Central Connecticut State was in the middle of the pack in Northeast Conference play this fall–but it would like to be where Duquesne was: Conference champions, FCS Playoff bound.
To get there, it starts with recruiting–and over the weekend the Blue Devils kicked things off by landing their first recruit. He’s the first known QB commitment in the NEC, 6-foot-2, 185-pound dual-threat stud Carlton Aiken. Cornell and New Hampshire would have liked to have landed him, but the upbeat and friendly Aiken is stoked about trying to help CCSU reach the FCS Playoffs during his tenure, and that will require an NEC title for the automatic bid.
In his past two prep seasons at Paulsboro (N.J.), Aiken has thrown for more than 3,500 yards and 32 TDs, while rushing for more than 1,000 yards and 22 scores. All recruiting classes start with the QB, and the Blue Devils now have their man.
“What won me over is where the program is going,” Aiken told HERO Sports. “Ever since coach (Pete) Rossomando has been there, the program has been on the up and up. More wins each season. I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of the ‘change’ in the program … I definitely can’t wait to get coached by (assistant) Coach (Ryan) McCarthy. I saw down with him and went over some route concepts, pass protections and reading defenses. Me and Coach Mac see eye to eye. It’s going to be exciting. The staff hasn’t really talked to me yet about recruiting others, but as a QB of course I want the best of the best around me, so I’m sending them some film of the top athletes I know.
“If I know we have offered somebody, I’m going to try to get them to go on a visit or commit.”
One target for sure is 6-foot-5 wide receiver Michael Stapert in New Jersey. Aiken said he’s going to work hard to try to get Stapert to become a Blue Devil.
The Blue Devils are continuing to improve after five straight losing seasons. They did have a patch from 2004-2010 where they didn’t have a losing season, winning 9 games in 2009. Aiken wants to see that happen, and he wants to compete for conference titles. And the school has had NFL talent, too. In the late 1980s DE Joe Costello played for 4 years for the Atlanta Falcons.
“I think there are some good teams in the NEC that I will be facing,” he said. “Last year we went 3-3 in the NEC. We were right in the mix of things. That’s why I think we have a shot of winning the NEC and I think the NEC gets slept on. When people think of the top (FCS) teams in the east they think of CAA teams, but there are good teams in the NEC … I’m excited to be able to play D-I football. The FCS is starting to get after these FBS schools.”