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UConn G Christian Haynes is UConn's first All-American since 2010
Continuing the trend of breakthroughs for UConn football this year, Husky guard Christian Haynes was named an All-American by the Sporting News and Associated Press. He’s the first Husky to do so since 2010 and the third ever.
Jim Mora has done a great job of turning around this program and deserves a lot of credit for the state of UConn’s offensive line this year. However, this accomplishment belongs to Christian Haynes.
Coming out of Bowie High School in Maryland out of the class of 2018, Haynes was a relatively unheralded recruit, though he did participate in his state’s all-star game.
Still, his trajectory to All-American is all his own. He earned a starting job in 2019 as a redshirt freshman and stuck through a lost 2020 to continue his excellence in 2021, even though UConn struggled. He earned some praise in our last podcast, and in our preseason coverage was one of the players picked most likely to go pro, but nobody saw an All-American season coming for the junior.
With better players around him in 2022, Haynes has thrived. Congrats to him on a job tremendously done. UConn’s running backs have had plenty of room to run this season and he’s a big part of the reason why.
Nate Carter to UMass?
Many were disappointed when Nate Carter announced his intention to transfer from UConn. Most also assumed it was for greener pastures after standing out so much in his first few games before shutting it down due to injury.
So far, Carter’s announced an offer from Akron and UMass and is projected by On3 to go to… UMass?
That would really be something. You’d think he’d end up at a solid team in a solid conference. UMass is a worse situation than UConn in every single way. That would be a gut punch, but I don’t think it’s happening…
In more pleasant news, potentially, star linebacker Jackson Mitchell says he intends to return to UConn next year. Selfishly, that would be awesome. But let’s wait until this season wraps up and decisions are actually made before counting him on next year’s roster. Carter also said earlier in the year that he plans on returning to UConn for 2023. People change their minds about things.
Let’s talk about recruiting
This week, the Huskies added a transfer DB from Washington and a preferred walk-on from Salisbury High by way of Portland to their incoming group. Per Rivals, UConn has 12 verbal commitments in the class of 2023 so far. The early signing period starts December 21.
The transfer portal is going to be UConn’s key to improving in 2023. For Mora and staff to add to the secondary is a great start. They have offers out to a number of experienced offensive players as well, including at least one quarterback.
The freshman class is of course worth keeping tabs on, but the transfers are the ones who are going to have more impact on the 2023 outcome. This year, transfers made key contributions on the offensive line, linebackers, and secondary, and Ta’Quan Roberson probably would have made a difference at QB if he had the chance to play all season.
With the 2023 team another year wiser, and hopefully minimal departures, UConn should be better, but it will have to lean on the portal again in the offseason to improve on this year’s six-win total. Luckily, this 2022 campaign offers Mora and the staff something to build on and a reason for previously uninterested recruits to listen.
P.S. Good read from the CT Post on the program building better bridges in the state of Connecticut via assistant coach John Marinelli.
Oh yeah, the bowl game
We are four (!) days away from UConn taking the teal field in South Carolina for the Myrtle Beach Bowl. So far, we haven’t heard too much new news, beyond a confirmation that players like Brian Brewton are likely to be available.
Marshall presents a tough matchup for the Huskies, who will understandably be happy to be there. If they can keep that energy for the game, and not the festivities, Marshall, who has been in a bowl game for six straight years, may be in for a challenge of its own. But the Herd are carrying a three-year losing streak that I’m sure they’ll want to break.
A win would give UConn its first winning season since 2010, and end a remarkable 2022 campaign on a positive note that it can take into an important offseason. Roster retention and transfers will be key to watch, as will any coaching staff movement.
On that note, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that UConn will fill its running backs coach vacancy with Furman’s Antonio Wilcox. A 2017 graduate of Furman, where he also played running back, Wilcox coached in the same role at his alma mater for two seasons.