The biggest issue facing the Huskies entering the 2011 football season: quarterback.
Zach Frazer was gone. He'd never be confused for Dan Orlovsky, but he was reliable, an important ingredient on a team with strengths at other positions. Johnny McEntee, Scott McCummings, Michael Nebrich and Michael Box were all in the running for the job this spring, and it became a three-man race when Box transferred in August.
McEntee eventually won out (with McCummings making weekly appearances as the "running" QB), but the transition was anything but smooth. He's played well in recent starts, but that was preceded by some pretty awful football that included plenty of booing by the hometown crowd.
Next season will be different; McEntee will have a year's experience as a starter to draw on, and McCummings and Nebrich will be sophomores. But McEntee's biggest competition could come from a quarterback who still has his high school prom to attend. Casey Cohcran, one of the Huskies' biggest recruits, committed to the program this summer and he'll arrive in Storrs with plenty of hardware, including his latest honor: the Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year. Impressive for sure but even more so when you learn that he was last year's Gatorade State Player of the Year, too. He's the first repeat winner in the 25-year history of the award.
“It’s a great honor to win the award again,” Cochran said in a statement, via the Connecticut Post. “I have to give the credit to my teammates for this award, though.
“My line has been great this year, and they have gave me a lot of time to do what I can. Colin has been running so well that teams have had to load the box and roll the dice which has opened up a lot of our passing game.
“My receivers have worked harder this off-season than I’ve ever seen. We have been working on our timing nonstop since last January. They have been tremendous. And I have to give a lot of credit to our defense, which has gotten teams off the field, put points on the board, and picked us up when we were struggling.”
Cochran, who's listed at 6-1, 2010, has thrown for 2,768 yards, 36 touchdowns and four interceptions for Masuk High School in Monroe. He chose UConn over Boston College, Yale and Princeton, and as the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner wrote in August, not only is Cochran the biggest recruit in UConn's 2012 class, he might be the biggest recruit since Dan Orlovsky in 2000.
According to ESPN's scouting report on Cochran, "The ball really comes off his hand with velocity and authority … (he) can make all the throws when on time." The only downside is Cochran's height (he's listed at 6-0), but if he "were taller, he would be receiving a lot more attention early in the process because he is competitive and shows a very gifted arm."