UB announces 21 recruits on National Signing Day
The Bulls gain promising new players for the 2015 season
Wednesday officially began the new era of Buffalo football, according to head coach Lance Leipold.
Leipold announced the Bulls’ 2015 recruiting class Wednesday, which was National Signing Day – when high school football players sign a letter of intent for the university of their choice. The Bulls landed 21 recruits, including five defensive linemen, three safeties, three cornerbacks, three wide receivers, two offensive linemen, two tight ends, a quarterback and a running back. The Bulls also recruited Emmanuel Reed, who will be used at various positions.
“This is a very exciting day for our program as we head into the new era of Bulls football,” Leipold said.
Leipold and his new staff were not able to recruit many of their own players, as they did not join the Bulls until late in the recruiting process. Leipold said they were able to keep the majority of their prior commitments who were originally recruited by former Bulls head coach Jeff Quinn.
Leipold praised associate head coach and wide receivers coach Rob Ianello for his efforts as a transition advisor who worked “the organizational end.” Ianello is also Buffalo’s recruiting coordinator.
Leipold also praised Buffalo staff members who worked under Quinn and stayed on, like running backs coach Matt Simon, who assisted him in flying back and forth to Buffalo in December.
Leipold would not say how many players were originally recruited by Quinn.
Leipold’s first recruiting class as Buffalo head coach focused on bolstering the defense. Leipold and his coaching staff made an effort to find players to fit the new 3-2-5 system.
“With the 3-2-5 concept, the linebackers and safeties vary,” Leipold said. “That will be an evaluation process that will continue throughout the spring as we go along. We needed a starting point, and one of the things that we needed besides defensive tackles were the defensive ends who can hold the edge, as well as get to the passer.”
Leipold said the reason there are no linebackers in the recruiting class is because the Bulls wanted to find help for the defensive line.
The Bulls ended up with five recruits on the defensive line – three for the interior and two on the outside, including defensive end Torey Hendrick who declined offers from Iowa and Kansas.
The 6-foot-4 junior transferred from ASA University in Brooklyn, New York after two seasons. He recorded 52 tackles and 10 sacks while forcing four fumbles for the Avengers.
While at Kansas, Ianello tried recruiting Hedrick. Hendrick signed with Iowa, but Leipold said that “didn’t work out and now he’s here.”
“When Torey became on our radar, he became vital for us and the finishing touches of this class,” Leipold said.
Also joining Hendrick on the defensive line is defensive end Charles Harris from Southfield, Michigan. Harris was ranked as the 23rd best prospect in Michigan, according to The Detroit Free Press.
The Bulls graduated three starting offensive linemen, including Andre Davis, Jake Silas and Trevor Sales, but the recruiting class only saw two incoming offensive lineman: junior college signee Roubbens Joseph from Hudson Valley Community College and freshman Evin Ksiezarczyk from local high school West Seneca East.
Leipold said he expects Joseph to be an immediate benefit to the program.
“As a junior college kid, we think that he can provide instant depth inside,” Leipold said. “As for Evin, it was very important for us to get him here to Buffalo. He received a fare amount of attention from competitors so we made sure to secure him. Our offensive line coach is excited to work with both of them.”
Junior quarterbacks Joe Licata and Tony Daniel are entering their final year of college eligibility.
Enter Tyree Jackson.
Jackson – a 6-foot-4 recruit out of Norton Shores, Michigan – received offers from Mid-American Conference rivals Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan, before signing with the Bulls. He was originally a recruit of former head coach Jeff Quinn, but decided to stay with Buffalo despite the coaching change.
And Leipold is happy with his decision after viewing’s Jackson’s game tape.
“Jackson appears to be a multi-dimensional quarterback that everyone looks for these days,” Leipold said. “He’s tall, he’s rangy and he got ability to create plays with his arms and his legs. We have a great senior quarterback in place. That will allow Tyree the time to grow and mature into the position.”
Leipold and the staff hope to have found the next Branden Oliver, James Starks or possibly Khalil Mack.
“Again, it was all about the quality of the players, this university, this area, and your commitment to being here,” Leipold said. “I told every player that they’re a part of a special class – one that elevates the program to where we want to be on a consistent basis.”