Craig Bruno watched prized pupil Marcus Easley head to UConn with no guarantees as a preferred walk-on 10 years ago, only to leave the Huskies as an NFL prospect.
Bryan Coney, the leading receiver on Bruno’s Naugatuck High team which qualified for the CIAC Class L-Large playoffs, has decided to follow the same path.
The 6-foot-3 Coney, who had 52 catches for 1,171 yards and 20 touchdown receptions as a senior, went to UConn’s camp last year and has been on the radar of the coaching staff since.
“I took a little while to decide and then I talked to my family and decided the other day that it is the best decision for me,” said Coney, who is taking an official visit to UConn next week. “I called my recruiting coordinator Coach (Josh) Reardon and told them I wanted to commit. I talked to him, Coach (Wayne) Lineburg, the receivers coach, and made the decision that I want to go to UConn.
“I am really excited because I love it up there, I’ve loved UConn ever since I was a kid in basketball and football so I just feel like it is a great opportunity.”
In Bob Diaco’s brief time at UConn he has shown the willingness to give scholarships to hard-working walk-ons, which only made Coney’s decision that much easier.
“They really made it a point of saying that there was a chance that I could earn a scholarship,” Coney said. “I talked to him (Bob Diaco) a couple of times, that once you get there it is not about whether you are on scholarship or not, but if you are working hard and you are proving yourself, you are going to get a spot and get a chance to play. I want to work hard, I want to play for UConn, so I think it is going to work out well.”
Bruno didn’t want to burden Coney with added pressure by comparing him to Easley, whose 893 receiving yards as a senior still ranks 12th in program history. But Bruno does love Coney’s potential.
“They are both great kids, both hard workers,” Bruno said. “It’s tough to put those kinds of expectations on him, Marcus is doing very well in the NFL right now, but there definitely are similarities, they are both great players.”
UConn is also expressing interest in Hartford Public senior offensive lineman Brian Coleman.