Feb. 2, 2011
Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni
"I'm excited to be here and I am very, very happy with the culmination of the 2011 recruiting class. Excited about the kids that we have, it is a very balanced class, we have eight on the defensive side of the ball and eight on the offensive side of the ball. We are going to fill some needs from a depth chart standpoint that we thought needed addressed. I would like to make a comment about the staff and the outstanding job that the UConn coaches did in the transition of the recruiting, in maintaining their relationships. I really enjoyed getting around with the coaches and getting back into homes and schools. It was very exciting and refreshing to get back to."
On Kamal Abrams
"Outstanding athlete, I look at him as a wide receiver that would play to the passing strength of the formation. I think he has the ability to become an excellent route runner, he is very detailed in what he does and he is a very productive young man."
On Andrew Adams
"Great bloodlines here, his uncle Sam Adams played for the New England Patriots was an outstanding lineman there, his dad certainly played in the NFL for a period of time. He is just an excellent safety, all around athlete. He has excellent communication skills, very instinctive, very good in space and very good ball skills."
On Kenton Adeyemi
"The one comment I will make about the lineman that we were fortunate enough to sign is that they are all tall and they are able to run. Kenton is very athletic, a lot of room, big frame, tall guy and we will be excited to work with him."
On Jefferson Ashiru
"We signed two linebackers, one outside and one inside. Jefferson is the outside linebacker in the class, he has a lot of range and we are very pleased with his athleticism. He can also be an excellent edge rusher on third down, so he is an outside backer candidate and can certainly help us as he grows into third down."
On Julian Campenni
"Very explosive defensive lineman, more that interior guy that you would line up on the nose or on the inside edge of the guard. Excellent penetrator, excellent quickness and has a strong club move. I think he will be a very productive inside guy when the offensive line is forced to block him one-on-one he will be a handful for them."
On Tyree Clark
"We signed two corners, a free safety and a strong safety so we actually signed a complete secondary which is always exciting to bring that group in together and watch them grow as we move through this. Tyree is an excellent corner, he has excellent cover skills. He reminds me of a guy that we had from way back by the name of Kevin Abrams who was just an outstanding corner for us over the years."
On Max DeLorenzo
"Max is a big guy, he is a downhill power runner who will give us the feature of having a big back in our offense. He is a good guy in regards to yards after contact. He is a big guy and he is an explosive guy so he is a difficult guy to make an arm tackle on from that standpoint. He also has deceiving speed, he can bounce it to the outside and make some yards to the outside."
On Deshon Foxx
"This guy is big play speed, he has great speed. He is a different style of tailback which is important for us to have. We brought in two running backs, this guy is a cutback runner, put his foot in the ground and bring it back and he will be a hard guy to stop."
On Dalton Gifford
"It is great to have him on campus already in the offseason program, he is a very athletic player. It is fun when you can recruit tall guys who can move. It is hard to coach height, you try to recruit it and recruit guys that can move, which these guys can do."
On Xavier Hemingway
"He is an excellent athlete, he can really move and we are excited to have Xavier joining that offensive line group."
On Wilbert Lee
"He is a really physical player, he had a lot of production as a fullback, but he is also an excellent defensive player. He has great ball skills and he can come downhill and make tackles and be physical."
On Sean McQuillan
"Sean is an excellent skill player, he played quarterback and probably had over 1,900 yards rushing and 1,400 yards passing last year. What Sean will give us though is a tight end with excellent movement skills and he will allow us to be in multiple formations. He will create mismatch problems for the defense, he could be a fullback or he could be flexed out to be a wide receiver, he could be on the line of scrimmage as a unit tight end blocking. There is a lot that Sean could do for us and that is the type of player that you are always looking for."
On Michael Nebrich
"He has been a very productive quarterback. In his senior year he broke all of the state of Virginia records in regards to yards, he had over 10,700 yards in his senior year. He ranks fourth in the state of Virginia all-time and when you think about that and some of the recent quarterbacks out of the state of Virginia you are talking about Ron Curry, Aaron Brooks, Michael Vick and that is impressive. He is a guy that can scramble to throw, he can scramble to run, he has great accuracy. We are extremely excited to have Michael in our program and to have him on campus right now."
On Paul Nwokeji
"Another guy who is tall and can run, he is athletic, he is competitive and tough. He is just a great young guy to have in our program to coach and develop."
On David Stevenson
"He comes from Stephenson High School, which is one of the great high school programs in the state of Georgia. Last year they probably had 27 or 28 IA prospects and this year they probably have 25, this is one of the premier programs in the state of Georgia. David is a cover corner, good man-to-man skills, he is a thick guy who is physical and understands football."
On Marquise Vann
"He will be the inside back for us, he currently plays that position in high school. He has great vision, he is very explosive and he runs very well. He is able to explode on blocks and getting off blocks, he has great vision in coverage."
How was it coming in when you did in terms of recruiting?
