It was a simple transaction, but it created a firestorm.
New UConn football coach Randy Edsall was in the headlines again on Tuesday when word filtered out that the Huskies had pulled a scholarship offer from a recruit who had verbally agreed to come to UConn last summer.
The twitter world when viral with moral indignation about how Edsall was destroying the dream of a deserving athlete.
Let's cut to the chase on this one very quickly.
First, former UConn coach Bob Diaco offered the scholarship to Ryan Dickens, a 6-foot-2 inch 210 pound linebacker from Raritan, New Jersey, not Edsall.
Diaco was fired last month for a variety of reasons, including a lack of enough talent to compete.
In Diaco's world, Dickens may have been the right player for UConn, which was the only scholarship offer Dickens received from the other schools--Rhode Island, Cornell and Monmouth--who expressed an interest.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
And let's also get real here. Dickens was not a 4-star recruit. He was a two-star recruit, rated the 173rd best outside linebacker in the country, and 53rd in New Jersey. He was not highly recruited.
He loved UConn because they were the only school to offer him a scholarship. So it is hardly shocking that when Diaco was fired, Dickens said he was sticking with the Huskies simply because there were no other places to go.
The harsh reality is that UConn is playing Big Boy football--compared to what Cornell, Monmouth and URI do at the FCS level.
The nice thing to do, of course, would be for Edsall to honor the commitment, but that doesn't win games if the player doesn't fit the system. This is not flag or intramural football.
Edsall could have honored the scholarship, with the understanding that Dickens did not fit in with the Huskies plans. But UConn was a 3-9 team, not a 9-3 team. The Huskies need help now with players that can contribute immediately.
Edsall's new defensive coordinator Billy Crocker came to UConn from Villanova. He also recruited New Jersey and was aware of what Dickens could and could not do. He DIDN'T recruit him at Villanova, which is an FCS school.
When he came to UConn, he talked to Edsall and it was determined that Dickens would not be a good fit for the system and the level of competition UConn was playing.
Still, it is always a tough call to make. Edsall made it and explained that with the change in systems and coaches, UConn was going in another direction.
Dickens was devastated. So was his family. But stuff happens. Again, Edsall could have honored the scholarship and then a year from now, Dickens probably would have been talking about transferring because he wasn't getting playing time.
Players do that all the time. They also walk away from verbal commitments if better offers arrive before national letter of intent day, which is always the first Wednesday in February.
Does anyone really believe that if a Power 5 school such as Rutgers or BC had made an offer to Dickens that he would probably be headed to a different school?
Dickens searched and URI offered a scholarship, so chances are he will be going to the Rams, rather than the Huskies. He will have a better chance of playing sooner.
It will work out. And why isn't Dickens calling Diaco, who was just hired as the new defensive coordinator at Nebraska? Or why isn't Diaco calling Dickens?
In the final analysis this is a better situation for both UConn and for Ryan Dickens, who by every indication is a great kid, with ambitions to play college football.
That can still happen. Just not at UConn and spare us the criticism of Edsall for being the heartless ogre.
The same critics who are ripping Edsall now, would be criticizing him next fall if Dickens turned out to be a bust as a recruit.
Edsall did the right thing-for UConn and for Ryan Dickens.[/membership]