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UConn Football Recruiting: Two Linebackers Join the Huskies

Ryan Gilmartin and AJ Garson join a talented group of linebackers who will anchor the UConn defense for years to come.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Gilmartin has officially joined UConn's class of 2016 after verbally committing back in August. Gilmartin is one of two linebackers in the class, along with AJ Garson, and six defensive players in the class overall.

Gilmartin is from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he played at Charlotte Christian High School. He is listed as 6-feet, 230 pounds and is rated a 3-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, and a 2-star prospect by Rivals. He ultimately chose UConn over Army, Hawaii, Ohio, Toledo, and Wake Forest.

Gilmartin was extremely productive during his high school career, collecting 103 tackles in only eight games at linebacker during his junior season. Despite playing inside linebacker in high school, Gilmartin's lack of size will likely push him to the outside. He joins an extremely talented group of linebackers in Storrs, led by Florida State transfer EJ Levenberry and Junior Joseph. With so much depth at the position, Gilmartin could redshirt in his first year.

Since the transition to FBS, UConn's usually strong defense has been anchored by the linebacking corps. Since 2004, the Huskies have had at least one future-NFL linebacker on the roster, with the most recent player being Yawin Smallwood in 2013.

AJ Garson

This sizeable athlete from West Palm Beach, Florida will join the UConn defense next year. Prior to committing to UConn, Garson was a Bowling Green commit who re-evaluated his options when the Falcons lost their head coach. Some other schools interested in Garson when he re-opened his recruitment were Syracuse, Boston College, and Middle Tennessee State.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, Garson is heavily built and gifted with great physical features. He has committed to Connecticut to play on the defensive side of the football. It seems most likely Garson will play a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role.