Paul Pasqualoni might not have much to say about who will be his starting quarterback this fall (during Big East media day Pasqualoni repeated what he's said all offseason -- “I’d like to make a decision as soon as I can, but I really don’t know how long it will take. We’re prepared to go the distance because we want to get it right.”), but there's no disputing his proficiency as a recruiter.
The Huskies already have 14 commitments for the class of 2012, the most ever for the program since moving to Division I, and it's just August.
Three months ago, we voiced concerns that the recruiting game may have passed Pasqualoni by during his stint in the NFL. Turns out, we couldn't have been more wrong. UConn went from no 2012 commitments in May (tied for last in the Big East with Pitt) to 14 (now good for third in the conference). Clearly, Pasqualoni has a plan and it appears to be working.
One of his 2012 recruits is wide receiver Neally Cunningham. We're singling him out because the Huskies have had some recent roster upheaval at the position -- Dwayne Difton and Leon Kinnard have transferred and Michael Smith has been ruled ineligible for the upcoming season. And, honestly, there wasn't much depth on the roster before the turnover.
Cunningham won't provide immediate relief, but by the time he arrives on campus UConn should have its QB and RB situations sorted, and he would be the logical next piece in Pasqualoni's puzzle to create an explosive offense.
Rivals.com ranks Cunningham as a three-star prospect, and at 6-2, 195, he has the size to make plays down the field, something Pasqualoni has spoken candidly about this offseason.
According to the ESPN scouting report, "Cunningham … can play inside and outside and has the makings of becoming an imposing target off the line over time. Has good feet for his size and is a nimble athlete. Gets into routes quickly and makes a lot of plays on the vertical, over-the-shoulder ball."
Sounds like a perfect match.
Rivals.com caught up with Cunningham earlier this week and he still sounds like UConn is exactly where he wants to be.
"Everything is going good," said Cunningham. "UConn is the only school I have talked to since I committed. Everything is good." He speaks often with Huskies assistant Don Brown ("We talk about a lot of things besides football," said Cunningham. "He is a good guy.") but for now his focus is on his senior season at Palm Beach (FL) Bayside.
"I wanna do something that has never been done at my school and that's to beat our rivals Palm Bay and to win states," said Cunningham. "We're looking good so far. We're going to be better than what everybody expects us to be. We can play with anybody."
And then he can bring those talents to Storrs.