The Huskies fell short in their opening day effort against UCF Thursday night, sitting on the receiving end of a 56-17 blowout. Naturally, this result disappoints UConn football fans who had high hopes for the sophomore year of Randy Edsall’s return. While a win against the No. 21-ranked Knights may not have been realistic, a more competitive game would’ve been nice.
But it’s not all doom and gloom in Connecticut, as the NFL season is just days away with Huskies well-represented around the league. The active rosters were cut to the final-53 this weekend and multiple former Huskies will be looking to make a statement on their respective squads.
Foley Fatukasi- Defensive Tackle, New York Jets
Only one UConn player was selected in this year’s draft; a defensive end out of Far Rockaway, New York named Folorunso Fatukasi. Better known as ‘Foley,’ Fatukasi is listed as 6-foot-4 and 318 pounds and was selected by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 2018 draft (180th overall). He’s got some work to do before earning a starting role, but making the team is certainly a step in the right direction.
Shamar Stephen- Defensive Tackle, Seattle Seahawks
Shamar Stephen was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 draft and has been on the Minnesota Vikings for the entirety of his career. After starting just one game with the Vikings this past year - a huge downturn from the previous year in which he started all 16 games - Stephen signed with the Seattle Seahawks and hopes to regain some of the momentum he had in Minnesota.
Byron Jones- Cornerback, Dallas Cowboys
Byron Jones has played a pivotal role on the Dallas Cowboys since blowing the doors off the combine and being selected in the first round of the 2015 draft. Jones was only the second UConn player to be drafted in the first round after running back Donald Brown. While he’s spent the past few seasons playing free safety - a role in which the Cowboys could take advantage of his athleticism - Jones will be moving to corner this year.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson- Cornerback, Atlanta Falcons
Two years before Byron Jones entered the league, Blidi Wreh-Wilson was playing corner for the Tennessee Titans. He had a solid rookie and sophomore year with the Titans but was ultimately waved and signed by the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. And before you even ask the question, the answer is no. Blidi Wreh-Wilson was not active during the infamous Super Bowl collapse against the New England Patriots and cannot be held responsible for the downfall.
The Atlanta Falcons square off against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles but we may not see Blidi Wreh-Wilson in the mix. He suffered a shoulder injury in Atlanta’s final preseason game against the Miami Dolphins and it’s unknown whether he’ll be ready to go for the season opener this Thursday.
Ryan Griffin- Tight End, Houston Texans
Tight End Ryan Griffin may be the most interesting Husky to watch this year. After a solid 2016 campaign in which he recorded 50 receptions for 442 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Griffin spent much of 2017 on the bench due to a pair of concussions. Following the announcement that C.J. Fiedorowicz would be retiring after just four years in the league due to concussions, the starting job is up for grabs and Griffin is the early favorite to win it. He could prove to be a great safety blanket for the mobile Deshaun Watson.
Anthony Sherman- Fullback, Kansas City Chiefs
Since he was drafted in 2011 by the Arizona Cardinals and traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, Anthony Sherman has consistently been one of the most reliable fullbacks in the NFL. This perfectly follows suit with Sherman’s role on the Huskies, where he served as the lead blocker for UConn legends Donald Brown and Jordan Todman. He was named second-team All-Pro in 2014 and continues to be a fan favorite for his work ethic and grit.
Geremy Davis- Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Chargers
Geremy Davis stands as the only former-UConn wide receiver currently playing in the NFL and he’s looking to finally string something together in 2018. After being drafted by the New York Giants, Davis recorded just one reception before being released and signed to the Giants practice squad. He was then signed by the Los Angeles Chargers to join their practice squad. After bouncing between the active roster and the practice squad throughout the 2017 season, Davis seems to have finally found a more permanent role on the team.
Tim Boyle- Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
And finally, let’s show a little love to quarterback Tim Boyle. He may not have finished his collegiate career in Connecticut, but he’s from here and that’s good enough. The 23-year old grew up in Middlefield, Connecticut and attended the prestigious Xavier High School in Middletown, Connecticut. After transferring from UConn to Eastern Kentucky, Boyle signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent and just made the 53-man roster. While Aaron Rodgers isn’t going anywhere and DeShone Kizer seems to have the backup role firmed up, Boyle could make a move for the second string spot if things continue to progress the way they have in the preseason.
That’s your complete UConn in the NFL update heading into the start of the 2018 season. Make sure you to support your Huskies every Thursday and Sunday as they chase their dreams of playing in the league.