UConn football adds 22 on National Signing Day, bringing total to 24
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EAST HARTFORD - After months of speculation, rumors, cutthroat competition and "what if" scenarios, the dust has settled. The University of Connecticut has announced the 22 players who signed National Letters of Intent to attend the university and play football.
There were two more who had already enrolled in the school for the spring semester, bringing the total up to 24.
However, perhaps the more discussed player was one not on the list of high school seniors - quarterback Richard Lagow of Plano, Tex.
During the press conference, UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni would not refer to the quarterback by name, but simply said that he was unable to comment on the situation until a later date. He was not even willing to confirm or deny that the school was finished with recruiting quarterbacks.
What Pasqualoni was excited to talk about was a quarterback who's been on his radar since he first arrived at Connecticut a few years ago - quarterback Tim Boyle of Xavier High School in Middlefield, Conn.
"I'm extremely excited to have Tim Boyle come to the University of Connecticut," Pasqualoni said in a press conference at Rentschler Field.
Boyle was named the Connecticut High School Coaches' Association Player of the Year during his senior season when he passed for 2,500 yards and threw 24 touchdowns. He also ran 60 times for 295 yards and five touchdowns.
Boyle is one of 13 offensive players who intend to join a UConn offense that struggled greatly this past season. In 2012, the Huskies averaged just under 18 points per game and a mere 230 yards per game.
Including Boyle, UConn is bringing in one other quarterback, Kivon Taylor from Atlanta, Ga.
According to Pasqualoni, Taylor originally thought of himself as a basketball player first but then came to believe that he'd like football player.
The Huskies also signed three wide receivers - Brian Lemelle from Harrisburg, Penn., Dhameer Bradley from New Castle, Del., and Noel Thomas from Norwalk, Conn. - as well as three tight ends - Jordan Fuchs from Malver, N.Y., Thomas Myers form Coventry, Conn. and Quinn Thompson from Edinboro, Penn.
"There's no question that we're excited about all of those kids," Pasqualoni said of the future tight ends. "There's very good size there and there's a chance for there to be excellent size."
Rounding out the 13 offensive players were three offensive linemen - Thomas Hopkins from Hawthorne, N.Y., Kyle Schafenacker from Cooper City, Fla. and Chasz Wright from Woodbridge, Virginia - one running back - Joshua Marriner from Chesapeake, Virginia - and one fullback - Matthew Walsh from Madison, Conn.
Pasqualoni expects each of the players signed to come in ready to play for a spot on the traveling team for the Huskies. He said that he never thinks about red-shirting players right off the bat.
"I have never ever in recruiting said to a player, 'you'll come in and redshirt.'" Pasqualoni said Wednesday. "I've never said that. I've never wanted that type of mentality regardless [of the situation] ... I'm going to play the best players we have. It doesn't matter if they're 5th year seniors or if they're freshmen."
The offensive players will come in and play with UConn's new Offensive Coordinator, T.J. Weist, who came from the University of Cincinnati.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Huskies are adding 11 players to a unit that was already one of the best in the conference.
The team announced six linemen - Michael Boland from Dunmore, Penn., Foley Fatukasi from Far Rockaway, N.Y., Sha-ki Holines from Springfield, Mass., Cole Ormsby from Windsor, Conn., Cameron Stapleton from Staten Island, N.Y. and Jalen Stevens from Goose Creek, S.C.
Defensive linemen are one of the things which Pasqualoni loves to have in bulk. He said that he can't have enough defensive linemen on the team.
Joining the six defensive linemen are three linebackers - Chris Britton from Harrisburg, Penn, Cory Jasudowich from North Branford, Conn. and Joseph Junior form Sinking Springs, Penn. - and two cornerbacks - Javon Hadley from Miami, Fla. and Thomas Lucas from Silver Springs, Maryland.
Pasqualoni made it a point to reiterate that the recruiting process is more of a marathon than it is a sprint. Even with the players who declared verbally to play for the university back in the summer had to be spoken to on a regular basis to be sure they wouldn't change their mind. But at the same time, he said that there is a fine line between being professional and being a nuisance.
He said that his coaching staff has been hard and that in the past week, not only has Pasqualoni and his assistants had to finalize the 2013 class, but they've had to try and get a jump start on the 2014 class.
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