UConn Inks 16 for 2011

UConn faced a difficult situation going through a coaching change in January, but under the circumstances the staff did a fantastic job of holding the class together, and adding some key players down the stretch.

There was only one decommit, and it was not unexpected. Three star safety Adrian Amos flipped to Penn State, leaving the Huskies with 16 recruits for this class. UConn was working early Wednesday morning on bringing in a 17th player, but in the end were not able to work it out.

UConn did bring in free safety Andrew Adams (College Park, GA), as well as strong safety Wilbert Lee out of Brooklyn, NY, so the Huskies addressed the safety position, regardless of Amos' decommitment.

Defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins had the lead on running back Deshon Foxx's (Lynchburg, VA) recruitment and I could tell he was very excited about him. He gushed about his speed and was quick to correct me when I mentioned Foxx's recent 6.58 60 yard dash. "6.54" he said. He told me programs came sniffing around Foxx when Randy Edsall departed for Maryland.

Berlin, Connecticut product Max DeLorenzo was also brought in to play running back. He's already a big back at 6'0", 200 lbs, but Pasqualoni envisions him adding 25 to 30 lbs. He's been clocked in the 4.4's, so he does have speed to go along with the power.

UConn's backfield is really thinning out, so Foxx or even DeLorenzo could get called upon very early in their careers.

I was able to speak briefly with assistant coach Joe Moorhead who believes the quarterback position is wide open heading into next season. That includes three star quarterback Michael Nebrich (Fairfax Station, VA), who set the Virginia high school state record with 4,968 total yards this past season.

Nebrich can make all the throws and runs the ball as well as he throws it. He's a true dual threat quarterback, and reminds me alot of former USF standout Matt Grothe.

UConn only signed one wide receiver in this class, Kamal Abrams out of Dover, DE. Pasqualoni mentioned "time" as being one of the reasons they only brought in one, so it's very possible that UConn could still add someone. The player they were working to bring in on Wednesday morning was indeed a receiver, so we know the staff is out there looking.

It appears that UConn once again did very well in bringing in offensive lineman. Dalton Gifford (Fairhaven, MA), Xavier Hemingway (Powder Springs, GA) and Paul Nwokeji (Randolph, MA) are all tall, athletic guys, who offensive line coach Mike Foley seemed very pleased with. Hemingway runs extremely well for someone his size.

The Huskies cleaned up at linebacker, bringing in a pair of three stars in Jefferson Ashiru (Powder Springs, GA) and Marquise Vann (Cincinnati, OH). Each had multiple BCS offers and each had offers to Stanford. Ashiru will play outside linebacker, while Vann will play inside.

Ashiru, who committed to the Huskies just last week, is already very well developed at 6'3", 230 lbs. He looks like a kid who could find his way onto the field very quickly.

Pasqualoni seemed genuinely excited about the addition of tight end Sean McQuillan (Glastonbury, CT). He mentioned two tight ends sets, and talked about moving McQuillan around to create mismatches. McQuillan turned down an offer from the University of Miami to play at Connecticut.

UConn signed two defensive lineman, both are projected to play tackle. Kenton Adeyemi (Wethersfield, CT) is 6'4", 255 lbs and Julian Campenni (West Pittson, PA) is 6'0.5", 285 lbs. Campenni was previously committed to Bowling Green, and then Akron, but the Huskies swooped in last weekend and got it done. He's low to the ground and shows great power in getting into the backfield.

Rounding out the class are cornerbacks Tyree Clark (Tampa, FL) and David Stevenson (Stone Mountain, GA). Both appear to be talented cover guys who aren't afraid to stick their noses in there to help stop the run. Stevenson is a fiery guy who brings the wood for a smaller corner (5'9").

It's a solid, balanced class, but it could certainly have used another receiver, and I think UConn would have been well served to bring in an every down type back. I'm not saying Foxx can't be, but at least initially, he doesn't have the look of a guy you are going to ask to run between the tackles.

UConn has not landed a running back with another BCS offer since Jordan Todman in 2007. That's difficult to believe and even harder to understand.

Wide receiver and running back recruiting will need to improve moving forward, but I think the Huskies scored big along the lines and with the linebackers, and hit home runs with quarterback Mike Nebrich and tight end Sean McQuillan.

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