The UConn Huskies had their best season in football history this fall, finishing at 8-5 and earning a bid to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The game ended in a blowout, seeing Oklahoma win 48-20. The difference in talent and ability of the Sooners in the game was clear. The root of these differences all came from UConn's inability to recruit high-level prospects to a very weak Big East conference.
This trend hasn't changed this year, especially when doubt enshrouded the program when Edsall stunned the college world and left UCONN for his "dream job" in Maryland. With the loss of UCONN's only head coach in program history, the program was put into shock. Many recruits were dumbstruck with the departure of Edsall. The Huskies didn't have anyone within the program who was qualified to coach and decided that it would have to go to an outside hire. But the worst thing that could happen was that many of the recruits were worried about which direction the Huskies were going.
Luckily the Huskies hired Paul Pasqualoni, the former Syracuse head coach who had success recruiting and winning in the Big East. With a new head coach, every recruit confirmed their commitment and UConn had 16 new Huskies.
Jefferson Ashiru OLB
Marquise Vann OLB
Xavier Hemingway OG
Kenton Adeyemi DE
Sean McQuillan ATH
Michael Nebrich QB
David Stevenson CB
Julian Campenni DT
Kamal Abrams WR
Andrew Adams CB
Tyree Clark CB
Max DeLorenzo RB
Deshon Foxx RB
Wilbert Lee S
Paul Nwokeji OT
Dalton Gifford OG
The top five recruits in the class are Ashiru, Vann, Hemingway, Nebrich and David Stevenson.
Both Ashiru and Vann are very strong OLBs who might see playing time their very first year and specialize in run-stopping. Ashiru is a leaner LB and can play coverage better than Vann, who might end up as a MLB.
Who is UCONN's best prospect?
Hemingway (6-3, 260) is an OG who specializes in run blocking and should make his way onto the UConn depth chart in a couple of years. He still has some room to grow and will be counted on as the only significant OL prospect added this year.
Nebrich is a QB who should flourish in the Husky system, as he can run the ball as well as throw it. He is very quick on his feet and has solid arm strength that could test CBs deep. He has some issues with decision making and form, but a few years learning the ropes should cure him of any bad habits.
Stevenson is an undersized corner at 5-9, but has excellent speed and agility and should develop into a shutdown corner in the next couple of years. Had he been a couple inches taller, he would have been higher rated, but many colleges thought that his lack of size was too much of a downside.
The UConn prospects this year are very average, receiving the worst recruiting grade in the Big East from Rivals (2.5/5) and ESPN. However, UConn has been able to get a lot out of their prospects in the past, such as Jordan Todman, the two-star CB recruit, so all may not be lost.