.

Here is the release from UConn

Every Thursday in June, Head Coach Bob Diaco will be stopping by a different Buffalo Wild Wings in Connecticut to meet Husky fans and talk about the upcoming UConn Football season.  Fans will also have the opportunity to win tickets, team gear, prizes, and more!

All four events will run from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.   Schedule + Locations:
June 5  |  Windsor  |  703 Poquonock Avenue, Windsor, CT 06095
June 12  |  Manchester  |  112 Buckland Street, Manchester, CT 06042
June 19  |  Milford  |  1201 Boston Post Rd, Milford, CT 06460
June 26  |  North Haven  |  350 Universal Drive, North Haven, CT 06473

Former UConn DL delivers

Former UConn defensive end Teddy Jennings made his presence felt as he returned to the lineup for the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul after missing the last two games.

Jennings had three solo tackles and two assists as the Soul defeated San Antonio 76-40 on Sunday to move back over the .500 mark.

Jennings has played in eight of Philadelphia's 11 games. He had 10 solo tackles, nine assists and is tied for second on the team with four sacks.