Thursday, June 22, 2017

Not exactly a slow news day in world of UConn football

It's been a rather busy day of news for the UConn football program between getting commitments from two linebackers, one slated to be a part of this year's team, seeing one of its most prominent alumni lost his job unexpectedly and now UConn is set to play at Clemson in 2021.

Let's start with that.

The game will be played on Sept. 11, 2021.

Credit goes to the UConn Football Facts Twitter account for pointing out that the details of the game are in the next UConn Board of Trustees' list of agenda.

The document, dated June 28, reports that UConn will receive $1.2 million for agreeing to play the game.

Currently, the only non-conference game in 2021 listed on UConn's official site is an Oct. 2 game against UMass at Gillette Stadium. I would not expect an official announcement from UConn until the subject comes up at the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday.

As for the recruits, junior college linebacker Santana Sterling and Hunter Webb, a Class of 2018 linebacker from Williamsport, Pa. both committed to UConn today.

Sterling originally committed to Arizona State. He landed at Mesa Community College and had 105 tackles during the 2016 season.

Webb had 131 tackles as a junior at Loyalsock Township High School in Williamsport, Pa. He also had three sacks, an interception, a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown and returned a fumble for another score.

Last but certainly not least, the Kansas City Chiefs made the rather surprising announcement that it was parting ways with general manager John Dorsey who happens to be the leading tackler in UConn football history.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Another in-state commitment for UConn

Three in-state commitments by June 16 - so much for the thought that Randy Edsall would prefer recruiting anywhere but in the state of Connecticut.

Capital Prep's Khyon Gillespie was the latest player to commit to play for Edsall at UConn. He made his announcement not too long ago via his Twitter account.

With no running backs in this year's freshman class and Arkeel Newsome heading into his final season, replenishing things at the running back position had to be pretty high on Edsall's recruiting wish list.

Gillespie, who ran for 1,750 yards, 22 touchdowns and averaged 10.5 yards per carry as a junior in leading Capital Prep to a 9-2 record and top seed in the CIAC Class S playoffs, was one of two running backs to commit to the Huskies on Friday.

However, Kevin Mensah said via his Twitter feed that he was enrolling at UConn in time to be a member of the 2017 UConn team.

Mensah ran for 1,255 yards and 13 TDs in nine games at Shepherd Hill Regional during the 2016 season and averaged 26 yards on nine receptions. His numbers would have been even more impressive if not being prohibited from taking the field early in his senior season after transferring to Shepherd Hill.

Gillespie had 615 career rushing yards in his first two seasons. He had topped that mark by the fourth game of his junior campaign. He is the fourth known commitment in the Class of 2018. East Hartford linebacker Kevon Jones was the first player in the class to commit on March 4. On April 5 it was Dillon Harris' turn as the linebacker from Cheshire Academy committed. Malik Banks, a defensive back from Delaware, committed on Thursday followed by Gillespie.

UConn's 2017 roster has been released

UConn has released its 2017 football roster.

Among the noteworthy items is that a pair of transfers (former Miami defensive lineman Courtel Jenkins and South Carolina running back David Williams) who were expected to be a part of the team are not with the program. Williams announced on Twitter that he has committed to Arkansas.

Also, linebacker Nazir Williams has been dismissed due to violation of Division of Athletics policy.

Also, Jay Rose is back with the program. The former Southington All-State quarterback was moved to tight end but left the team not long after the start of preseason practice last year. He is listed at a tight end. Long snapper Nick Zecchino, who was not with the team during spring drills, is also back. Another long snapper, preferred walk on Brian Keating of Darien is part of the true freshman class.

With Rose back in the fold, every high school player signed in the last two recruiting classes is a part of the program. On the other side of things, seven high school players signed in 2015 are no longer with the program (Frank Battle, Blackwell,  Chris Lee, Dallas Parker, William Richardson, David Ryslik and Williams).

Looking at the roster, the Huskies seem a little thin at the running back and punting positions.