"The first thing is you are trying to set the schedule and make sure you are maintaining the commitments that you have and adding to the class. As you are trying to get a peek at these guys you are watching film and making an evaluation of who they are so you are making your own decision. I was very pleased with what I was seeing on the film and even more impressed when I got to the point of visiting the schools and homes in person. These kids are very good football players, but what I was equally impressed with was who they are as people. There are some outstanding students that we are bringing in that will compete very well in the classroom as well as on the football field. We were excited about who these guys are as a whole and it was very exciting to meet them all."
With this group are there any that could play right away or will they redshirt?
"Well that is always the debate, it really is. We are going to play the best 11 on both sides of the ball, that is what we have to do. The magnitude of kids having that fifth year is not something that you casually make a decision on. Right now looking at it, until I get through spring ball and I really know the team, I have talked to each of the guys on the team, I'm not going to say right now. There are certainly some people here who will be competing to play next year though."
On players competing to play, is Nebrich refined enough to come in and play?
"Well what you see on the film is a very productive guy. When you get into the selection of any position and mostly the quarterback at the end of the day, it is all about production. It can't be on potential, it can't be on promise, it has to be on production. We are going to have to do a very good job through spring ball. He will certainly compete and we will make evaluations on how they are handling the system and what kind of production there is during the scrimmages and we will base the decision on that. What I have learned is that you need to go through the whole process, you don't make a quick decision."
How many recruits were going to come to UConn no matter who was coaching and how many did you have to convince?
"I think when a coaching transition happens, you have to do some convincing, but the coaches had done such a good job and UConn is such a good school and the program is a solid program that they were hanging in there pretty good. There were a couple that you had to do a little more convincing. I would say that there had to be some convincing done, but at the end of the day the coaches did a really good job."
Are you surprised with any of the recruits?
"There are quite a few all-state players here and there are quite a few players with high accolades. I'm not going to single out any one player, I'm not the guy that believes you say unrealistic things and put unrealistic expectations on kids. I promise that there are some really good players though."
You had talked about extending the vertical offense, but you only signed one receiver. Is that because of the lateness of the recruiting process, or do you actually like the guys that are here?
"I think it is a combination of both, it was a little bit late and there were some kids out there and to be perfectly honest there are still some kids out there. We will continue to look at that, but there are some guys on our campus that I think are capable of giving us some of what we want to get done, so there was no panic at all."
You make it sound like this class isn't done yet, is that the case?
"When you are involved in recruiting you are always open to adding a good player regardless. This class is an excellent class, if there is a special situation that comes up we are prepared for that, so we will just keep our eyes open and see what else happens."
How was it getting back into the mix of things?
"I thought it was pretty good, it is like riding a bike, you don't forget. I have always enjoyed visiting high school coaches and having a chance to talk about their programs. It was fun to be honest, I really enjoyed it. I wasn't really nervous, I was just anxious to get in and meet them and talk about UConn and the football program. You like to have a vision for all of the kids in your program, so you discuss that with them and it is fun to talk to the parents and the kids about that. That is an important part of the recruiting, because if they don't agree with your vision then you probably aren't getting them."
How many homes did you get to?
"We went to just about everybody. The days were busy though, you really had to hustle. That is the assistant coaches, I'm just tagging along. They are the ones that need to know how to get there. I enjoyed my two weeks on the road with them and I thought we got a lot done."
When you look for a wide receiver, what makes a good college wide receiver?
"I think that you are looking for the same regardless the level of football. When you start talking about the vertical game on first and second down, you need to be able to run the ball, if you can't run the ball and they take the corner and put him in front of the guy they aren't going to throw the ball there. If you can run it and now they can't take that guy and put him on top of the receiver, then you have all kinds of opportunities over there. You are looking for a guy that is really explosive coming off the line of scrimmage, you would love to have one of two things. A tall guy who can body him up and box him out, go up and get the ball, those guys are terrific. The other guy is the guy that is so quick and fast off the ball that you have a hard time getting your hands on him. Those are the guys that you are really looking for and to be honest I think we have a chance to have those guys. They may be on our campus right now and that is what we are going to figure out."
Do the players or their parents question you about your vision for them now?
"More and more in this day and age they do. Years back they didn't. They certainly do question you now though. Everyone has visions of playing in college and moving on. I don't mind those questions at all, because I'm always going to tell them what I think and I'm always going to have it thought out before I say it. It is no different with a college kid than a pro athlete who is sitting there asking what your vision is for them."
How much film have you watched of the current team?
"We are getting into what I call the quality control phase of this, where we will take every play and critique every play and really evaluate what they did and what the players are doing. I have watched it, but I have not broken it down yet. I haven't separated every play yet."
Can you give any updates on your staff?
"We are working very diligently in that direction, I can't put a date on it though. All I can tell you is that we are going to have it done as soon as possible and it is moving in a very positive direction."