UConn Inks 22 on National Signing Day

EAST HARTFORD – The first Letter of Intent fax to University of Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall came shortly after 7 a.m. Quarterback Casey Turner, Chesapeake, Va.

For the next two hours 22 Letters of Intent for scholarships came into the UConn football office. Then it was over. There were no surprises, and there was no sweating any recruit out. By mid morning the Huskies' signing day was over uneventfully and matter of factly.

That is just what Edsall wanted.

"Today was probably uneventful," Edsall said. "There were no surprises and everything went smooth."

"We had these 22 locked up two weeks before signing day. Some prominent schools came back after the verbal commitment, but (the recruits) never wavered and thought about going out and visiting other places.

"It was very uneventful and that was great. There was no one we worried about."

Among the highlights of the Huskies' class are Connecticut natives in guard Erik Kuraczea from Ansonia, a 6-foot-1 300 pond offensive lineman and defensive end Trevardo Williams from Bridgeport Central, who is going to go to prep school next season. Linebacker Sio Moore from Apex, N.C. is also a Connecticut native having lived in West Haven before moving in with a family member in North Carolina.

Edsall said Kuraczea, who is likely going to play guard, could be a player that comes in and challenges for a position right away.

The Huskies also landed highly sought after 6-foot-8 280 pound offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett out of Alexandria, Va. Other top recruits include Piscataway, N.J. cornerback Dwyane Gratz and North Dartmouth, Mass. running back and two-time Massachusetts All-Sate selection Jordan Todman.

Most of the Huskies class however is made up of raw high ceiling athletes and also the "Edsall Specialty" – players that no one ever heard of. That is the way Edsall wants it. Edsall bristles at the notion that the recruiting class is made up of off the grid players such as Jory Johnson, who was the one surprise on Wednesday.

"I don't think we recruit anyone under the radar," Edsall said. "Who says they are under the radar? I see thee great players don't who don't do anything. We go out and try and recruit the best we can to come to University of Connecticut. They are not under the radar types, not in my mind."

If Edsall has proven anything with past recruiting classes is that he can find a diamond in the rough.

High WR ceiling talent Edsall reacted to the loss of leading receiver Terrence Jeffers by signing three players who will have the ability to come in and challenge right away. Brian Parker, a 6-foot-4 210 pound receiver from Sarasota, Fla., satisfies the need for a big athletic receiver. He is joined in the receiving corps by Houston, Texas product Michael Smith, a 6-foot-0 185 pound who had 74 catches and 1,024 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior.

Rounding out the class is Gerrard Sheppard, a 6-foot-2 195 pound athlete from Owings, Md. Sheppard didn't play football his first three years of high school, but went out for the team in September. He gained 656 yards receiving with 10 touchdowns and Edsall is very high on his athletic ability.

Edsall on Sheppard: "Watching film, he has excellent feed and good speed and good height. You could have never told me that he was away from football for three years."

Edsall on Parker: "He is a tremendous athlete. Watching him play on film he can make things happen. He can returns punt and does it all. He gives us some of that height, He will be 215-220 when it is all done with good hands who can go get the football."

Edsall on Smith: "He was a quarterback and moved to wide receiver and the numbers and catches he had was impressive. On film, he understands how to get into the seams and find the soft spots and impressed us tremendously. He can play in the slot and do good things there. "

The Huskies also went in late for quarterback Turner to fill the spot vacated y the transferring Dennis Brown. Turner is a two-time All-Tidewater quarterback and was among the top four quarterbacks in Virginia history in career completions, passing yards and touchdowns.

Rounding out the class: The Huskies also signed, tight ends John Delahunt (Ottawa, Ont.), Corey Manning (Tyrone, Ga,) and Ryan Griffin (Londonderry, N.H.) defensive backs Matt Edwards (Holliston, Mass.), Jerome Junior (Baltimore, Md.), Blidi Wreh-Wilson (Edinboro, Pa.), linebackers Jory Johnson (Mobile, Ala.), Jerome Williams (Burlington Township, N.J.), defensive end Ted Jennings (Dayton, Ohio), A.J. Portee (Austell, Ga.), defensive tackle Ryan Wirth (Medford, N.J), and offensive lineman Adam Masters (Bethesda, , Md.). The Huskies signed players from 13 states and Canada.

UCONN Playbook Top Stories