On National Letter of Intent Signing Day at the Rent Wednesday
SO MUCH FOR STAR GAZING
Paul Pasqualoni isn’t one to see stars, but the UConn football coach would like to go back and take a look at some, just for references. “I’d like to go back and see how many stars were next to Donovan McNabb’s name”, said Pasqualoni, when it was pointed out to him that of the 22 players who committed to his program on national letter of intent day, none were in the upper echelons of the recruiting service ratings, the ones who get four or five stars. “There probably weren’t any”, says Pasqualoni of the stars next to McNabb’s name when he committed to play for Pasqualoni at Syracuse, “Only two schools recruited him. No team in the Big Ten offered him a scholarship, and he was the second player taken (in the NFL draft). He’s going to the Hall of Fame.” If you want to talk recruiting with Pasqualoni, talk film, not stars. “We spend a lot of time looking at film”, he says of the recruiting process, “Seeing what kids can do.” The stars assigned by recruiting services are only part of the inexact science of recruiting players who may not be called on to become major contributors until two or three years down the road, if ever, though Pasqualoni does say when he recruits a player he never rules out the possibility of him having an immediate impact. “I’ll never say to a player you come in and redshirt. I tell every kid, ‘I want you in camp seriously ready to compete.’ Any one of them may play.” One area where he sees that potential for an immediate impact, may be the most important area, in more ways than one. “Recruiting is important at every position”, said Pasqualoni, “It’s critical at quarterback.” For UConn it may be even more important than most programs. Quarterback has been a position in progress for both of Pasqualoni’s years at UConn, and this year he landed two prototypes, Kivon Taylor out of Atlanta, tall, at 6-5, with a strong arm, and Tim Boyle, who led Xavier of Middletown to three state championships. To Pasqualoni he represents a two way breakthrough, the jewell of a group of six in-state players. “I don’t know if that’s ever been done at UConn before”, said Pasqualoni, “Getting six players from Connecticut. There was one more we wanted, so there were seven, maybe eight legitimate division 1-A prospects in Connecticut and we got six of them, including the quarterback we wanted, who could have gone anywhere. Timmy can make all the throws.” As he looks over his incoming class Pasqualoni forgets the stars and talks in futures. Cole Ormsby, one of the Connecticut six, a sought after defensive end from Windsor, comes in at 235 pounds. “Two years from now he’ll be about 260”, says Pasqualoni. He sees Coventry’s Tommy Myers as a prototype tight end, “Tall, a ‘unit’ tight end”, the coach calls him, “He aligns on the line of scrimmage.” Fullback Matt Walsh of Madison made the UConn grade because, says Pasqualoni, “He can run and he can catch the ball.” The only time Pasqualoni ever mentioned stars yesterday was when those of us less initiated in the nuances of recruiting futures brought them up. It’s not Paul Pasqualoni’s way. He’s not one to see stars when he’s recruiting. In fact, he can’t remember seeing any when he recruited Donovan McNabb. So much for stars. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.