Lost Commitment Adds to Recruiting Urgency

UConn's 2011 class lost its second commitment in as many months on Thursday, when Boston College High School's Obum Obukwelu changed his mind in favor of the Harvard Crimson.

Obukwelu's decommitment, coupled with fellow Massachusetts product Taariq Allen's last month, leaves the Huskies with just nine commitments for the 2011 class thus far, which is the fewest in the Big East. Louisville leads the way with 20 commitments, followed by Syracuse's 19, Pitt's 18, Rutgers' 17, West Virginia and South Florida's 15, and Cincinnati's 12. New England's other BCS program, Boston College, has 15 commitments for the 2011 class thus far.

Being towards the bottom of the recruiting rankings is nothing new for the Huskies. According to Scout.com, they've ranked either 7th or 8th in the Big East every year since realignment. Last season Scout ranked UConn's class as the number 69 class nationally, which was actually their highest ranking since the 2007 class was ranked 53rd.

Recruiting rankings aren't everything, but the Huskies would certainly like to win more battles for recruits. Of UConn's nine verbals for 2011, only quarterback Michael Nebrich, cornerback David Stevenson, athlete Sean McQuillan and safety Adrian Amos have offers to other FBS schools. For comparison purposes, all but one of Pitt's 18 commitments have other FBS offers. Randy Edsall and the UConn staff have always done a tremendous job coaching up the roster and developing raw talent, but imagine what they might be able to accomplish if they landed more of their top targets.

If there's been a bugaboo for the Huskies on the recruiting trail, it's been the two programs nearest to them geographically. Dating back to the class of 2008, the Huskies have gone head to head with Rutgers for a recruit 14 times. They've won just one of those battles, class of 2010 wide receiver Dwayne Difton. Over that same period of time, the Huskies have posted a four and 14 record vs Boston College in head to head recruiting battles. Difton also had a BC offer, as did 2008 offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett, 2008 running back Jordan Todman and 2010 defensive end B.J. McBryde. This year the Huskies really took one on the chin, when three star linebacker Graham Stewart from Middletown, Connecticut, chose the Eagles over UConn, after having previously listed the Huskies as his leader. UConn simply isn't getting it done against these two schools.

UConn is still a young program, with little tradition to sell to recruits, but they have had decent success in recent years. A strong finish and plenty of national attention in 2009 has not had the positive effect on the 2011 recruiting class that one might have thought. UConn has facilities that are on par with some of the nations best, and a recognizable brand name thanks to great success in men's and women's basketball. Storrs is proving to be a bit of a tough sell for Randy Edsall and staff, and while UConn has most certainly seen improved recruiting over the years, the gains in that department have been modest.

With nearly three months until signing day on February 2nd, it's not time to hit the panic button. At this time last season the Huskies had just eight of their 20 commitments, but at this point it looks doubtful that the Huskies will be able to climb out of the eighth spot in the Big East recruiting rankings.


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