The Pitt Panthers football team might be favorites to win eight games next season (ESPN.com's Big East blogger has the Huskies winning six times), but they are currently the only team in the league without a 2012 recruit. The Huskies were shutout for season after next until they received a verbal commitment from offensive lineman Tyler Samra last week.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program, and although UConn was slow out of the gate for 2012 (some of that can be blamed on the coaching change), Paul Pasqualoni has a plan. So who are some of the other prospects in the Huskies' crosshairs? Vonda Menard, a self-described lifetime Connecticut resident and avid football, identifies four targets in a recent post on Yahoo's contributor network:
* DJ Singleton, S, New Jersey
* Devante McFarlane, RB, New York
* Kaiwan Lewis, DE, NJ
* Eugene Lewis, WR, Pennsylvania
Interestingly, all four players are from the Northeast, an area where UConn has to recruit well if it's going to consistently compete in the Big East. The Hartford Courant's Desmond Connor wrote about this last week.
"If the UConn program wants to improve, it's going to have make trips to the Garden State -- make them often and not come away empty for players," Connor noted. "… Pasqualoni and all his ties comes in, puts his longtime friend, (UConn offensive coordinator) George DeLeone - and all his ties - on New Jersey and ...well, you have Tyler Samra from Don Bosco Prep. Receivers coach Matt Cersosimo and linebackers coach Jon Wholley recruit areas of the state, too."
As the 2012 class takes shape, we'll get a better idea of just how well-established the Northeast recruiting pipeline to Storrs is. Because without it, UConn could struggle to keep pace in the Big East.