2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 99 Connecticut Huskies
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Connecticut Huskies
No. 99: Connecticut Huskies
Connecticut Huskies Prespring Status
After years of mediocrity, Connecticut gets back the guy who made the program interesting. Randy Edsall is back after being booted from Maryland, and now you know what you’re getting. It’ll be back to the days of a grinding ground game to go along with a tough defense that’s already in place from the Bob Diaco era. At least, the defense that was tough at times from Diaco’s run.
The offense was the most miserable in college football at scoring – coming up with just 16 points over the last four games – and the D couldn’t pick up the slack. Edsall has yet another rebuilding job to do, but it was much, much harder his first time around in Storrs.
Connecticut Huskies Biggest Issue
The Huskies have to try improving the miserable offense without their two best linemen and the one guy who was any good for the passing game. Right tackle Andreas Knappe and left guard Richard Levy are done, but Noel Thomas is the biggest hit after catching 100 passes for 1,179 yards and three scores. The rest of the Huskies – the other ten players who caught passes – combined for just 113 catches for 1,253 yards and five scores.
Connecticut Huskies Biggest Positive
Most of the key tacklers are back, and a few promising young players return to build the offense around. Safety Obi Melifonwu is done after leading the team with 118 stops, but the linebacking corps returns Vontae Diggs and Junior Joseph, and Jamar Summers is a potential all-star at one corner.
Offensively, Arkeel Newsome was okay, averaging almost five yards per carry with a team-leading 715 yards and five scores, but he needs the quarterback play to be better after Bryant Shirreffs and Donovan Williams – both are back – combined for 11 interceptions and just eight scoring passes. At least the Huskies have veteran options under center.
Really, Why Are The Connecticut Huskies Ranked Here?
It’s not like the Huskies were all that close in all the losses over the second half of the season, getting blown out in game after game. But if the return of Edsall can crank up the offense just a little bit, all of a sudden, the team could turn things around in a hurry. Is it a stretch to go from 3-9 to 6-6? If the offense can do something, anything, that’ll change the dynamic with a decent base of veterans returning. Give it a year, though, before Edsall can start to work wonders.