Thursday, July 02, 2015

Former UConn TE McQuillan eligible for NFL Supplemental Draft

Former UConn tight end Sean McQuillan is one of nine players eligible for next week's NFL supplemental draft according to a tweet from Michael Signora, NFL Vice President for Football Communications.

McQuilan joined receiver Deshon Foxx, currently in camp with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent as the only skill position players to start every game for the Huskies during the 2014 season.

He was being talked up by UConn coach Bob Diaco as having a key role in the upcoming season. However, McQuillan was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct after an alleged fight with his roommate. McQuillan finished up with the classes he needed to graduate and then the university declined to admit him for graduate school ending his run with the football program.

The 6-foot-3, 239 pound McQuillan caught 41 passes over the last two seasons and he had the only touchdown in UConn's spring game.

Clemson OT Isaiah Battle, West Georgia DE Darius Caldwell, Houston DE Eric Eiland, Kansas DB Kevin Short, West Georgia DT Dalvon Stuckey, North Carolina Central receiver Adrian Wilkins join McQuillan as players eligible for the supplemental draft.
The supplemental draft is set for July 9. Teans forfeit the pick for each player they select so a first-round pick will result in a team losing its first-round selection in the upcoming draft. Ten players have been taken in the supplemental draft from 2002-11 but quarterback Terrelle Pryor, selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round in 2011, is the last player to be selected in the supplemental draft.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Torrington's Chris DeBerry now a grad assistant at UConn

It's been quite the journey for Torrington's Chris DeBerry, a former walk-on who was put on scholarship for his senior year. I just happened to took a look at UConn's staff directory and DeBerry is listed as one of the four graduate assistants with the football program.

David DeBoer, Nick Lezynski and Tyler Stockton are set to return for the second seasons as grad assistants while DeBerry should be replacing Josh Zidenberg who is now the assistant secondary coach and special teams co-coordinator at Virginia Military Institute.

I never got around to reporting this, but the Sept. 12 home game against Army is slated for a noon kickoff and will air on CBS Sports Network. That means that the kickoff times for four of the first five games as well as the Oct. 30 home game against East Carolina have been announced.

The season opener against Villanova on Sept. 3 will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be shown on SNY. ESPNU will show the Sept. 19 game at Missouri that will kick off at noon, the Oct. 2 contest at BYU will begin at 10:15 p.m. and air on ESPN2 and ESPNU will televise the 7 p.m. East Carolina game on Oct. 30.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Suffield Academy DB Herring commits to UConn

For the second time in three years the UConn football program has received a commitment from a highly-touted Suffield Academy product.

Brice McAllister wasted little time making an impact as he made seven tackles as a true freshman in 2014. Now Tahj Herring has followed the same route as he announced his commitment on his Twitter account.

Herring made 28 tackles and had four interceptions as a junior. Herring averaged 21 yards on his 23 catches including a 90-yard reception and also returned a fumble 99 yards for a score. He helped Suffield Academy record four shutouts in nine games en route to beating Cheshire Academy 31-28 to win the New England Super Bowl title. Herring, a Hartford native, has played at Suffield Academy since he was an eighth grade and Suffield has a 33-3 record since Herring's arrival.

I am very truly blessed to say that I have committed to the University of Connecticut!!!!!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Illinois receiver Quayvon Skanes commits to UConn

The next group of UConn incoming freshmen isn't expected to number much more than 15 (if it gets that high) and at this rate, that number could be reached before July 4 or the time I get the power back at my house.

The constant flood of verbal commitments continued today when Quayvon Skanes, a 6-foot-1 receiver out of Phillips High School in Chicago, became the fourth player to commit to the Huskies.

Skanes, who caught 41 passes including 12 for touchdowns as a junior, announced his decision on his Twitter account.

I'll be committing to the University of Connecticut #BleedBlue #Humbled

According to a story in the Chicago Tribune Skanes has a 3.7 grade-point average and Illinois and Iowa are among the teams to have offered him a scholarship.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hahn becomes UConn's third Class of 2016 commit

Eddie Hahn committed to UConn becoming the third pledge from Class of 2016

Blessed and honored to say that I have committed to the University of Connecticut🐾🏈 #Huskies

Hahn completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,485 yards with 20 touchdowns and six interceptions while running for 531 yards and 12 more scores. However, he is likely to move over to defense at UConn. He had 32 tackles including two for a loss while intercepting two passes as a junior at Red Bank Catholic.

UConn's Diaco thrilled to welcome freshmen to campus

The newest additions to the UConn football team arrived on campus over the weekend and nobody was happier to see them there than head coach Bob Diaco.

"It is great and the veterans have completely embraced them, showed them the ropes, teaching them our culture and how we do our business and what the school is about," Diaco said after competing in the charity mini-golf event at the Travelers Championship along with UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and associate head coach Chris Dailey. "It is fun to watch them during their first week here, it is fun to watch them train, trying to learn movements. It is an awesome time.

"I am excited to watch everybody make gains, from Marquise Vann to Graham (Stewart) and all the way down to guys who just got here like Connor (Freeborn) and Tyler (Davis)."

He is also happy to see the preferred walk-ons including Valley Regional three-sport captain Chris Jean-Pierre, who was named the Register's Male Athlete of the Year last night.

"All the guys are like that," Diaco said. "They are all multi-jobs guys on strong teams, they have long histories of success and good to great students. If you have a recipe like that, good to great students who are incredibly athletic, winners, multi-sport, multi-job guys, how can you not like guys like that.
We are looking for competitors and teammates."

As for the mini-golf event, the UConn team did not win but Diaco still enjoyed the experience.

