Saturday, October 18, 2014

HS coach: UConn getting "a monster" in Cespedes

When the UConn coaching staff first made contact with New London coach Duane Maranda, Bryan Cespedes wasn't even on the Huskies' recruiting radar.

UConn has looking at productive defensive end Hunter Roman who ultimately committed to Yale. It was during those meetings six months ago that he mentioned that he had a raw offensive tackle they might want to take a look at. Obviously, they were listening as Cespedes became the first in-state recruit to be a part of the current class of commitments.

"They offered Hunter and I told them that whoever got Bryan was going to get a steal," Maranda said.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Cespedes began his high school career at Grasso Tech and when he transferred to New London after his sophomore season he came out for the New London football team. Maranda could see the potential in the inexperienced Cespedes and believes that the three-sport high school athlete could be "a monster" once he gets to UConn, concentrates on football and the strength and conditioning coaches get to work with him.

"He reminds me of (former Waterford High lineman) Zach Hurd and he is bigger than Zach was at (as a high school senior)," Maranda said. "Zach had a great career there and even got to the NFL."

Hurd became a two-time All-Big East offensive lineman and started 39 games for the Huskies.

Cespedes considers UConn to be his dream school and his desire to be a part of what the new coaching staff is trying to build only intensified after he went up to a couple of home games.

UConn's offensive line struggles have been well documented and while UConn could transform one of the tight end players who have committed into offensive linemen, he is the first true offensive lineman to commit to UConn.

Maranda was extremely impressed with the "thoroughness" of the UConn coaches during the recruiting process. While they came to New London games and watched film, Maranda said they were just as concerned with what made Cespedes tick as Bob Diaco and his staff made it clear that they value high-character kids as they try to build a winning atmosphere in the locker room.

New London is 5-1 and current sixth in the CIAC Class M playoff points race.


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