Connecticut Just Had That Vibe

Connecticut dipped into Baltimore, Md., for a defensive prospect in July in Jerome Junior and is hoping the gifted athlete can make the switch from the outside linebacker position to strong safety for them. We spoke with Junior recently about his transition to the defensive backfield and how he came to pick Connecticut.

Jerome Junior has played all over the defensive side of the ball for Archbishop Curley over his career, starting out in the defensive backfield at cornerback, then moving to the defensive line at end and finally settling at strong side linebacker last season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound athlete will be asked to make another switch when he dawns a Husky uniform in 2008 and that is a transition that he is looking forward to making.

"I have played all over the place in high school, but after camp the Connecticut staff told me to expect to play strong safety there because of how I adapted to the position while I was working with them," Junior explained. "It was weird playing that far off the ball at first because I am so used to lining up over my man in coverage, so the first couple of times I got burnt, but as I got used to the nuances of the position and changed my footwork, I quickly started to become comfortable playing safety. It is similar to linebacker in a lot of ways with your first-step read obviously, however instead of going towards the ball now I just need to be patient and wait for the play to develop a bit more before taking action. I definitely saw a great amount of improvement while I was at camp and think I will be fine there in college."

The Baltimore native was looking at a number of programs before committing to the Huskies and truth be told, almost did not make it to the camp that ended up cementing his commitment to play for Connecticut. He did however end up giving his verbal to the coaching staff after camp and that was something he spoke about a bit with us.

"I wasn't going to go to the camp because I was running back and forth between camps and didn't have much time at all, but I spoke with my coach and he told me that I needed to get up there, so I caught the train up to campus and I was glad I did," Junior stated. "I knew immediately I wanted to go to Connecticut because they just had so many great things to offer me as a player and a student."

"First of all, the campus was really nice and everything was really close together which will make things convenient," Junior said. "For example, two of the majors I am looking at are business and computer science and the buildings are right next to each other. The training facilities there were better then that of the Baltimore Ravens which really blew me away and the dorms there are great too. The stadium was also really nice and finally, the coaching staff was different then anywhere else. I can't really put it into words, but when I was at Connecticut I just got a much different vibe then anywhere I had ever been before and that really sealed the deal for me. I felt so comfortable and everything I needed was right there, so my decision was an easy one."

As a junior, Junior notched 97 tackles, nine sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, four blocked punts and a safety. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown.

The Baltimore Touchdown Club named Junior as a member of the 2007 Super 22 Team.

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