The Huskies were expecting 25 letters, and they had 24 by early
The one holdout was defensive back Jonathan Jean-Louis from Cambridge,
Edsall text messaged Jean-Louis to make sure their wasn't a problem.
Jean-Louis answered and said everything was fine. But still the fax
didn't come. Edsall began to go into semi-panic and called Jean-Louis
on his cell phone.
What's the hold up?
Was someone coming in to steal him?
Those are the things going through the minds of coaches on National
Signing Day. Jean-Louis fielded some calls and had some late
interest, but he wasn't biting. Jean-Louis faxed in a signed Letter
of Intent at 3:50 p.m., 10 minutes before Edsall was going to meet
the media to announce the class.
"Today is even more important (than a game)," Edsall said. "The game
comes down to players. Recruiting is the lifeblood of college
There were no surprises and no defections for the Huskies on National
Signing Day and Edsall was quick to lavish praise on this crop of
"When you break it down it is a class with athleticism, speed,
character and leadership," Edsall said. "No doubt, athletically this
is the best class that we have had."
UConn also added four recruits who enrolled in school in January in
JUCO quarterback Tyler Lorenzen (Freemont, Ia.), safety Aaron Babsby
(Henderson, N.V.), and linebacker Jarrell Miller (Richmond, Va.) and
Corey Stringer (Warren, Ohio).
The Huskies have filled a variety needs in this class and they have
done so recruiting players with tremendous speed and athleticism. The
immediate need for the Huskies is in the secondary and on the
defensive line and those positions were fortified Wednesday. Along
with Jean-Louis, the Huskies signed defensive backs Harris Agbor
(Mesquite, Texas/ Horn), Kijuan Dabney (Houston, Texas/Yates), Gary
Wilburn (Washington, Ga./Washington-Wilkes) and former Hyde-New Haven
standout James Nixon who prepped at Bridgeton Academy in Maine.
All of the defensive backs have plus athleticism and speed and if
there were any players that could make an impact right away it is
from this group.
"The closer you are to the ball the harder it is (to play as a true
freshmen)," Edsall said. "There are some guys in the secondary that
will have an opportunity. The skill guys always have a better
Edsall may have to wait on defensive line help but when it comes it
could be special. Edsall raved about Bloomfield, Conn. defensive end
Marcus Campbell who ran a 6.58 55-yard dash. He also cited defensive
end Kendall Reyes (Nashua, N.H./ Nashua North) as players who bring
tremendous speed an athleticism to the position.
"Campbell is 6-4 220 pounds and he can run 55-meters in 6.58, that's
really moving for a big man," Edsall said. "I thought we brought in
some outstanding athletes to play outside linebacker and/or defensive
end. I am excited about these guys."
The Huskies also added depth on the defensive line with tackles Twyon
Martin (Parkland, Fla./ Stoneman Douglas), Danny Russell (Ponte
Verda, Fla./Nease), and Scott Shultz (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills).
The Huskies had more luxury on the offensive line and went with high
quality players in Mike Ryan (Temuco, Pa./Marion Catholic), Gary
Bardzak (Mar Lin, Pa./ Pottsville) and Muhammad Petrus (St. Laurent,
Edsall also took a chance on Jasper Howard (Miami, Fla./Edison) as an
athlete, though he figures to be groomed to replace Larry Taylor
returning kicks. Howard can jump 23 feet in the long jump and is an
The Huskies also added a kicker and a quarterback, to positions that
struggled during a 4-8 2006 campaign. Northbooro, Mass. Kicker Dave
Teggart will have every chance to win the job while Washington,
Pa./Trinity quarterback Cody Endres will get time to sit and learn
for several years. Rounding out the class were linebackers C.J. Mark
and Greg Lloyd Jr., tight ends Yianna Apostolakos and A.J. Johnson,
running backs Robbie Fry and Kelmetrus Wiley, wide receivers Kashif
Moore and Isiah Moore and fullback Anthony Sherman.
The Huskies recruits come from 13 states and Canada.
For Edsall, the class came as a relief. The Huskies had targeted
certain players and were able to bring home much of what they needed.
With the new facilities on campus the caliber of player coming to
Storrs has increased markedly. They didn't have to deviate mcuh from
thier original plan.
"We benefitted from this group with the facilities and we will
benefit more from it in the future," Edsall said.
That can mean only good things for Husky fans.
John F. Silver is the UConn football beat writer for the Journal
Inquirer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org