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UConn football signs 13 class of 2023 recruits in Early Signing Period

The Huskies officially announced the addition of 13 freshmen to the roster.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Two days after UConn football’s season ended in the Myrtle Beach Bowl, the offseason began in earnest with the start of the early signing period.

In Jim Mora’s first full recruiting cycle as head coach, 13 players submitted their national letters of intent.

Here’s a look at the incoming class of 2023:

Jackson Harper (WR) - Avon Old Farms, Simsbury, Connecticut

Harper is one of a few good local players to join the Huskies and told the New Haven Register that staying local and playing in front of friends and family played a big role in turning down interest from Wake Forest, Duke, and the service academies. Harper entered Avon Old Farms with the intention of focusing on lacrosse, but turned into a prolific football player instead, with 37 catches for 898 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2022.

Christopher Hudson (CB) - St. Thomas More, Windsor, Connecticut

Another local recruit, Hudson started for three years at the prep level before signing with UConn. He’s a speedster in the defensive backfield and spent some time on special teams, with two punt return touchdowns his senior year. Hudson is an impressive athlete, running a 4.32 40-yard dash and displaying a 43” vertical leap at one of UConn’s camps earlier this year.

Tucker McDonald (QB) - Wachusett HS, Holden, Massachusetts

UConn’s quarterback in the class of 2023 chose the Huskies over some heavy FBS competition: Boston College, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, and Rutgers all offered McDonald before he committed to UConn in June, canceling his Rutgers visit scheduled for the following weekend. McDonald is a dual-threat quarterback with a good arm who is comfortable throwing on the run.

Nader Chirchi (TE) - Edison HS, Alexandria, Virginia

Chirchi became the most recent addition to the Huskies’ class of 2023 on Wednesday, announcing his commitment as national letters of intent were rolling in across the country. Following the success of Justin Joly as a target for Zion Turner this year, UConn adds another large, athletic tight end to the mix in the 6-6 Chirchi, who received interest from Rutgers and Charlotte.

Oumar Diomande (LB) - John F Kennedy HS, Bronx, New York

Diomande was a later addition to the national signing day class, announcing his commitment to the Huskies on Tuesday night. Recruited mainly by UConn linebackers coach Siriki Diabate, Diomande took his official visit to the school on December 11 and evidently liked what he saw.

Carsten Casady (OL) - Rolesville, North Carolina

Casady is a big boy lineman at 6-6, and a strength training regiment this offseason should easily allow him to bulk up from 270 with his frame. UConn lists Casady as an offensive tackle, but he spent some effective time at defensive end for Rolesville as well, proving far too much for high school offensive lines to handle with 94 tackles his junior year. He held interest from Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina before committing to UConn in the summer.

Toluwanimi Tunde (OL) - Ilofa, Nigeria/Royal Imperial Collegiate, Ontario, Canada

Tunde had a long, roundabout route to Storrs, but with potential, it’ll be worth the wait for UConn football. Tunde was born in Nigeria but attended high school and college in St Catharines, Ontario for Canada Prep, a school that plays exclusively American high schools in football. Tunde has only played the sport for a few years, but at 6-5 and with an 84-inch wingspan, he possesses the one thing that you can’t teach: size.

Cameron Chadwick (CB) - Immaculata, Somerville, New Jersey

Chadwick is a three-star athlete who saw time on both offense and defense in high school but is listed at defensive back for the Huskies. Chadwick possesses breakaway speed and utilized it as a kick and punt returner in high school, something he could be able to replicate for the Huskies. UConn beat out Colorado State and Army for his signature, among others.

Toriyan Johnson (OL) - Proctor Academy, Somersville, Massachusetts

At 6-8, 320, Johnson has college starter measurables at offensive tackle before he even gets a chance to step on campus. Johnson was originally recruited by the previous UConn coaching staff under Randy Edsall and had taken an official visit to Pitt on June 12, but decided to commit to the new regime under Mora after his official visit on June 19.

Brandon Kelley (DL) - Owen J. Roberts HS, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

With a 4.5 40-yard time at 6-5, 222 lbs and an 82-inch, Kelley is an extremely impressive athlete at the defensive end position. He committed to UConn in June after his official visit.

Cleo Chol (OL) - Proctor Academy, Somersville, Massachusetts

Chol will be joining his teammate — and one of his good friends — Johnson as yet another large dude added to the Huskies’ recruiting class, standing at 6-6 and packing on an additional 40 lbs last winter.

Zackary Drawdy (WR) - Yulee, Florida

Drawdy was one of the Huskies’ top receiving targets for the class of 2023 and has decent size listed at 6-2. Rated a three-star recruit by 247, Drawdy was a prolific receiver for Yulee High School in his four-year career, catching 170 passes for 2,297 yards and 22 touchdowns according to MaxPreps.

Jarvis Jones (WR) - West Orange HS, Plainfield, New Jersey

Jones is a two-way athlete who was prolific on both offense and defense for West Orange, recording 60 tackles on defense and 469 receiving yards on offense his senior year.