Saturday, June 25, 2016

UConn recruits shine at The Rent

UConn football signees Tyler Coyle and Keyion Dixon couldn't have come up with a better finish to their high school careers as they embark on life as members of the UConn football team that what transpired on a sunny Saturday night at Rentschler Field.

Coyle forced a fumble while Dixon had two catches for 105 yards including a 65-yard touchdown which opened the scoring as Team Constitution defeated Team Nutmeg 33-9. Dixon set up another score with a 40-yard reception.

"I had to give it my all and I came through," Coyle said. "It was definitely sweet. Like I told him, it is the first of many(touchdowns)."

Coyle, who wrapped up a brilliant track career by running the second leg on Windsor High School's national championship 4x200 relay team, is not enrolled in classes in summer session like Dixon and the other incoming freshmen as he said there is paperwork issues that need taken care of but he expected to be up in three or four weeks.

Dixon arrived on June 19 and has been introduced to the grueling conditioning program run by Matt Balis at UConn.

"You wake up at 5, you try to eat but it is hard when you have an hour to get ready and change," Dixon said. "It is a workout from 6-7:30, you have to go to class until 8:15. My class schedule is 8:15-12:30, a rest period and go back. You have time to yourself. You know you have obligations to yourself but you have things (to get done).

 "It is a mixture of both being that you are used to doing things on your own and in college, it is a team and it is intensive," Dixon said. "Everything is fast paced, you have to get it done and you have to be on time. They are really big on discipline, doing your job and worrying about the guy next to you, working with them and it is really just fun."

Dixon and his classmates have engaged in regular group chats allowing them to get to know the players they will be spending the next four or five years with but being on campus together has enabled they to become an even more tight-knit group.

"It is a really fun experience," Dixon said. "You talk to them over the phone, you don't really get a grasp of who they are in person, now having all of them, having Ty with me, we have known each other for years, having him coming there with me, it felt great to understand where they are coming from, putting it together as one cohesive unit and it really feels good  to be with them.

"It is a dream come true, you realized that you worked all your high school career, basically all of your life to get there and when you are there, you try to take in as much as you can. It is also a learning curve because you don't know what to expect going in there, they just throw you in there and teach you but it is hard to grasp all of that; it is very stressful; very tiring.

"You try a lot to make a good first impression on the team but then you realize there are other guys there who have the same skill set as you  so you try to differentiate yourself from the crowd. once you get into your comfort zone. The workouts are kicking my butt."

Dixon was named the offensive MVP for the winning team at the Super 100 Classic and he certainly seemed to make the best of his last game at Rentschler before beginning his college career.

"Coming in and playing in the Rent, this is a dream come true and to have Tyler right there next to me as my teammate to back me up on defense whenever I needed him," Dixon said.

"It felt good going back to UConn with the victory, it really means something to both of us."
While Dixon knows he will play receiver at UConn, Coyle is uncertain if he will play either cornerback or safety for the Huskies. He did go up to campus to see his soon to be classmates working out which only made him more eager to get up there for good.

"It's been a long ride and something like this is great to go out with," Coyle said. "We have to work hard, that strength and conditioning is no joke.

"I think when I get up there, I will be fine.

"You just have to take everything in. The strength and conditioning is a the hardest."

Hard work is nothing new to Coyle as his exploits in track and field indicate.

"All the things in high school, that was the last thing on my checklist," Coyle said of winning a national title. "It was so surreal to really accomplish that. It was such a great team that we had.
It is definitely intense. I praise God."

Reuben Frank didn't score a touchdown in 48 games at UConn. He didn't have to wait that long to find the end zone as a pro.

Frank blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown in his first regular-season CFL game in Edmonton's 45-37 loss to Ottawa on Saturday night.

Here's a link to a video of Frank's impressive play.


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