UConn is the team that keeps going. Consistently a competitive program, they always play above their heads as Randy Edsall, possibly the most underrated coach in the nation, gets every ounce of ability from his players. For the most part the school puts a lot of top second tier prospects into the draft, a trend we think will continue in 2011.
The team has a pair of quarterbacks to watch. Senior Zach Frazer is the better college signal caller while junior Cody Endres is the better NFL prospect.
Frazer, a Notre Dame transfer, is a patient pocket passer who possesses good field vision and a sense of timing on throws. He plays with poise, quickly locates the open receiver yet lacks a big league arm and struggles zipping the ball into the tight spots. Frazer looks best as a back-up for a timing type of offense.
Arm strength is not an issue for Endres, who fires the ball to the intended target and can make most of the throws. Endres combines many of the positive traits we see in Frazer, though he does stare down the primary target and does not consistently throw with proper fundamentals. He’ll likely sit behind Frazer this season before getting his opportunity to lead UConn in 2011 and is a solid quarterback prospect.
Lineman Zach Hurd is a massive blocker who stands out on film. Powerful at the point, Hurd easily turns defenders off the line run blocking or anchors in pass protection. He quickly gets his hands into opponents and keeps his feet moving yet Hurd is better in a small area as he’s exploited by quick, nimble defenders. His natural size will attract a number of teams.
Fullback Anthony Sherman is one of the best lead blockers in the nation besides being effective catching the ball out of the backfield. Sherman shows terrific quickness in his all around game, good blocking vision and aggressively squares into defenders. He works hard to get a pad on defenders, knocking them from their angle of attack and possesses reliable hands for the passing game. Sherman lacks the great speed to be a true offensive threat yet does enough things well to get late round consideration.
Anthony Davis was someone we thought more athletic at the fullback position compared to Sherman. Displaying better playing speed, Davis accelerates into blocks and was a better finisher. Davis left school in the spring due to a university suspension and is no longer listed on the roster.
Outside linebacker Lawrence Wilson is a player we wrote about one year ago and a prospect who really caught our eye off the 2008 film. He’s a terrific pursuit linebacker who combines athleticism, speed and smarts to make plays sideline-to-sideline. Remaining disciplined with assignments, Wilson quickly locates the ball and shows a burst to the action. He breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself but Wilson does have size limitations at under 6-feet, 2-inches and under 220-pounds, which will automatically remove him from a number of boards around the league. Still, we think Wilson is a solid prospect and a legitimate top 100 choice next April who will be productive in the right system.
Scott Lutrus is a highly considered player and a linebacker with terrific measurables, instincts and competitive attitude. Lutrus plays with a warrior mentality, flying around the field then sacrificing his body to make plays. He jars ball handlers at the point of attack with crunching hits and for the most part plays within himself. Lutrus is not a complete defender and in our opinion his skills in coverage leave a lot to be desired. He also struggled with injury last season yet a big senior campaign could push him into the initial three rounds next April.
Greg Lloyd fills out the trio of talented linebackers at UConn and is a legitimate prospect despite not receiving the recognition of his teammates. Lloyd is a hard-hitting, small area linebacker who looks the part on the field. Aggressive against the run, he wraps up ball handlers and drives through tackles. Lloyd must improve his skills in coverage yet offers enough upside to get consideration in the mid-to-late rounds.
Junior Twyon Martin lines up at both defensive tackle and defensive end. Displaying solid movement skills, Martin easily changes direction or redirects to ball carriers. We’d like to see him make more plays but Martin is one to keep on the radar screen.
Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson is another junior with a bright future.