Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Putting action-packed month of June in rear-view mirror

OK everybody take a deep breath. I know I am going into my third season of covering UConn so I may not have the same historical perspective as others but I can't imagine there was ever a month of June with more activity in program history than the one that just came to an end.

The dismissal of Lyle McCombs, the fourth all-time leading rusher in program history, would have to be the top headline move of the month. Promising redshirt freshman quarterback Kivon Taylor is also gone.

Then there are the additions as UConn as the Huskies received 11 commitments from rising high school seniors in a 20 span. Kevin Murphy, a defensive lineman from West Chester, Pennsylvania got it going on June 9 with John Robinson, a defensive back from Englewood, New Jersey capping the flood of pledges to UConn. Finally came the news yesterday that former North Carolina State quarterback Bryant Shirreffs is transferring to UConn.

In an attempt to try to put all of this into perspective, I went through the rivals.com recruiting database to see the last time UConn had this many commitments heading into the month of June. I was only able to go back to 2004 and it is not only the highest total but no other year was even that close. Back in 2012 there were seven commitments by the end of June and in 2009 there were six. It should be noted that these numbers could be off a little bit as players who committed to UConn early and signed with other teams would not show up in the database (that was the case in the Class of 2014 as Logan Marchi and Justin Noye are not listed but both were committed before July 1). 

What's interesting about the 2009 and 2012 classes is how much different it turned out as Tyler Bullock was the only pre-July commitment to have a significant role on UConn last season although Mike Osiecki likely would have been on the field had his career not been cut short due to concussions. The other early commitments were Marcus Aiken, Malik Generett, Leon Kinnard and Chris Lopes. The news is more promising in the high school Class of 2012 as early commits Obi Melifonwu, Tyler Samra, Jon Hicks, Ellis Marder and Mikal Myers all figure into the plans for the upcoming season.

Just for the sake of satisfying my own curiosity I wanted to see when UConn's current NFL contingent committed to play for the Huskies. I included Teddy Jennings and Julius Williams, both currently with the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul as well as current Canadian Football Leaguers John Delahunt, Larry Taylor and Martin Bedard in this research.

Now take this numbers with a grain of salt since the recruiting timeline under Bob Diaco is much different than it was under either Randy Edsall or Paul Pasqualoni but here are the results.

Eight December commits got to taste life as a pro player. July is next with five players while four January and February commits made it to the next level.

Some of the prominent professional players from each month are:
July: Dwayne Gratz, Sio Moore, Yawin Smallwood, Shamar Stephen
October: Tyvon Branch
November; Kendall Reyes
December: Donald Brown, Ryan Griffin, Scott Lutrus, Jordan Todman, Blidi Wreh-Wilson
January: Robert McClain, Nick Williams
February: Darius Butler, Greg Lloyd, Trevardo Williams (his initial commitment out of high school)



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