Friday, October 09, 2015

Florida well represented in the UConn secondary

Something tells me that the race to get to teammates with no family members coming to tomorrow's game could have been rather interesting this week.

Perhaps nowhere are the need for tickets more pronounced for the Central Florida game than from UConn's defensive backs as four of the eight players on the two-deep chart hail from the Sunshine State.

Starting cornerback Jhavon Williams, a Delray Beach resident, estimated that he needed 40 tickets.

"I don't think I am going to get them all but my parents, they understand and will do their best," Williams said.

Reserve safety Ellis Marder from nearby Windermere couldn't even come up with a number.

"No counting" is how Marder responded when I asked him after Tuesday's practice how many tickets he was hoping to secure for friends and family.

Marder played at Lake Highland Prep in Orlando, just about two miles from the UCF campus.

Lake Highland Prep receiver Hayden Jones is a member of the UCF team and Marder remains in touch with him. Defensive back Drico Johnson, who is considered doubtful to play, is another UCF player that he knows very well.

"Drico played on my 7 on 7 team in high school so we have been close," Marder said. "I haven't talked to him in a little while. I talked to Hayden Jones a little bit, he played on my high school team and he is a great receiver."

The focus of my advance for tomorrow's game is on the quartet of Florid-raised defensive backs expected to see time for the Huskies (reserve cornerbacks Javon Hadley and John Green are both from Miami).

Maybe it's a coincidence that four defensive backs from Florida were not only recruited to UConn but play key roles for the Huskies or maybe not.

"You are going to go up against quick receivers, there is a lot of passing down there and it all about football down there," Hadley said. "Coming up here, we are going against faster receivers at the next level, it is top-level guys I have been playing since I was little."

There are 11 Florida natives on the UConn roster but only seven have made it onto the field this season with kicker Bobby Puyol, tailback Ron Johnson and tight end/h-back Dallas Parker joining the four aforementioned defensive backs. Ryan Crozier, who would have been the starting center had he not been sidelined for the season with a knee injury, reserve offensive linemen Dan Oak and Kyle Schafenacker and freshman receiver Frank Battle (who is redshirting) are the other Sunshine State products on the roster.

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