UConn football must prepare to replace many departing players

Published on Thursday, 21 November 2019 19:39
Written by Neill Ostrout

Journal Inquirer

Fifteen UConn seniors who will be departing the football program will be honored before Saturday’s home finale against East Carolina.

The list released this week includes two starting offensive linemen, center Nino Leone and guard Cam DeGeorge, who could return next year but presumably intend to transfer as graduate students and use their final year of eligibility at another school.

The loss of Leone and DeGeorge, combined with the departure of four-year starting tackle Matt Peart, means the Huskies will have to find three new starters next year on the offensive line, one of the few areas where the Huskies (2-8, 0-6 AAC) have been stable this season.

UConn coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday there might be more third-year players who won’t return next season, meaning the list of current starters who will spend next season at another school could grow.

One such player, junior safety Tyler Coyle of Windsor, a three-year starter, was noncommittal when asked Tuesday if he will definitely return to Storrs next season.

“I haven’t really thought about it, yet. I’m just going with the flow right now. Whatever happens, happens,” said Coyle, the team’s leading tackler for the second year in a row.

Speaking of those who will definitely be departing, Coyle says he can see how they have laid some of the foundation for UConn to build upon. But he also admits there is work to be done.

“I can definitely see the foundation but we still have a long ways to go,” Coyle said. “We’ve had three straight losing seasons here? We have to find a way to do better.”

After last season, several starters transferred from UConn, including linebacker Darrian Beavers (Cincinnati) and tight end Tyler Davis (Georgia Tech).

UConn (2-8, 0-6 AAC) has two games remaining in what will be its ninth consecutive losing season, which will end next weekend in Philadelphia.

Offensive linemen Peart, Ben Bonvicini and Noel Brouse, wide receiver Ardell Brown, defensive end A.J. Garson, punter Brett Graham, linebacker Eddie Hahn, running back Stanley Little, defensive tackle Andrew Migliaccio, running back Donevin O’Reilly, long snapper Jeff Sidebotham, running back Art Thompkins and linebacker Eli Thomas will also be honored Saturday.

Of that group, only Peart, Brown and Thompkins have seen significant playing time this season.

Peart is projected as an NFL draft selection; Thompkins and Brown were graduate transfers; Thomas did not play this season after suffering a stroke last year.

Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Thursday, 21 November 2019 19:39. Updated: Thursday, 21 November 2019 19:41.