Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Good news, Connecticut fans: Your team will not be shut out on signing day next February.
We're joking, of course, but Huskies fans were getting a little nervous about their team's lack of commitments for the 2010 season. UConn was the last team in the Big East to secure one, at least that everyone knows about, this summer.
But that ended today, according to the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner. Linebacker Yawin Smallwood gave his verbal pledge to Randy Edsall's staff this morning. Smallwood played quarterback and strong safety last year for Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, Mass.
"I came up on the strong side and blitzed a lot," Smallwood told Conner. "UConn recruited me as linebacker. This year, to get ready for that, I'm getting moved to middle linebacker."
UMass had offered a scholarship, and Boston College was showing interest. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Smallwood got a decent grade from our own Scouts Inc.
"Smallwood is an impressive athlete from a physical standpoint and has a lot of raw tools to mold and develop at the next level. A bit raw from a fundamental standpoint but is a good athlete doubling as productive running back and linebacker. "
As I've written here before, I don't worry about Edsall's recruiting. He goes about things a little differently and doesn't seem all that concerned with star ratings and everybody else's opinions of players. But he continually finds diamonds in the rough and sculpts them into key contributors. Just look at this year's NFL draft for proof.
Now that UConn is on the board, here's the number of known commitments for each Big East school, according to Scouts Inc.
• Cincinnati: 12
• West Virginia: 11
• Pittsburgh: 10
• Louisville: 5
• Syracuse: 6 (Though the Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting two more commitments for the Orange this afternoon)
• Rutgers: 5
• South Florida: 2
• Connecticut: 1
Take these with a grain of salt. Last year at this time everyone was praising Rutgers for all of its early commitments, and then several of those prospects decommitted throughout the fall. The only real numbers that matter will be the ones reported next February.