Despite Coaching Change, UConn Lands 16 Recruits
HARTFORD, Conn. (WFAN/AP) — UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni has landed a class of 16 recruits, less than a month after joining the Huskies.
Most of those who committed to former coach Randy Edsall stayed with the program through the change to Pasqualoni and faxed in their letters of intent early Wednesday, national signing day.
The recruiting class includes highly touted quarterback Michael Nebrich from Burke, Va., who is already enrolled for the spring semester, and linebacker Jefferson Ashiru, from Powder Springs, Ga.
Running backs Deshon Foxx from Lynchburg, Va. and Max DeLorenzo of Berlin will add depth after junior running back Jordan Todman declared for the NFL draft.
The Huskies are coming off their first BCS appearance, a 48-20 loss to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Edsall left to coach Maryland a day after the loss.
But Pasqualoni hit the ground running, and his first class includes recruits from 10 different states, including four from Georgia.
Now, with Pasqualoni’s background as a former coach in the Big East at Syracuse, he came with a strong endorsement from Connecticut’s high school coaches association, as well as those in New Jersey and New York. Those ties are expected to pay greater dividends with future recruiting classes, as just three recruits this year are from Connecticut.
Pasqualoni, 61, grew up in Cheshire, Conn., and was coach and athletic director at Western Connecticut from 1982-86. He coached at Syracuse for 14 years before moving to the NFL, working most recently as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.
It was that experience that convinced many, including Ashiru, to stick with UConn.
“At first, I was worried. But when I met him, he was just a really great guy,” Ashiru told the AP by telephone Wednesday. “And he’s coached my position, so I think he can help me do great things at linebacker.”
Like Nebrich, Sean McQuillan, defensive lineman Kenton Adayemi and offensive lineman Dalton Gifford already are enrolled at UConn. They are expected to take part in spring practice.
Others, including DeLorenzo, had a snow day Wednesday. The running back said he woke up at 7 a.m. to fax in his paperwork, then went back to sleep until just before noon.
But that doesn’t mean he’s not excited about UConn.
“I think everything is going to work out even better than with coach Edsall,” he told the AP. “He’s a Connecticut guy. He just seems like a very good coach and every time I’ve spoken with him, it’s been nothing but the best.”
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.