What if you were the starting quarterback on a Division-I football team?
What if your success garnered attention from NFL scouts?
Would you made the jump from the NCAA to the NFL, knowing you could never turn back?
That was a decision former UB football star Tyree Jackson made before he missed the cut on the Buffalo Bills’ final roster.
Tyree spent the past three years as starting quarterback for the Bulls where he was able to put up 6,999 passing yards, 49 touchdowns and had a 55.8% pass completion rate. He also added 757 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns to his credit.
This all culminated with last years season, winning a UB record 10 games before heading to the MAC championship and the Dollar General Bowl.
After the season, Tyree entered the transfer portal –– which allows players to transfer to a different college to play –– but he ultimately decided he was better off skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft.
I knew then and there that this was a mistake on Tyree’s part.
UB is not known for developing quarterbacks. Historically, Bulls quarterbacks have been on NFL regular season rosters for a grand total of three days (Drew Willy with the Indianapolis Colts in 2009).
Lower-year quarterbacks who enter the draft don’t do as well as quarterbacks who stay for their senior season.
Tyree was one of three quarterbacks who declared for the draft early this year, alongside Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins. Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel both entered the draft after their sophomore seasons. Manziel is no longer in the NFL after his two seasons in the league and Winston is currently fighting to keep his job –– with rumors circulating that he needs to do well this season or he will be replaced.
In this decade alone, six quarterbacks who left before their senior seasons and were drafted in the first two rounds didn’t live up to the hype. Blaine Gabbert, Jimmy Clausen, Robert Griffin III, Brock Osweiler, Blake Bortles and Paxton Lynch have all been flashes in the pan.
There are some exceptions to this, though –– Teddy Bridgewater, Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson all have been pretty good for their teams. The jury is still out on Sam Darnold since he has only played one season.
UB QBs don’t have a lot going for them after college. They can be signed for preseason rosters, but after teams need to make cuts it usually means they’ve lost their spot on the team.
Unfortunately Tyree won’t be returnung to the Bills this season. He did work out for the Detroit Lions last week, but the Lions ultimately decided against signing him to a contract.
If we are going off his last season spent at UB, Tyree essentially didn’t perform at all.
Looking back, this isn’t all on him, but going 10 for 24 in the Army game with the potential to rank you for the first time in school history, is not promising.
Then against Ohio, where a victory would clinch the MAC East and a spot in the championship game, when you go 9 for 21 with two interceptions and get benched, things are going downhill.
In the MAC championship, Tyree played great for three quarters but eventually allowed Northern Illinois to come back and win. No one can know for sure what happened, but spectators were left watching someone who did not resemble a Division I star.
The Dollar General Bowl was not bad, aside from an interception and two fumbles. But that should have showed Tyree that he wasn’t ready to leave Buffalo yet.
These are all things staying in the NCAA another year could’ve fixed.
Tyree’s best chance to make it in the NFL would have been transferring to another school.
He could have followed K.J. Osborn and went to Miami. He could have replaced Will Grier at West Virginia. There are a lot of places that could have helped him, and in return, Tyree could have helped whatever team he chose to win games.
But instead, he took himself to the NFL and still hasn’t secured the bag.
Unless the drastic circumstances necessary to open a roster spot happen, things aare not looking good for Tyree Jackson.
Opinion desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.