One of the ancillary benefits to not only landing top-notch high school football talent but to landing them early, is that it serves as a self-recruiting tool.
Quarterback Casey Cochran, from Masuk High in Monroe, Conn., committed to the Huskies over the weekend, bringing the total number of 2012 UConn recruits to 15, the highest number in school history (and it's just August). Head coach Paul Pasqualoni has a recruiting strategy and if the early returns are any indication, he knows what he's doing.
At a certain point, recruits, even if unwittingly, aid in recruiting. Take Malik Golden of Cheshire Academy. He's 6-1, 185 and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. And his college future could in part be determined by Cochran's decision to attend UConn.
Details via the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner: "It'll have an effect, yes," Golden said of Cochran committing to the Huskies. "He Facebooked me last night to say that he was going to call [Monday] and we were going to talk. … It can [have an effect] because I'm a big fan of Casey's and his dad [former high school coach Jack] so, yeah I think it helps UConn a lot,"
UConn, Boston College, Iowa, Georgia Tech and Penn State are the top five schools on Golden's list but there's something to be said for playing in your home state (it's one of the reasons Cochran cited for wanting to come to Storrs), not to mention knowing that there will be a top-flight QB entering the program at the same time.
"He's a very good player, he's the best quarterback in Connecticut for a reason," Golden said. "I played with him for Team Connecticut back in February [in a 7-on-7 tournament at Rutgers] and he is a great player, very smart."
Whether it's wideout or cornerback, UConn seems like a good fit for Golden. There is a need for depth and experience at wide receiver (although Pasqualoni already has two WRs committed for '12), and the defense is so well established that Golden would have an opportunity to play for one of the best units in the Big East.
Whatever happens, it's clear that Pasqualoni didn't lose his recruiting edge during his six-year stint in the NFL before returning to the college game in January. And for that, UConn should be thankful.