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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    UConn’s Murawski, who played at T-More, staying upbeat while recovering from shoulder injury

    UConn offensive lineman Ben Murawski, who starred at St. Thomas More, is recovering from shoulder surgery and sidelined from spring practice, expects to be healthy this fall. (Gavin Keefe/The Day)
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    Storrs — Freshman Ben Murawski is in good spirits despite dealing with some tough luck.

    Since arriving at UConn for preseason football camp late last summer, he’s torn his labrum in his left shoulder and then his right one roughly seven months apart.

    Sure, it’s been tough to be sidelined not once but twice with an injury as a freshman.

    But the former St. Thomas More standout is focused on building toward a comeback.

    “I’m very happy with the way everything is going,” Murawski said. “I’m just continuing to get stronger and continuing to build the muscle that I need to come back.”

    Murawski, a 6-foot-6, 328-pound offensive lineman, answered questions after watching UConn spring practice on Saturday.

    Nearby, Nick Charlton, assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, chatted with the media. He looked over at Murawski, who’s wearing a sling.

    “Ben needs to get healthy and then Ben will probably play here,” Charlton said in Murawski’s direction. “Love you, Ben.”

    Then Charlton continued.

    “Ben is awesome. I see him every day. He’s a really hard worker. … After this (injury), I think he’ll be good. He’s a helluva player. He really is. Especially at his size, the way he moves. He’s definitely going to play here. It’s just a matter of time when he’s ready to do that. We’ve got to get him healthy right now, that’s the premium for him.”

    Murawski’s football journey started back in his hometown of Harleysville, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. He was a two-sport athlete, also playing basketball.

    He made the decision to finish his high school career at St. Thomas More where he was a three-year varsity starter and a team captain.

    St. Thomas More prepared him for the next step in his football and academic career, according to Murawski, who earned second team all-state honors as a senior.

    When UConn showed interest, he jumped at the chance to play for coach Jim Mora.

    “Coach Mora coached in the NFL and has a ton of experience,” Murawski said. “That’s what I really wanted to go into, getting coached by an NFL guy and him telling me what I need to do to work through that path.”

    But the injury bug bit Murawski during training camp last fall. He tore his left labrum and underwent surgery.

    After healing and returning to action for spring practice, he needed surgery again after tearing his right labrum.

    “It is very frustrating,” Murawski said. “I was just getting active. I was just getting reps with the (second team) and trying to work my way up to the (first team). Then this had to happen. I took another step back.”

    Murawski is trying to take advantage of his time on the sideline.

    He’s fully engaged during practice, picking up things from watching his teammates. He takes pride in being part of an offensive line group that is considered a team strength.

    “Everything has been great,” Murawski said. “The O line has worked really well together. We have meetings every day. Best group on the field, in my opinion. The competition is very high. Everybody wants their spot. And they know that they’re all going to have to go out and earn it.”

    Murawski also had learned a great deal while sitting out.

    “It’s really taught me everything,” Murawski said. “It’s taught me patience. It’s taught me accountability, just getting here on time and still being a part of the team and not letting the injury take over your life. Just being in meetings on time, getting to treatment on time and getting what you need to get done.”

    His goal is to return for preseason camp in August. He hopes to compete for playing time this fall.

    The UConn football program is on the rise. The Huskies are looking to build on last season’s 6-7 record and first bowl appearance in seven years.

    They’ve moved on from last year’s Husky Revolution rallying cry. Now they’re all about The Reload.

    “I’m very excited to be part of a program that’s on the rise,” Murawski said. “This reload is going to be incredible. Everybody is going to be excited to watch it.”

    g.keefe@theday.com

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