With over 20 players exiting the program via the portal, in addition to those graduating or going pro, UConn football’s rebuilding process has started. Jim Mora and his staff have secured commitments from three experienced transfers to fill key holes on the roster.
Defensive back Jordan Wright from Kansas State, punter Connor Stutz from Sacramento State, and defensive lineman Dakote Doyle-Robinson from the junior college ranks in Kansas are the additions thus far.
Jordan Wright was a rotational piece at defensive back for the Wildcats, contributing to their 8-4 season at corner and safety, in addition to being a special teams mainstay.
Wright arrived at Kansas State from Fullerton College, where he was a NJCAA All-American. At UConn, he’ll be tasked with helping replace the departing Mumu Bin-Wahad, Malik Dixon-Williams, and Chris Shearin, starting defensive backs who entered the transfer portal earlier in the month.
Doyle-Robinson arrives directly from the junior college ranks. The defensive lineman joins the Huskies from Gardner City Community College in Kansas.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Doyle-Robinson had offers from Baylor and Michigan State out of high school, initially committing to Baylor before going ju-co.
Punter Connor Stutz arrives from FCS Sacramento State to help bolster a specialist unit that saw the departure of punter George Caratan to graduation and the exit of kickers Noe Ruelas and Joe McFadden to the transfer portal.
Stutz functioned as both the backup punter and the field goal attempt holder at Sacramento State for their 2022 and 2023 FCS playoff runs, with an average of 45.50 yards per punt when filling in.
Update: UConn got a pair of additional defensive lineman commitments this weekend:
Interior lineman Jayden Simon announced his commitment on Sunday, adding some impressive size to the middle of the Huskies’ defense at 6-foot-3 and 315 lbs.
Arriving at Tulsa in 2022 after a stint at Colorado plagued by injuries, Simon played in five games and garnered six tackles for the Golden Hurricane.
Kervins Choute rounds out the defensive lineman duo, arriving at Storrs from UCF, where he was a rotational piece as a redshirt junior. Choute played in 14 games over his three years in Orlando, gathering 13 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss.
Jayden Brown is a two-year collegiate starter at Gardner Webb University, as part of the Big South Conference. He has two years of eligibility remaining and received first-team all-conference honors last season. Brown has had utilization as a kick returner as well as at runningback and stands at 5’9” and 170 pounds. Jayden Brown had meetings with James Madison University and North Texas University before committing to UConn on December 19th.
Update: UConn continues to bolster their defense further in the days before the new year, adding 6-foot-2, 195 lb defensive back Reggie Akles from New Mexico State on Thursday.
Akles is originally from Portland, Oregon and attended Independence Community College in Kansas before transferring to New Mexico State. He received offered from Kansas State and Charlotte before committing to UConn.
Wes Hoeh is the Huskies’ second commit of the holiday week, transferring in from Syracuse. Hoeh played as a rotation lineman and backup fullback for the Orange, standing at a stout 6-foot-4 and 285 lbs.
Thank you to all of my teammates and coaches at Syracuse University for the amazing past three years. I have entered the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining.— Wes Hoeh (@HoehWes) December 15, 2023
LG #73 pic.twitter.com/FZ3CJofRdQ
Update 1/7: A new year brought a handful of new additions. The Huskies are set to welcome five additional transfers to the program in 2024 including three offensive skill players and a defensive back.
UConn football’s highest-profile addition is Wisconsin receiver Skyler Bell, who arrives in Storrs with two years of eligibility remaining.
Originally from the Bronx, Bell attended high school in the Nutmeg State at Taft School. Bell saw a reasonable amount of action through two years at Wisconsin, catching a total of 69 passes for 755 yards and six touchdowns as a Badger.
The Huskies also added UCLA transfer Keegan Jones to the skill position room, a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility remaining. Jones played in 42 games over his five-year UCLA career with 128 rushing attempts for 611 yards and five touchdowns, adding 34 receptions and 373 yards through the air.
Keegan Jones is at it again pic.twitter.com/5mAK9zssiw— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 7, 2023
The Huskies added more depth to the running back room in the form of Central Connecticut transfer Malik Thomas, who enters with one year of eligibility remaining. Thomas functioned as the backup running back for the Blue Devils last year, rushing 84 times for 468 yards in 2023.
UConn’s defense also got a boost this week with the addition of New Mexico State defensive back Malachi McLean. After playing in 11 games in 2022 as a true freshman, McLean’s 2023 season was derailed by injury and the Texas native will look to restart his career in Storrs.
UConn still has notable positions to fill in other areas of the squad and is aiming to improve talent and depth across the roster. Mora has previously said he’s looking for 12-14 high-quality players via transfer, though he may be looking to add more than that now that he knows who’s leaving.