ANSONIA >> As a regular visitor to Rentschler Field for UConn games and one of the most high-profile players to commit to the Huskies, this week was one of shock and uncertainty for record-breaking Ansonia running back Arkeel Newsome.
Newsome was among the recruits at UConn’s near upset of Michigan, and just over a week later, head coach Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator George DeLeone were fired after the Huskies’ 0-4 start.
“It was a big surprise,” Newsome said. “I didn’t think anything was going to happen because I was pretty cool with both of the coaches, coach DeLeone and coach Pasqualoni.
“My first reaction was, ‘Is this going to affect my scholarship?’”
Newsome’s desire to play at UConn has not wavered despite the upheaval in the coaching staff.
“I am still cool with (Kermit) Buggs, the running backs coach, and my recruiting coach (Jon) Wholley,” Newsome said. “I am still looking forward to being there.”
Another high-profile in-state commit is also looking forward to suiting up at UConn.
“It doesn’t really impact me too much,” Logan Marchi said after leading St. Paul to a 46-12 win over Kennedy on Saturday. “They made a decision as a program there. I just have to sit and wait, do (what’s) best for me. It is my senior year, (so I’m going to) go with what’s in stone. I still have my senior year to play and I still have a scholarship to UConn.
“I committed there. That is the commitment I made. Things can change, but right now that is where I want to be and where I want to stay.”
Justin Noye, a dual-threat quarterback at East High in Rochester, N.Y., who projects to play receiver in college, was the first of the nine high school seniors committed to UConn to come out and say he needs to re-examine his pledge to the Huskies.
“I didn’t decommit, I just started talking to more colleges, now,” Noye told the Newark Star-Ledger.
Leicester (Mass.) linebacker Tom Rodrick told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, “I’m still committed to UConn. We’ll see who they hire.”
Suffield Academy running back Brice McAllister and Kent School offensive lineman Trey Rutherford are not Connecticut natives, but do attend prep schools in the state.
Rutherford, a native of Stouffville, Ontario, is still considered to be solidly committed to the Huskies.
“Trey is still committed to UConn and it is expected that UConn is still committed to Trey,” Kent coach Todd Marble said.
In addition to the eight current commits are five players who either signed or committed to the program but delayed their arrivals due to either academics or the desire for additional development.
Three of those players headed to Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. — tight end Jordan Fuchs, defensive back Jamar Summers and offensive lineman Chasz Wright.
Fuchs, a former football and basketball star at Christ the King in Middle Village, N.Y., left Milford Academy after recording 10 catches in the first three games. Fuchs was a full qualifier coming out of Christ the King, so he can still enroll at UConn in January.
Milford Academy coach Bill Chaplick was uncertain about what was going to happen with Fuchs, but said Summers and Wright are still committed to UConn.
“They still want to go to UConn and nothing has changed,” Chaplick said.
Considering the struggles of the offensive line and the fact that three starters are seniors, losing offensive line commitments could be crushing for the Huskies. Rutherford, Wright and Lamont Bradford out of Timber Creek High in Sicklerville, N.J., give the Huskies a solid base for the future if they all follow through on their pledges to play at UConn.
“(Wright) is drawing a lot of attention,” Chaplick said. “They are going to have to recruit him. UConn is going to have to really stay with him because every week he gets better.”