When Paul Pasqualoni replaced Randy Edsall before the 2011 season, one of the biggest concerns was that he had been out of the college game too long and UConn's recruiting would suffer. Turns out, Pasqualoni has been a solid recruiter, but the on-field production just hasn't been there. After back-to-back 5-7 seasons, it's fair to say that if Pasqualoni doesn't turn it around in 2013, his job could be on the line.
So while it's possible that the 2014 recruiting class could be playing for someone other than Pasqualoni, the coach, now entering his third year in Storrs, isn't going to throw up his hands in defeat. Instead, he's on the road trying to find players to help make the Huskies relevant again on the national stage. In general, it isn't the lone player that magically transforms a program -- unlike basketball, where a Jeremy Lamb (who wasn't even highly recruited) or a Andre Drummond (who was) can excite a fan base with national-title aspirations -- but a series of signings that slowly builds a program into a contender.
In 2013, Pasqualoni will have the unenviable task of restocking a top-ranked defense that lost many of its players to graduation. But recruiting is a never-ending process, and with the '13 recruits already signed, sealed and delivered the focus is to '14. And one of the most important offensive players the Huskies have to replace is tight end Ryan Griffin, who served as a security blanket to first-year quarterback Chandler Whitmer last season and Johnny McEntee the season before that. Griffin's now preparing for UConn's pro day and next month's NFL Draft and Pasqualoni may have unearthed his next middle-of-the-field target.
Three weeks ago, Roxbury Latin High School (Mass.) athletic director Tony Texeira told reporters that the Huskies had offered a scholarship to junior tight end/linebacker Kevin Cohee.
According to ESPN, it's Cohee's second offer after UMass. The 6-3, 240-pounder has also drawn interest from Boston College, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Rutgers. As MaroonMusket.com notes, Cohee's flying under the radar for now, but as the offers and interest increase, so too will the exposure. And if the Huskies hope to escape their yet-to-be-named conference for something better, it's going to take a much-improved football program -- and possibly players like Cohee.