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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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UB football lands highest-ranked recruiting class in program history

Maurice Linguist takes advantage of national reach and Power Five ties

UB head coach Maurice Linguist gestures toward his players during an October game against Western Michigan.
UB head coach Maurice Linguist gestures toward his players during an October game against Western Michigan.

On Wednesday, UB football head coach Maurice Linguist announced the addition of 10 high school and junior college transfers to his 2022 recruiting class, making it the most decorated class in program history.

The 2022 class is the highest-ranked overall class in program history, ranking first in the MAC and No. 66 in the country, according to 247Sports. The class features 24 total players — 10 transfers, seven high schoolers, five junior college transfers and two prep school products.

Linguist said UB was “strategic” in terms of identifying talent and recruiting across the country, whether that be through the high school, junior college or transfer ranks.

The Bulls were able to bring in two of the top five recruits in UB history in athlete Devin Grant and cornerback Jayden Oliver. But Linguist and his staff also hauled in 10 transfers, six of whom are transferring in from Power Five programs. 

More than 20 Bulls entered the transfer portal following the 2021 season, making it particularly important that Linguist fill those holes. With an emphasis on reloading talent, Linguist and his staff were able to bring in Power Five names like wide receivers Jalen “Boobie” Curry (Arizona) and Justin Marshall (Louisville), quarterback Cole Snyder (Rutgers), safety Jahmin Muse (Boston College) and cornerbacks Caleb Offord (Notre Dame) and Elijah Blades (Florida). Linguist is using his nationwide connections — he’s coached at Power Five programs such as Iowa State, Mississippi State, Minnesota and Texas A&M — and recruiting prowess to bring experienced talent to UB.

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Offensive guard Bence Polgar (74) celebrates after a UB touchdown last season.

“We feel we’re taking advantage of the rules in a healthy way,” Linguist said Wednesday afternoon on a Zoom call with local media. “It’s like anything else, you have to keep pace with the changing landscape and body that’s going on right now and we were very systematic and strategic in terms of how we added the right guys to our roster.”

The MAC’s No. 1 overall class features talent from across the country, with recruits from as far west as California and as far south as Florida.

Oliver, a Riverview, FL native and one of the two top-ranked recruits in the historic class, turned down offers from in-state programs such as Florida Atlantic and Florida International to come to UB.

Fort Valley, GA native Keyshawn Cobb made a similar decision when offers from nearby Arkansas State, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee State and UTEP came in the mail. Of the 19 offers the 13th-ranked junior college safety in the nation received, 15 were from southern schools. Cobb still elected to accept an offer from Buffalo.

The Bulls were also able to sign 6-foot-3, 275 lb. defensive lineman Jaylon Bass. The Alabama product who played junior college ball at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas picked UB over soon-to-be Power Five Houston, Arkansas State and in-state Troy. 

“It’s a big-time recruiting win for us to be able to go down to the south into an area where people think that you can’t recruit because you’re in Buffalo and then go out and beat everybody in that world,” Linguist said. “We feel like our reach to be able to go really anywhere in the U.S. and go get guys, we feel strongly about that.”

But Linguist was quick to mention the Bulls “start at home” when it comes to recruiting. And for UB, home is the state of New York. 

That’s what Linguist attributes for being able to sign a pair of Western New York natives in former Rutgers quarterback Cole Snyder and three-star wide receiver Nikolas McMillan to a National Letter of Intent.

Grant, the top-ranked recruit in the Bulls’ class and the second-highest recruit in school history, is a New York native who “had Rutgers letters all over his bed” when Linguist came to his house on a home visit.

The Holy Cross high school product chose UB over FCS giant James Madison and New York schools like Army, Fordham and Albany.

By bringing in recruits from across the country and taking full advantage of the transfer portal, UB’s top-ranked recruiting class should position Linguist’s staff for a successful offseason and improved results in 2022.

“We feel like we have a healthy balance and a good mix of seniority and experience and some youth with playmaking ability,” Linguist said. “Now what we have to do is decide who we’re going to be and how we’re going to do everything in terms of forming our identity throughout spring and putting the right people in the right position. That’s what we’re doing right now.”

Linguist said spring practices will begin on Tuesday, Mar. 29 with the intrasquad UB spring game set for Saturday, April 30. 

The Bulls’ entire 2022 recruiting class can be found here.

Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor and can be reached at and @DeCicco42 on Twitter

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Anthony DeCicco is the Editor-in-Chief of The Spectrum. His words have appeared in outlets such as SLAM Magazine In 2020, he was awarded First Prize for Sports Column Writing at the Society of Professional Journalists' Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards. In his free time, he can be found watching ‘90s Knicks games and reading NFL Mock Drafts at 3 a.m. 



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