It didn’t take long for Randy Edsall to spark another controversy after arriving back at UConn.
The Huskies once and future coach, hired after the team dispatched Bob Diaco, officially pulled a scholarship offer to Raritan (N.J.) linebacker Ryan Dickens just moments after the senior received an award for his athletic, academic and community excellence, per NJ.com. The move has stunned the star and his family, which had anticipated and planned for Dickens’ future in Storrs since he committed to the school in June.
“The kid’s world went into disarray,” Raritan coach Anthony Petruzzi told NJ.com. “We’re just trying to pick up the ashes right now and find the best way to move forward.
“Ryan stuck by them through their turmoil and their regime change, and now in a crucial moment they’ve decided to let him go. He’s having a hard time right now realizing that the last seven months of preparation is not going to see itself out. He’s devastated. But he’s a tough kid. He got knocked down today but he’s going to get up tomorrow and realize his dream.”
To call Edsall’s move unseemly would be an understatement, yet we’ve been here before. When he was coach at Maryland, Edsall famously pulled a scholarship offer to Ocean Lakes star Demetri McGill from Virginia Beach less than a month before National Signing Day. McGill eventually landed at East Carolina, where he completed his senior season in 2016.
For Dickens and his family, the hardest thing to believe in the aftermath of Edsall’s decision was how cool and calculated the UConn coach sounded on the phone. For a grown man to crush the dreams of a well-meaning teenager in one fell swoop, without a second thought, that’s hard to swallow.
“This is a great kid who does everything right,” Patti Dickens, Ryan’s mother, told NJ.com. “He’s an honor-roll student. He runs a charity. He’s in a suicide prevention leadership role. He plays football at a top level. Like, everything right. And this guy broke him. It just blows my mind that a guy can take the wind out of your sails just with no regret. Nothing.”
As for where Dickens goes from here, much is still to be determined. The senior reportedly received a new scholarship offer Tuesday morning from Rhode Island, an FCS school. His 247 Sports profile also claims an offer from Cornell, where he may academically qualify due to his straight-A GPA and test scores. UConn was apparently his only FBS scholarship offer.
That may still change before National Signing Day, in which case Dickens will end up at a program that both truly wants and deserves him. If not Edsall is sure to be branded as the heel yet again. Many would say he deserves to be already.