UConn Football: Class of '13

Jared Wickerham

Taking a look at what's in store for the incoming class of Huskies

Despite mediocre results on the field, I still believe that UConn Football is on a steady incline. Paul Pasqualoni has not been the successor to Randy Edsall that we could have all hoped for (understatement of the century), but at the end of the day I hold this stance because despite the on field product, our recruiting classes have gotten better every year.

According to Rivals.com (obviously not the end all be all, but reasonably accurate/relevant) our past 10 recruiting classes have broken down as follows:

Year


4 star


3 star


2 star


2002


1


7


2003


5


15


2004


1


27


2005


6


19


2006


4


18


2007


1


5


23


2008


3


19


2009


1


3


18


2010


9


11


2011


8


8


2012


9


14


2013


12


13


Some notable dates:

2003 - Rentschler Field Opens

2006 - Burton Family Football Complex opens

2011- HCPP takes over

How we perform on the recruiting front will be something to watch in both sports now that we’re AAC, but, as I've said before, how many football prospects signed to play in Storrs because of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Rutgers being on the schedule?

There are some things to be excited about for 2014, and we’ll see how that plays out, but for now let’s take a look at a couple of interesting things to watch from this year’s recruiting class:


Influx of QB Talent

Pasqualoni signed 3 quarterbacks to the roster. At the top of the class is BC de-commit Tim Boyle, who also had offers from Florida, Pitt and Syracuse. At 6-foot-4, 216 lbs, the 3-star Connecticut product is the 25th rated pro-style QB in his class. He was initially dead-set on going to BC, but their new coach was (admirably) very honest with Tim about his sub-optimal fit in their new offensive scheme and encouraged him to look at other options. Oregon briefly entered the fray, but ultimately Boyle ended up choosing the Huskies. In my opinion, he is the heir apparent under center.

Richard Lagow is the second QB from the Husky crop. He had committed to UConn, and then all of a sudden there was some drama when it seemed as though he might be signing elsewhere. He ended up signing the LOI at UConn anyway, but people were speculating that he was not keen on the level of competition at his position. Lagow, also a 3-star recruit, of course denies this.

Regardless, Lagow is 6-foot-6, played for state powerhouse Plano, Texas and word on this street is this guy has a cannon for an arm. I normally don’t mention pedigree for 18 year olds, but a star QB coming from the best division of a football crazy state could add a compelling cultural/leadership component to the team that we never had before.

The third, Kivon Taylor, is a dual-threat QB from Atlanta. His signing with UConn seemed to be a little bit of a surprise. He’s likely to be redshirted this year given the “depth” we now have at the position.

These guys have three veterans ahead of them on the depth chart: incumbent starter Chandler Whitmer, Wildcat QB Scott McCummings and redshirt freshman Casey Cochran. Cochran redshirted last year after sustaining a wrist injury from a bicycle accident. He seems to be progressing decently through spring/summer practices, though he is certainly taking his lumps. Cochran was a pretty strong recruit, but I think both Lagow and Boyle have a solid shot to earn that backup job behind Whitmer and maybe more.


Immediate Receiving Contributors?

UConn is adding three 3-star recruits at wide receiver. Brian Lemelle (5-foot-11, Harrisburg, Pa.), Dhameer Bradley (5-foot-10, Elkton, Md.) and Noel Thomas (6-foot-1 from St. Lukes in New Canaan, Conn.) will all get a shot to contribute immediately in what will hopefully be a more balanced offense under TJ Weist. We are also adding 3-star tight ends Cameron Stapleton (6-foot-4, Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Quinn Thompson (6-foot-5, Edinboro, Pa.) to what seems like a pretty wide open competition for both first and second string TE.

The Huskies return their top two receivers from last year in Geremy Davis and Shakim Phillips, but lose significant production from Michael Smith, Nick Williams and TE’s Ryan Griffin and John Delahunt. Those four combined for over 100 receptions, 1400 yards and 8 touchdowns last year.

Those may look like modest numbers, but for our offense those are critical chunks of receptions and yardage that will need to be replaced and realistically eclipsed for the Huskies to have any success this year. All five of these guys will have a solid shot to earn playing time early and contribute as freshmen.

With a new offensive coordinator and this fresh injection of talent at key positions, I can’t help but have high hopes for offensive improvement down the road. We probably won't see a full turnaround this year, but by the time Boyle becomes a junior this could be a pretty solid offensive squad. Hopefully we can continue to bring in better freshmen classes and eventually reach competence in collegiate tackle football.


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