The UConn football team is in the midst of the longest offseason in the programâ€™s history. But there are signs that things will go better for the Huskies when the finally get in the field again.
Or, at least the year after.
Coach Randy Edsallâ€™s Huskies have already secured a bakerâ€™s dozen worth of commitments from high school players in the Class of 2022.
And a program that has been unofficially ranked at, or at least near, the bottom of all 130 teams in FBS in recent years, has already assembled what is surprisingly ranked so far as a top-50 class.
UConn did not play any games in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, and is a combined 6-30 in its last three seasons of play. But the Huskies have dipped into recruiting pools that have paid dividends for them before - Texas, Florida, and Edsallâ€™s hometown area of Central Pennsylvania - to secure verbal commitments from 13 players so far.
The Huskiesâ€™ class is currently No. 50 in the nation, according toÂ rivals.com. That puts them ahead of Power 5 programs _ those in the major conferences: Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 _ such as Washington, Iowa, Arizona State, Stanford, and Nebraska, among others.
Xaiver Brown, a wide receiver from Mesquite Texas, is the latest to commit, doing so Monday. Brown is a three-star recruit who had scholarship offers from the likes of Kansas and Colorado.
Seven players in the class are from Florida, including Foundation Academy (Winter Garden, Florida) teammates Donovan Branch and Reggie Jean. Branch is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end while Jean is a 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive tackle.
Two of the players are from Texas, including 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end Sean Sallis from Carrollton. Two more are from Pennsylvania: Philadelphia athlete Kareem Lewis, and York offensive tackle Joden Nelson.
The Huskies donâ€™t have any pledges from Connecticut natives yet in the class, though offensive tackle Brady Wayburn, a Gastonia, North Carolina native who plays at Loomis Chaffee in Windsor, has committed.
Edsall is prohibited by NCAA rules from commenting publicly on recruits until they sign letters of intent with the school, but he said during the Huskiesâ€™ spring workouts that he was pleased with the coaching staffâ€™s recruiting efforts and targets.
The fact that the Huskies didnâ€™t compete in 2020, one of just three FBS teams nationally not to, allowed the coaches to plan extensively for 2021 and going forward.
â€śIt was good for our staff. We had time to really sit down and put things together,â€ť Edsall said.
UConn opens the 2021 season at Fresno State Aug. 28.
UConn football Class of 2022 commits
Player Pos. Ht./Wt. Hometown
Donovan Branch DE 6-4/220 Winter Garden, Fla.
Dâ€™Mon Brinson CB 5-11/180 Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Xavier Brown WR 6-1/169 Mesquite, Texas
Kareem Burke WR 6-0/165 Jacksonville, Fla.
Christopher Calhoun II QB 6-0/187 Jacksonville, Fla.
Reggie Jean DT 6-3/280 Winter Garden, Fla.
Kareem Lewis ATH 6-1/205 Philadelphia
Jeremiah McGill S 6-0/185 Hollywood, Fla.
Joden Nelson OL 6-4/285 York, Pa.
Tim Passmore DT 6-4/270 Cocoa, Fla.
Sean Sallis TE 6-4/220 Carrollton, Texas
Nathan Voorhis DE 6-4/230 Strousburg, Pa.
Brady Wayburn OT 6-6/290 Gastonia, N.C.