Lyle McCombs will lead the UConn rushing game.
Aug. 1, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut football team opened its preseason camp for the 2013 season with reporting day on Thursday and then have its first practice of the year on Friday. UConnHuskies.com will be your best place for coverage of the first day of practice with Twitter updates @UConnFootball all day including using the Vine video application.
Practice takes place from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday and UConnHuskies.com will have a full report, including video interviews, quotes and pictures. UConnHuskies.com will also have the updated heights and weights for UConn players as they entered camp sometime on Friday.
There will be three open to the public practices during UConn camp this year: Tuesday, August 6 (3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.), Tuesday, August 13 (3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.) and Saturday, August 17 (8:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.). All three practices will be held on the practice fields behind the old Memorial Stadium and new UConn Basketball Development Center site and are off of Alumni Drive. Parking for these practices will be available for free in "D" lot. In case of inclement weather, please check UConnHuskies.com for updates.
The first editon of 2013 UConn football media guide is now online. CLICK HERE TO VIEW IT
CLICK HERE for the 2013 UConn football schedule.
CLICK HERE for UConn football ticket information.
The Huskies nters the 2013 season in a new conference - the American Athletic Conference - and the best non-conference schedule in school history. Pundits should not underestimate the teams in this new league in the sport of football. Some of the familiar names on the schedule have changed for Husky fans, but the American will feature top-notch institutions with on-campus stadiums where football is very important.
As the tenth anniversary of UConn football at Rentschler Field is celebrated in 2013, the Huskies will face the best home schedule ever in the history of the facility, highlighted by home games against Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers, USF and Louisville.
UConn welcomes three new members of its coaching staff this season in offensive coordinator-receivers coach T.J. Weist, special teams coordinator and running backs coach Kermit Buggs and former Husky letterman and graduate assistant coach Shane Fogarty.
On offense, the Huskies return a key number of last year's leaders. Redshirt junior quarterback Chandler Whitmer (Newnan, Ga.) started all 12 games last season - his first year of action in college football. Whitmer showed improvement each week and finished the year with 2,664 passing yards and nine passing TDs. He threw for 200 yards or more in five of his final six games last season. Also back at the QB spot is redshirt junior Scott McCummings (Natick, Mass.), who saw time last year primarily in the "wildcat" position. Redshirt freshman Casey Cochran (Monroe, Conn.) looks forward to spring practice after being sidelined with a hand injury for most of last year.
Redshirt junior Lyle McCombs (Staten Island, N.Y.) led the team in rushing last year with 860 yards with six TDs, but would like to regain the form of 2011 when he rushed for over 1,000 yards and was a Freshman All-American. Redshirt sophomore Max DeLorenzo (Berlin, Conn.) showed moments of excellence last year and looks for more consistency. Sophomore Joseph Williams (Allentown, Pa.) played in nine games as a true freshman last year and will look to play an even bigger role this year. Redshirt senior Martin Hyppolite (Wakefield, Mass.) had worked hard to recover after being injured in a serious car accident in February and will look for playing time.
Redshirt junior Reuben Frank (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) was the starter at fullback last season but has been moved to defensive end, so redshirt freshman Jazzmar Clax (Freehold, N.J.) enters preseason camp tops on the depth chart. He is backed up by redshirt freshman James Horan (Rockaway, N.J.).
The Huskies return their top two receivers from last season in redshirt junior Geremy Davis (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and redshirt junior Skakim Phillips (Paterson, N.J.). Davis made 44 receptions for 613 yards while Phillips had 32 receptions for 399 yards. Phillips came on strong at the end of the season and had 14 receptions in the final three games of the year. Other experienced wide receivers include junior Kamal Abrams (Dover, Del.) and junior Deshon Foxx (Lynchburg, Va.). Pushing all of them and eager for playing time are redshirt freshmen John Greene (Miami, Fla.) and two freshman that came in for spring ball in 2013 -- Dhameer Bradley (New Castle, Del.) and Noel Thomas (Norwalk, Conn.).
