National Signing Day has come and gone, and the 20 gentlemen who could make up the core of UConn's 2013 national title team have officially signed their letters of intent to join Randy Edsall on his magic school bus.
To most of us, these young men are mysterious and unknown, mere names and measurements with - as far as we know - unlimited potential.
So in an effort to learn a little bit more about UConn's 2010 football recruiting class, we reached out to Zac Boyer, who covers UConn year-round for Rivals.com's UConn affiliate, UConnReport.com. He was gracious enough to answer a few broad questions and give us a bit of info on some of these sure-to-be household names.
Check it out, below the jump.
TheUConnBlog: Randy Edsall says this is one of his best recruiting classes, and maybe his most athletic. What are your overall impressions of the class?
Zac Boyer, Rivals.com: This could rival Edsall's Class of 2007 for his best yet, and only time will tell exactly how that turns out. The 2007 class, as you'll recall, had 29 players in it, including defensive tackle Jarrell Miller - then the Huskies' highest-rated commitment - and quarterback Tyler Lorenzen, who did some important things for the program while at UConn.
Though the 2010 class doesn't have any four-star players in it, it does have a record nine three-star players - not too bad, considering there are probably three or four others who didn't get more than two stars in this class because the recruiting analysts couldn't get film on them in time for the final evaluations.
Several of these players will play a big role at UConn over the next five years, including potential stars at quarterback (Scott McCummings), linebacker (Brandon Steg) and safety (Andrew Opoku).
TUB: Rivals ranks UConn's class at the bottom of the Big East. Obviously, Edsall is going to get his guys, but is there any hope that one day, four-star players will start to consider coming to Storrs?
ZB: Routinely? Yes. Here's why: Edsall has made big-time college football players - and, now, professional football players - out of the types of guys who have only been playing the sport for a year or two or who were recruited to play other positions by other schools (Donald Brown was a defensive back to Virginia, for example).
He has mentioned his preference in finding players who aren't fully developed because of their ability to grow into something while at UConn. Imagine, now, if he was able to find a player who was a bit rough around the edges in high school, but still one of the best players in the country? A team full of those players could take the Big East, and perhaps the nation, by storm. Highly-regarded players are already taking a look at UConn.
The coaches are grabbing more players with higher levels of achievement. That progression will only continue.
TUB: Related question: Edsall made a point of saying that Connecticut HS coaches were beginning to see UConn as an option. Is UConn soon going to be an option for the top-tier in-state recruits (see: Hernandez, Aaron)? What are you hearing from the recruits themselves, if anything?
ZB: UConn will continue to be an option for top in-state players for one simple reason: familiarity. Consider the case of Silas Redd, the five-star running back from Stamford who is one of the best players in the nation at his position. He recently committed to play football at Penn State and chose to commit to play for Joe Paterno because he had been watching the team since he was 7 years old. Redd presumably didn't watch UConn because the program was still at the I-AA level and not on TV when he was 7, which was in 1999.
The current high school freshman class was 7, the age in which kids start playing football, in 2003 - the same year UConn moved to (then-)Division I-A. Growing up with a big-time program, then, will be a routine for the players in the near future.
As for players in Connecticut who choose to go to UConn, consider what Bristol (Conn.) St. Paul cornerback Byron Jones' dad told me this morning at the signing ceremony: UConn happened to be a good fit with good academics and a good program that happened to be close to home. That will always have an appeal to the parents.
TUB: Which players will have a chance to play next year? Obviously one or more of the defensive backs will have a shot, given the losses in the secondary, but anybody else?
ZB: It looks like Opoku is the favorite for early playing time, given that he's 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, went to a semester of prep school at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy and enrolled at UConn early. He honestly couldn't have done anything else to put him in a position to play considerable minutes in his first year.
He might be one of the only players to see early time, though. Edsall doesn't play true freshman offensive linemen or quarterbacks unless necessary - and it's not - and has returning starters at every other position. Barring an injury, this class might be redshirted in its entirety.
TUB: The coaching staff has gotten into the habit of taking a couple under-the-radar kids per class, and turning them into NFL-caliber players. Who from this class can you see making that leap?
It's way too early to tell that, obviously.
I like Ty-Meer Brown because from my discussions with him, he's someone who has a serious knowledge of the game as a former option quarterback at McKeesport (Pa.) and will have a leg up on reading formations as a safety.
Cornerback Taylor Mack from Atlanta (Ga.) Lovett could be a star, too, as he's got some serious quickness, and we all know UConn's success with developing running backs, meaning Lyle McCombs from Staten Island (N.Y.) St. Joseph-By-The-Sea should do well for himself. But there's also the chance for an offensive lineman - perhaps Greg McKee, the 6-foot-7, 295-pounder - to make noise as a pro as well.
TUB: And finally...do they mail you your Orange Bowl credential in August, or will they go through the mere formality of UConn winning the league?
ZB: Rivals.com employees are, by my understanding, not eligible for BCS credentials, so what do I care?
Thanks to Zac, and you can check out his extensive coverage of UConn sports at UConnReport.com.