Friday, August 22, 2014

No lack of home-grown talent at UConn

Former St. Luke's star Noel Thomas is one of 11 Connecticut natives
on UConn football team's two-deep chart which was released on Thursday
A quick look at UConn's two-deep chart and there are no lack of local boy makes good stories out there.

The emergence of Casey Cochran as the No. 1 quarterback, Max DeLorenzo as potentially being the top running option, Sean McQuillan the top guy at tight end, Graham Stewart primed for a big season at linebacker and Byron Jones being named as a team captain and emerging as an NFL prospect at cornerback have been reported on in the past and they will continue to dominate the headlines. However, there are some other state natives flying a bit under the radar.

Defensively, Windsor's Cole Ormsby is pushing for quality playing time at the hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end position. Ormsby learned his lessons well a season ago when he knew he was going to be redshirted.

"I worked as hard as I could and tried to be ready," Ormsby said. "I am ready for anything and whatever the team needs me to do.

"I am excited because I want to prove to everybody that I can do it. I am way more prepared with the new coaching staff,"

Well, he is ready to go now. While UConn coach Bob Diaco said Ormsby has the flexibility to be an asset either on the outside or inside, Ormsby said he has worked almost exclusively on the outside.

Moving over to the offense, tight end Tommy Myers has been a fixture at UConn sporting events as long as he can remember since his father Norman played for the UConn football team in the early 1980s and his mother Peggy was one of the stars of Hall of Fame Geno Auriemma's first women's basketball teams at UConn.

Like Ormsby, Myers was redshirted a season ago but is now No. 2 at tight end.

If there is such a thing as a player born to play football at UConn, Myers could certainly fit the bill.

"I remember coming to these games when they were at Memorial Stadium and just always wanted to play UConn football and it feels natural," Myers said. "I kind of fell into the position of tight end because growing up I always wanted to play quarterback or receiver like everybody does but I think I fell into the tight end spot just by size and ability."

He displayed some of that ability in the spring game when he one of four players to catch at least four passes. Noel Thomas was also on the list of prolific pass catches in the game. As a freshman he was best known as a gunner on the punt coverage teams as he displayed a knack for downing Cole Wagner punts inside the 5.

Diaco said Thomas has made tremendous growth as a player and a person in the last several months and he has put himself into the rotation at receiver.

"I just want to help the team win and anything I can do in a positive way," Thomas said.

So what has Thomas been doing to get ready for his sophomore season?

"I've been running a lot, working out with Coach (Matt) Balis (UConn's strength and conditioning coach, he is an amazing guy, and I just want to make sure I catch everything that is thrown to me."

There are 11 state natives on UConn's two deep chart while others like Tim Boyle, Arkeel Newsome, Steve Hashemi aren't on the two-deep but could see action this season. Here is the list of Nutmeg State natives on the depth chart

Kenton Adeyemi (Wethersfield), No. 2 defensive tackle
Chase Briley (Hartford), No. 2 kicker and No. 2 punter
Casey Cochran (Monroe), starting quarterback
Max DeLorenzo (Berlin), starting tailback
Byron Jones (New Britain), starting cornerback
Cole Ormsby (Windsor), No. 2 defensive end
Sean McQuillan (Glastonbury), starting tight end
Tommy Myers (Coventry), No. 2 tight end
Graham Stewart (Durham), starting linebacker
Noel Thomas (Norwalk), Co-No. 2 receiver
Matt Walsh (Madison), No. 2 fullback

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