At tailback, senior Arkeel Newsome is the top rusher in each of the last two seasons but the rest of the running backs on the roster had a combined total of three carries (all by former walk-on Jason Thompson last season). Redshirt freshmen Nate Hopkins and Ja'Kevious Vickers had strong showing during spring practice. Hopkins ran for 50 yards and three touchdowns while Vickers had a team-high 49 rushing yards in the spring game.

An interesting turn of events came about not long ago when Kevin Mensah, thought to be reclassified to the Class of 2018, not only announced his commitment to UConn but that he was planning to enroll at UConn in time for the upcoming season.

Brett Graham punted four times for an average of 41 yards during the spring game although it should be noted, it was without any pressure at all.

Kicker Michael Tarbutt did punt while he was in high school and averaged 39 yards per punt as a junior while freshman Ryan Fitton was the punter at Staples as averaged 40.4 yards per punt as a senior.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

TV details on UConn/BC game

It was announced today that the Nov. 18 game between UConn and Boston College at Fenway Park will air on CBS Sports Network and the game will kickoff shortly after 7 p.m.

Here is the press release

The football game between the University of Connecticut and Boston College at Fenway Park in Boston on November 18, 2017 will be played at 7:00 pm and televised nationally on CBS Sports Network, it was announced Wednesday by UConn and CBS Sports Network. The Huskies are the host for the game, which is part of The Fenway Gridiron Series presented by Your Call Football.

“When we announced this event, we promised a first class experience for our alumni and fans”, said UConn Director of Athletics David Benedict. “To date we have sold a significant share of our ticket allotment and setting a game time will allow everyone to lock in their plans for what will most definitely be a memorable day and night of UConn Football. This is a great opportunity for our fan base to show its support for the program, sell our complete offering of tickets and turn Boston into UConn Nation.”

“I want to thank our partners at CBS Sports and the American Athletic Conference for making it possible for this game time to be set so far in advance,” said Benedict. “One of the goals of working with Fenway Sports Management to move this home game was to create an event that people would not want to miss. We also wanted to make sure that UConn fans all over the country would be able to experience the 2017 edition of this New England rivalry, whether in person or on national television. This is a match-up that should be televised annually and we are excited that this year it will be.”

Ticket sales for this event are being handled by Fenway Sports Management and are on sale now at:

CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158.

For more information, including a full programming schedule, and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to

Monday, June 05, 2017

Former starter Allmendinger no longer part of UConn program

Teddy Allmendinger, one of three true freshman to appear in games for UConn during the 2016 season, has left the program.

Allmendinger, an Avon native credited with the start at fullback against Navy, is expected to continue his football career playing at a lower level.

He was the first of the true freshmen to see playing time as he was on the kickoff coverage team in the season opener against Maine. Long snapper Nick Zecchino, who was also removed from the roster but has a chance to return to the team for the upcoming season, and quarterback Donovan Williams are the other true freshmen to see time during the 2016 season.

Allmendinger becomes the fourth player to leave the program since the spring game. I previously reported that freshman linebackers William Richardson and Luke Sowa and freshman lineman Tom Tabur are no longer a part of the program. I do need to correct that report because I said that Sowa and Tabur were walk-ons in my initial report but both of them were given scholarships by former coach Bob Diaco last year.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Former UConn LB John Dorsey on Hall of Fame ballot once again

John Dorsey, the all-time leading tackler in UConn football history and former UConn assistant coaches Vincent Brown and Anthony Poindexter remain on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

Dorsey, now the general manager of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, had 495 tackles playing for the Huskies from 1980-83. His 184 tackles as a senior is 30 more than any other total in UConn's history.
Brown, who like Dorsey and former Stratford High star Curtis Eller was nominated in the Football Championship Subdivision category, is a former All-American linebacker at Mississippi Valley State while Poindexter was a safety at Virginia who was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Not only is Eller on the ballot due to his work as a linebacker at Villanova but so is his former head coach Andy Talley. Talley, a former Southern Connecticut State defensive back, retired at Villanova after the 2016 season as he is on the ballot for the first time.
Former Yale stars Rich Diana, who finished 10th in the voting for the 1981 Heisman Trophy, and John Zanieski are on the ballot as is former Southern Connecticut State athletic director Darryl Rogers and former Trinity coach Don Miller.

The Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 will be announced on January 8.