In a break from its longtime tradition, not to mention the typical practice in its sport, the UConn football team will not hold a spring game in 2019.
The school announced the game’s cancellation Thursday as part of a re-organization of its offseason workouts for the coming season.
The Huskies will move their “spring” workouts in 2019 to begin Feb. 12 and end March 15. This year, the Huskies’ workouts ran from March 15 through April 14.
The change in dates, UConn officials explained, was because of recent changes in the recruiting calendar for college football coaches. The early signing day is Dec. 19, while the traditional national signing day is Feb. 6.
UConn’s spring games, historically held on campus but more recently at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, have drawn a dwindling amount of fans. Unlike intrasquad scrimmages at big-time programs across the nation that sometimes draw upwards of 50,000 fans, the Huskies attracted about 1,500 to this year’s event.
In place of the annual spring game, long referred to in Storrs as the Blue-White Game, UConn will instead host a youth clinic and fan appreciation event at the Shenkman Training Center on campus. The date for that event is tentatively April 6.
“We really appreciate the support we have had for our spring games over the years, but due to the change in the recruiting calendar for football and to allow our student-athletes to have a better overall experience in the off-season, we will be holding our spring practice in February and early March,” UConn coach Randy Edsall said in a statement released by the school. “This will allow our players more time to recover from injuries and also gets our summer lifting and conditioning program implemented earlier. We look forward to having our youth clinic/fan fest in April and feel this event will offer a better opportunity to engage with our fan base on a more personal level.”
Texas RB commits
UConn’s received its first commitment for its Class of 2019, and it was an impressive one.
Darrin Smith, a three-star running back from Frisco, Texas, committed Thursday night to join the Huskies. The 5-foot-9, 186-pound Smith ultimately chose the Huskies over TCU but also had offers from Nebraska, Colorado and Arizona.
A standout at Lone Star High School just north of Dallas, Smith was ranked as the No. 11 all-purpose back in the country by 247sports.com.
“With a lot of prayer and thought I have decided to commit to the University of Connecticut,” Smith wrote in making his announcement via social media Thursday evening.
During his visit to Storrs, Smith was apparently swayed by Edsall and the program’s facilities.
“Really, it was just the coaching staff that impressed me,” Smith told . “The campus really surprised me and my parents with how beautiful it was up there. Everything was really new, all the people were really great and there was nothing I wanted to pass up on up there.”