"It is just great to be here, to do an activity that is other centered and the proceeds going to all these other awesome charities whether I was representing UConn football or not, I would like to be a part of it," Diaco said. "To come and spread the word, talk about the football team and the young men that represent it is awesome. I will do it any time I can.

"I was better than last year. The course, I think was the same, so that helps and maybe next year I will keep getting better and better. Hole in one on the last one."

Last but not least, with P. Diddy arrested after getting into an argument with UCLA strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi due to the treatment of his son, I got Diaco's thoughts on how he handles meetings with unhappy parents.

"I don't know what happened," Diaco said. "There are three sides to every story. There is the coaches' side, the parent's side and somewhere in between is what happened. I have no idea of what happened.

"I think communication helps that. You communicate with respect, love and care and even if it is something that they don't want to hear and they are not participating more than they would like to or more than their family thinks that they should,  if the communication is right you work through it."

It was previously announced that the Oct. 2 game at BYU would start at 10:15 p.m. Today BYU put it out there that the game will be televised by ESPN2. It was originally listed as either an ESPN or ESPN2 game.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Some catching up to do

One constant when it comes to the UConn football program is that commitments are sure to come flying in during my vacation weeks.

That was certainly the case this week with the first two Class of 2016 commitments were secured in back to back days.

Quarterback Donovan Williams, originally committed to James Madison, was the first player in the class to commit to the Huskies.

Williams comes out of a very familiar Hylton High School program in Woodbridge, Va. Offensive tackle Chasz Wright committed to UConn out of Hylton but when he spent a postgraduate season at Milford Academy, he had a change of heart following the dismissal of Paul Pasqualoni. Wright is now at Penn State.

Linebacker E.J. Levenberry, who transferred from Florida State to UConn, also played at Hylton. Now it is Williams who attracted the attention of the UConn recruiters.

Williams played behind Travon McMillan, now a redshirt freshman tailback at Virginia Tech, as a sophomore. He showed off his versatility throwing for three touchdowns, running for six more and catching a touchdown pass.

Williams moved into the starting quarterback role as a junior and had a four-game stretch where he was 59 of 78 passing for 728 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Later in the season he had back to back 100 yard rushing games and fell two yards short of making in three in a row.

Hylton is coached by former NFL safety Tony Lilly who was a member of two Super Bowl teams in his four seasons with the Denver Broncos.

The second commitment was also a quarterback but Glastonbury's Keyion Dixon projects to receiver for the Huskies.

The 6-foot-3 Dixon had a game with four touchdown runs and another where he ran for 180 yards and also returned an interception for a touchdown. He also finished third in the 300 meter hurdles at the State Open track and field championships. In the Class LL championships, Dixon was fifth in the 100 and 200 meters and the champion in the 300 hurdles helping Glastonbury to a third-place finish. Then he placed fourth in the 300 hurdles at the New Englands with an impressive time of 38.91 seconds, the best time for a non-senior in the event.

By my math there were only 12 scholarship players among the seniors on UConn's spring roster. Although not available scholarship spots were used when the class was signed in February so they could be used this year, this is still going to be a small recruiting class. I wouldn't be surprised to see a pretty large number of state products being pursued as preferred walk-ons as was the case this season. Speaking of the incoming freshman class, they are expected to arrive on campus today so they can enroll in summer school and take part in UConn's conditioning program.

In other news from the week, it was announced that the Sept. 19 game at Missouri will kick off a few minutes after noon and air on ESPNU. It is the fourth start time announced as the season opener against Villanova on Sept. 3 is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, the Oct. 2 game at BYU is set to start at 10:15 p.m. and the American Athletic Conference contest against East Carolina on Oct. 30 has a 7 p.m. kickoff time.

Also, cuts are coming in for CFL teams and former UConn stars Lyle McCombs and Kashif Moore were played on the 10-member practice roster by the Toronto Argonauts while receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris is on the practice roster of the BC Lions. Not sure if I am missing anybody but I have offensive lineman Alex Mateas (Ottawa), long snapper Martin Bedard (Montreal) and defensive end Jesse Joseph (Montreal) and starting the season on CFL active rosters. Although he did not attend UConn, I did notice that former Hyde star Bruce Campbell is on the Toronto Argonauts roster. It is also worth noting that former UConn defensive end Teddy Jennings, who was a pass-rushing dynamo as a rookie in the Arena Football League, was placed on the exempt list by the Philadelphia Soul as he attempted to make the roster of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. When he was cut by Montreal Jennings headed down to Philadelphia, was activated and made his season debut on Saturday with two sacks in a nationally-televised game against the LA Kiss.

There was also some interesting reading focusing on former UConn players in the NFL. Robert McClain, in his first season with the New England Patriots, is already drawing praise from usually hard to please head coach Bill Belichick for his work ethic. Then there is Darius Butler who is headed to Jamaica to give a football clinic for underprivileged children for the fourth year in a row.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Former UConn RB McCombs cut and then re-signed by Argonauts

Former UConn running back Lyle McCombs was one of eight players cut by the CFL's Toronto Argonauts on the first cut-down day and then was re-signed by the Argonauts earlier today.

McCombs was UConn's leading rusher during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons before playing at Rhode Island for his senior season. McCombs finished second on UConn's career carries list and his 2,681 rushing yards ranks fourth in UConn history.

McCombs carried the ball twice for no yards and had one catch for minus six yards in Toronto's 34-27 loss to Winnipeg in Tuesday's preseason opener for both teams.

Former UConn receiver Kashif Moore is among the Toronto players to survive the first round of cuts.