UConn has good experience returning this spring on the offensive line - a unit that is key for improved production in 2013. Sixth-year senior Jimmy Bennett (Alexandria, Va.) was granted a sixth year of eligibility after an injury-filled career and is back after starting all 12 games at left tackle in '12. Redshirt junior Steve Greene (Edensburg, Pa.) is back after starting all of 2012 at left guard and redshirt senior Kevin Friend (Warrentown, Va.) has started 23 games over the last two years and all 13 at right tackle last year. Redshirt junior Guz Cruz (Manchester, N.H.) started five games at right guard in 2012, including the last four while redshirt senior Tyler Bullock (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) started the final eight games at center. There will be plenty of others looking to push this group in redshirt freshmen Kyle Bockeloh (Houston, Texas), Richard Levy (Trenton, N.J.) and Zach Rugg (Windber, Pa.) and sophomore Tyler Samra (Wycoff, N.J.). Also looking for playing time are redshirt sophomores Dalton Gifford (Fairhaven, Mass.), Xavier Hemingway (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Paul Nwokeji (Randolph, Mass.) and redshirt junior Bryan Paull (Parkland, Fla.). Redshirt junior Alex Mateas (Ottawa, Ont.) started the first four games of 2012 and will also be in the mix.
The tight end spot is wide open with the loss of seniors Ryan Griffin and John Delahunt. Look for redshirt sophomore Sean McQuillan (Glastonbury, Conn.) to get a long look there along with redshirt senior Spencer Parker (Newington, Conn.)
Unlike the offense, there will have to be plenty of new faces on defense. Among the Husky losses there are four career starters who all enjoyed an outstanding NFL Combine performances in February - defensive tackle Trevardo Williams, linebacker Sio Moore and cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson.
On the defensive line, UConn also looses the graduated Ryan Wirth, who started each game last year. Redshirt senior Shamar Stephen (Brookville, N.J.) has the most experience on the line and has 70 career tackles. Redshirt senior Jesse Joseph (Laval, Qu.) only played in three games last season before being lost by injury but has 118 career tackles in 37 games. Redshirt sophomore Julian Campenni (West Pittson, Pa.) started two games last season and was a consistent part of the rotation. A number of Huskies will have the opportunity to play here in: sophomore Elijah Norris (Upper Marlboro, Md.), redshirt senior Tim Willman (Fulton, Md.), redshirt junior B.J. McBryde (Beaver Falls, Pa.), redshirt junior Angelo Pruitt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and redshirt sophomore Kenton Adeyemi (Wethersfield, Conn.). Redshirt freshmen Mikal Myers (Newburgh, N.Y.), Brendan Battles-Santos (Eastham, Mass.), Andreas Knappe (Silkeborg, Denmark) and Sean Marinan (Higganum, Conn.) will look for their first college playing time.
In addition to Moore, UConn also lost steady starter Jory Johnson from last year's team at linebacker. Redshirt junior Yawin Smallwood (Worcester, Mass.) emerged as a defensive force last season and is the top returnee at LB. He is a nominee for virtually every preseason National Defensive Player of the Year Award. One of the top stories will be the progress of redshirt sophomore Graham Stewart (Durham, Conn.), who sat out last year as a transfer from Florida. Also competing for time at LB will be redshirt sophomore Jefferson Ashiru (Powder Springs, Ga.), redshirt senior Ryan Donohue (Montvale, N.J.), redshirt junior Brandon Steg (Coral Springs, Fla.) and redshirt sophomore Marquise Vann (Cincinnati, Ohio) plus redshirt freshmen Jon Hicks (Palmyra, Pa.) and Omaine Stephens (East Orange, N.J.).
The most defensive experience returns in the secondary with redshirt junior Byron Jones (New Britain, Conn.) and safety Ty-Meer Brown (McKeesport, Pa.), who both started all 12 games last year. Jones has been moved to cornerback this spring. Senior Taylor Mack (Powder Springs, Ga.) brings a great deal of experience back to the secondary and redshirt sophomore Andrew Adams (Fayetteville, Ga.) earned a letter last year at safety. At cornerback, redshirt sophomores David Stevenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Tyree Clark (Tampa, Fla.), sophomore Kenrick Mattison (Bloomfield, Conn.) and redshirt freshman Jhavon Williams (Wellington, Fla.) will all look for playing time. Safeties include: redshirt freshmen Jordan Floyd (Bel Air, Md.), Obi Melifonwu (South Grafton, Mass.) and Ellis Marder (Windermere, Fla.) and redshirt sophomore Wilbert Lee (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Redshirt sophomore Jeremy Claflin (West Hartford, Conn.) is also in the mix here.
UConn is solid on special teams with redshirt senior kicker Chad Christen (Etters, Pa.) returning for his second year as the starter while classmate Cole Wagner (York, Pa.) is among the top career punters in Husky history. Sophomore Bobby Puyol (North Palm Beach, Fla.) saw action in the last game of 2012 when Christen was hurt while redshirt freshman Justin Wain (Wilmington, N.C.) is also at punter. Redshirt sophomore Dominick Manco (Lagrangeville, N.Y.) and redshirt junior Adam Mueller (Park Ridge, Ill.) are all back at long snapper.