Here’s a list of freshmen who could make an immediate impact in their first seasons in a UConn uniform:
Aubrey Griffin, Women’s Basketball
After another heart-wrenching elimination and the departure of seniors Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, many thought this season would be a rebuilding year in Storrs. Instead, head coach Geno Auriemma reloaded in a major way, securing two top recruits and a pair of talented grad transfers. Griffin, an Ossining, N.Y. product, was a 2019 McDonald’s All-American and ESPN’s No. 33 recruit in the country. A 6-foot-1 guard and prolific scorer, Griffin will likely see some immediate minutes in the UConn backcourt, and could provide some offensive firepower off the bench.
McKenna Sergi, Field Hockey
A midfielder from Greene, N.Y., Sergi was a MAX top-50 recruit before committing to UConn in November. One of nine incoming freshmen to Nancy Steven’s squad, Sergi was a three-sport athlete in high school, notching 40 goals and 35 assists. She was named to her conference First Team twice and was a two-time all-state selection. Entering a program where a four-loss season is considered a down year, Sergi will hope to contribute to a bounce-back season in Storrs this year.
James Bouknight, Men’s Basketball
There’s plenty of reason for optimism for Dan Hurley’s squad this year. Between Bouknight, Jalen Gaffney and redshirt freshman Akok Akok, the Huskies have three incoming freshmen in ESPN’s Top 100. Bouknight, a four-star 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Brooklyn, is an electric all-around contributor who can score and distribute with ease. The departure of Jalen Adams leaves a sizable void in the backcourt, and though Christian Vital and Alterique Gilbert will absorb some of those minutes, there will be significant opportunities for Bouknight and Gaffney to make an impact.
Eric Watts, Football
The good news for the UConn football defense is that there’s nowhere to go but up. Coming off one of the worst defensive seasons in FBS history, fans have been desperately hoping for some fresh names to emerge in training camp. One such name has been Eric Watts, a Sumter, S.C. native who has excelled in the defensive end/linebacker hybrid role within defensive coordinator Lou Spanos’s scheme. Watts has earned plentiful reps with the first team, and if he’s ultimately named a starter, he could provide a pass rusher that the UConn defense so badly needs.
Reggie Crawford, Baseball
Given UConn’s geography and former facilities, it’s a wonder how head coach Jim Penders recruited so many top-tier players. Now, with a brand new stadium on the way, Penders has plenty to show off to new recruits. Crawford, one such UConn commit, is a lefthanded pitcher from North Schuylkill, PA. Ranked within the top 25 LHPs in the country according to Perfect Game, in June, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals. Though no official announcement has been made regarding his plans for the upcoming season, Crawford would surely have a chance to take the mound as a freshman and be a difference-maker for the Huskies.
Andrew Morrison is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.