Marquise Doherty highlights.
We're "just real happy" that our very own Josh Lester has been drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 13th round of the 2015 Draft. Lester led the team in home runs and RBIs and was also in the top rankings among all other offensive categories. This is the second time Lester has been drafted, following his pick to the Cleveland Indians his senior year of high school. Congratulations to @jblester17!
It's Preview Season
The Middle of the Defense is Solid: Connecticut's got its own little mini version of Kentrell Brothers and Michael Scherer in Vann and Stewart. Vann put in his time before earning a starting spot last year and made it pay off, eclipsing 10 tackles on three separate occasions. Stewart was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Durham, Conn., and signed with Florida before transferring back up north after not seeing much time as a true freshman. He also had three games with double-digit tackles last year. They need to find a middle linebacker to sandwich between them -- redshirt freshman Junior Joseph filled in last year after junior Jefferson Ashiru left the team -- but the linebacking corps should be a strength from a defense that actually wasn't terrible last season. The Huskies return all four of their leading tacklers from last year: Vann, Stewart and safeties Andrew Adams and Obi Melifonwu.
If the running game catches hold, then there's possible for improvement into the 90s or so on offense, and if the run defense improves as I expect, then maybe the defense will creep back into the 50s or 60s in Def. S&P+. Average that out, and maybe this becomes a top-80 team.
But that's too big a leap to count on, especially considering how bad the offense has been for going on five years now. The odds are much better than UConn improves to around 100th, and while that's something you can build off of, it won't result in many 2015 wins, not with only four opponents who ranked worse than 73rd last year.
The throwers start today
Thursday's competition will be highlighted by the Tiger women, with seniors Katrine Haarklau, Kearsten Peoples, and Jill Rushin all lining up for their last NCAA Championship meet. Peoples will be first up in the hammer at 1:30 p.m. PT. She enters the competition with the fifth-best throw in the NCAA this season after she tossed a school record mark of 66.17m (217-1) at the Tom Botts Invitational in Columbia.
Haarklau will be up next in the pole vault at 4:45 p.m. PT, taking to the runway for the first time since her exciting performance at the West Preliminary Round two weeks ago. Haarklau entered the competition in Austin, Tx., with a season's best jump of 4.05m (13-3.50) and, rising to the occasion, improved upon that bar to mark in at 4.24m (13-11), good for 11th in the region and a qualification into this week's meet. This is the third consecutive year for Haarklau at the national championships, and she enters with two All-American honors already under her belt.
Without some attrition...
...the 2016 recruiting class is just about done. Of course, there's always attrition.