By Alyssa Cantisani
UConn Athletic Communications
With 19 players submitting National Letters of Intent for the Class of 2022 during the early signing period, UConn head football coach Randy Edsall and the rest of the Huskies are put in a very good position for the upcoming season.
The opportunity to lock players in a couple months earlier than usual figures to make this signing period very beneficial for UConn. The training and planning for next season can start sooner rather than later, giving the entire process a head start.
“It allows coaches to start now on the 2019 guys,” Edsall said. “Now we can get a head start on them and go into schools and ask questions from a character standpoint and also start to see where they are from an academic standpoint. I think those are things that really help us, moving forward.”
Coach Edsall had a specific philosophy that he made sure to share while recruiting. The high standard to which Edsall holds his players on the field and in the classroom is what resonated with the signees.
“The first thing he talked about wasn’t football,” said Malik Banks, a defensive back from Hockessin, Del. “It was about me and my character and that was one of the main reasons I loved UConn. It’s very family-oriented and I knew Coach Edsall wanted more out of me than just football and that’s what really impacted my decision.”
The idea of coming to school early isn’t only helpful for the coaching staff and the football program as a whole, but for the athletes on a personal level as well. It gives them the opportunity to get adjusted to life as a college student.
“I think coming in early will not only help me on the athletic side, but on the academic side as well,” Banks said. “It gives me a chance to see college before the season starts in September. In August, I’ll be focusing a lot on football, so coming in early gives me a chance to focus on everything else.”
As another added benefit of the early signing period, the UConn coaching staff will have a chance to become familiar with the signees months before they have to start strictly focusing on their spring schedule.
“Knowing that I’m going to UConn makes it easier for me to form relationships with all of the coaches,” said defensive back Jeremy Lucien, out of Moore Township, Pa. “Now when I go to campus, I’m not just going as a recruit, I’m going as a UConn football player. So I don’t look at these coaches as people I might potentially be playing for, they are my coaches.”
Not only is it a great feeling for the recruits to have the pressure of making a college decision out of the way, but the new additions are able to communicate with the coaching staff much easier, become comfortable with their teammates, receive their workout schedules and start the conditioning process earlier than normal, which will bring a positive outlook for the 2018 season.
“I think this early signing period is good and, around the country, it will be interesting to see how many guys signed and how many chose not to,” Edsall said.
The early-signing class brings to UConn 19 athletes Coach Edsall believes can help get the program closer to where he thinks it can be. Yet, there are still more to come on the regular signing day of February 7.
“On the early-signing day we got faster, stronger and more athletic and on February 7, we’ll look to add a few more to this class,” Edsall said. “Really, we got quite a bit better.”
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