NAUGATUCK — Bryan Coney has made it official. The Naugatuck senior wide receiver committed to play football at the University of Connecticut in the fall.
“I attended a summer camp at UConn and got to meet the coaches and felt very comfortable there,” said Coney explaining his decision.
Coney set school records with 81 career catches, 2,171 yards and 33 touchdowns. The 2013 All-State player hauled in 52 catches for 1,171 yards and 20 touchdowns in his senior year and helped Naugatuck to a 19-5 record over the past two seasons.
Coney will go to UConn as a preferred walk-on, much like Marcus Easley did 10 years ago. Easley was a fourth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2010 and is now in his fourth season in the NFL.
Coney and Easley have another thing in common — their high school head coach. Craig Bruno coached Easley at Bunnell and has coached Coney at Naugatuck for the past two seasons.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Bryan,” Bruno said. “This is a great opportunity for him as well as his family and he is such an awesome kid. I see a lot of big things ahead for him.”
“I think this speaks a lot about the Naugatuck football program,” Bruno continued. “These kids now see that anything is possible with hard work and commitment. Very proud of Bryan and this is so exciting for his family.”
As a preferred walk-on, Coney has made the team but will not receive a scholarship. He knows that if he works hard a scholarship isn’t out of his reach.
“I have been in contact with the coaching staff at UConn and they came to scout my game against Holy Cross,” Coney said. “They are well aware of my capabilities and if I work hard I can earn a scholarship.”
Coney expects to red shirt his first year to learn the playbook and the college game.
“Academically I feel I can meet the obligation and it’s just a matter of learning the game at the college level,” he said.
Bruno has no doubt that Coney will take full advantage of this opportunity.
“Basically, the sky is the limit,” Bruno said. “He knows the work that’s ahead of him and he is the kind of kid that is willing to put in the work to make the most out of this opportunity.”
There were some other choices out there for Coney, with Central Connecticut, Sacred Heart and Wagner College expressing interest with scholarship money on the table. But Coney felt playing close to home and for a team the caliber of UConn was the best choice for him and his family.
“I have always been a big UConn fan in football and basketball,” Coney said. “Now to be a part of that is very humbling. I just need to stay focused, work hard, not only on the field but in the classroom, and I will have the opportunity to be part of something special.”