UConn Huskies Top NFL Prospects for 2012 and Beyond


Special thanks to Ethan Hammerman, Sports Director for WBRU Radio and Feature Writer for ScarDraft who provided his analysis of the Connecticut Huskies’ top NFL Draft prospects for this year and beyond this year.

UConn is primarily known for its basketball program, but over the last few years, they have shown that they can be one of the nation’s top football programs. Their recruiting has gotten much, much better, and they are now putting out NFL talent like never before. Even though the Big East is not known for its football prowess, the Huskies are an improving program with some serious talent. Hammerman gives us a fan’s eye view of that talent, giving you the best reports possible from those who see these players on a weekly basis.

99 Kendall Reyes, DT – If there is one player that you should know on UCONN’s team next year, it’s the burly defensive tackle from New Hampshire. Reyes, at 6 foot 4, 298 pounds, has experience at both defensive end and defensive tackle. As a Husky, he has started for each of the past two years, and was named to the Big East All-Conference First Team last year after racking up 13.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, as well as 2 interceptions, one of which resulted in a 90 yard return. Reyes is a stalwart against the run and the pass, plays with good technique and has 3-4 versatility at defensive end, though he would probably be suited best in a 4-3 defense. I think that Reyes has a second round ceiling as a draft pick, though he could go a bit higher with a dominant senior year. I am excited to see how he adjusts to a new, more pressure-oriented defensive scheme.

4 Twyon Martin, DT – The funny thing about Martin is that, among UCONN fans, he is often considered the more athletic of the two defensive tackles. He has started for three years and, at 6 foot 2 and tipping the scales at 292 pounds, has emerged as a penetrator and a dynamo for this UCONN defense.  After earning four sacks in 2009, Martin racked up another three this past season, and also registered five tackles for loss. Considering the conservative scheme that past defensive coordinator Todd Orlando played in Storrs, these numbers are not so paltry. He consistently flashed his athleticism in whatever role he played, and seems like an intriguing prospect in a more pressure-oriented system. This year with Don Brown could do him wonders. Martin will probably run as fast a 40 time as Reyes will at the Combine: if he does, I could forsee a team like Philadelphia or Carolina take a chance on him in the third round. His unbiased ceiling, however, is probably a fourth.

71 Mike Ryan, OT – Ryan is an absolute mammoth at 6 foot 5, 333 pounds. He is not unathletic at right tackle, but he is probably destined for that position in the pros. Ryan is a devastating run blocker and works hard in the pass game, albeit often isolated against top pass rushers. He seems to be a safe mid-round selection at this point in time, but I’m not sure if I see the left tackle upside there. Jordan Todman loved running behind him in the past, and he definitely has a place in the pros; probably as a mid-round pick rather than on Day 2, but still, he could be a sleeper to start.

57 Moe Petrus, C – Petrus is an older player at 25 years of age, but he is certainly experienced. He has started every single game of his UCONN career and has emerged as one of the top centers in the nation. He can pull, he is athletic at 6 foot 2, 292 pounds, and he also has the functional strength to push back big defensive tackles at the point of attack. Moe is more talented than his brother, Mitch, who went in the fifth round of the 2010 draft to the New York Giants. He is a high-character guy, a team leader who would be an absolutely perfect fit in New England or New York. I see him as a mid-third to early-fourth round pick.

82 Kashif Moore, WR – Moore is a victim of circumstance in Storrs. Whenever he has been given an opportunity to make plays, he has done so with aplomb, including a sensational one-handed catch for a touchdown against South Carolina in the 2010 Papa John’s.com Bowl. However, due to the lackluster quarterback play at Connecticut over the past few years, Moore has been unable to emerge and showcase his true potential. At 5 foot 9, 180 pounds, Moore is dynamic and averaged 12.6 yards per catch last year, a number that would have been even better had a capable quarterback consistently held the reins behind center. At least twice a game, he would streak open downfield just to have Zach Frazer, Cody Endres or Mike Box overthrow him. I think Moore will run around a 4.45 40, and he is a team leader with slot receiver versatility. He strikes me as a similar prospect to Antonio Brown or Kealoha Pilares, and I would snag him in the sixth or seventh round as a flyer pick. He has high character as well: he held Jasper Howard in his arms as the cornerback passed away due to the October 2009 stabbing, and emerged from that incident as a mature and charismatic team leader.

5 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB – Now we’re getting to two of my favorite underclassmen. Wreh-Wilson, at 6 feet 1 inch, 190 pounds, has been playing football for all of two years. He came to Connecticut as a soccer player and has developed well over the past two seasons. This past year, Wilson racked up four interceptions and even returned two of them for touchdowns. He has shown the capability to play bump-and-run, and although he is still learning the nuances to his game, I expect him to take a large step forward next year. Landry Jones essentially avoided him in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, so teams recognize the force he is on the field; now, only time will tell if he can continue that momentum. If he decides to declare for next year he would probably be a third round pick, but I could see him developing into a first rounder in due time. He has a rare combination of athleticism and size that is not often seen at the position.

46 Sio Moore, ILB – Sio Moore may be my favorite Husky. At 6 foot 1, 230 pounds, Moore came into last season as a backup to Eagles 7th round draft pick Greg Lloyd at middle linebacker. However, injuries let Moore get an opportunity to shine, and he has yet to take his foot off the gas pedal. In eight games started, he racked up 110 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and an interception. He played his best on the biggest stages, making 17 stops in the huge win over West Virginia and 10 plays against South Florida, UCONN’s Big East finale. I think that Moore will run around a 4.65 to 4.7 40, but his game speed is better than his track speed. He may be a bit undervalued in this year’s crop of middle linebackers, but remember the name. He could be a first or second round pick in two years.

Another big thanks to Ethan for providing this excellent analysis!