With UConn football set to begin training camp, Randy Edsall spoke to the media on Tuesday and ran down a handful of changes to the Huskies’ roster on the eve of a new season.
Eli Thomas’s Career Ends
After suffering a stroke in October, Eli Thomas’s football career is over. Edsall announced that Thomas will not be cleared to play football again. However, he will remain around the program for the season.
“He’s still going to be a vital part of what we do this year and his leadership and presence is something that will be good for us, good for his teammates and good for him,” Edsall said.
On the eve of training camp, Edsall announced that freshman Jeff Woods will transfer from the program. A three-star defensive lineman from North Carolina, Woods came to UConn in January and spent the spring season with the Huskies.
With Woods departure, UConn will have 79 players on scholarship and 20 non-scholarship players for a total number of 99. However, Edsall said there will be a new addition team “in the next day or so,” but didn’t get into specifics.
UPDATE: Edsall announced Russell Dixon as the new recruit on Twitter. Dixon is a 6-foot-3 athlete who originally hails from Edmonton, Canada but played his high school ball just outside Ottawa.
After using a leadership council for his first two seasons back at UConn, Edsall is back to naming a small group of captains. While right tackle Matt Peart, punter Luke Magliozzi and Thomas were given those responsibilities back in April but the coach added two more players to that group on Tuesday: defensive back Tyler Coyle and tight end Donovan Williams.
“Two young men who do things the right way, work hard, well respected by their teammates,” Edsall said of Coyle and Williams. “So I think that addition will be very beneficial as we move forward.”
Sophomore defensive back Ryan Carroll and redshirt freshman running back Khyon Gillespie are ineligible for the season due to academics.
“They didn’t do what they were supposed to in the classroom,” Edsall said.
Carroll played in all 12 games (eight starts) as a true freshman last season, totaling 25 tackles and three pass breakups. Gillespie played in two games, getting one carry for six yards.
Kevon Jones Switching Positions
After playing nine games at linebacker last season in which he racked up 53 tackles — six for a loss — sophomore Kevon Jones is moving to the defensive line.
“He’s getting better,” Edsall said. “He’s still got work to do but I like the skillset that he brings to that position that we have him in and we feel that’s something he’d be better suited at than off the ball...and in terms of what we want to do defensively.”