Bulls’ recruit rankings familiar, but do they matter?
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • February 07, 2013 @ 10:33am
Poor national evaluations of the University at Buffalo’s football recruiting classes are nothing new. In 2013, however, the signings for Jeff Quinn’s Bulls were picked 123rd out of 123 Division I schools by Rivals.com.
Fortunately, there are several reasons to merely shrug your shoulders at the rankings and press forward if you’re UB. Over the last five years, the Bulls have an average ranking of 114, and the team’s overall progress was enough to warrant a contract extension for Quinn, a signal—presumably, at least—that the program is headed in the right direction.
Buffalo only graduates 12 seniors, and the major losses will be felt on the defensive side of the ball, as regular contributors Steven Means, Wyatt Cahill, Willie Moseley, Dalonte Wallace and Scott Pettigrew have all exhausted their eligibility. It makes sense, then, that 11 of Quinn’s 18 recruits will bolster the defense, and that’s assuming that neither of the two “athletes” are converted to the opposite side of the ball.
For a full list of UB’s signings, visit BuffaloBulls.com for names and details.
The Buffalo News’ Bob DiCesare makes a fair point in his article recapping the 2013 class:
it’s commonplace knowledge that programs in the non-major conferences recruit more with an eye on development than instant impact. Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack was lightly regarded out of high school and has a chance to go in the early rounds of the 2014 NFL draft. And former record-setting UB running back James Starks of Niagara Falls, now with the Green Bay Packers, had no offers out of high school except for UB.
The Wall Street Journal passes along an Associated Press report on UB’s 2013 class, which highlights JUCO transfers Tedroy Lynch and Blake Bean as potential early contributors as arriving upperclassmen.
According to ESPN’s recruiting database, UB was linked to several high-profile names either through an offer, visit or other level of interest, including seven four-star recruits and dozens of three-stars. Buffalo has never signed a four-star recruit to the program.
Rivals’ rankings are quite arbitrary regardless. Back in 2006, UB produced its most highly-rated recruiting class—No. 80—in 2006, when the Bulls signed two three-star recruits in Tom Drewes and Brian Kelly. It’s okay if you don’t recall either name, because their impact didn’t match their expectations.
The recruit I’m most excited about is three-star (5.5) wide receiver Jamarl Eiland, who’s Buffalo’s top-rated signing. Although he committed last August, Eiland has the opportunity to step into a receiving corps that desperately lacked a No. 2 option last year behind the exceptional Alex Neutz. Fred Lee filled that void after returning from a long-term injury, but he’ll graduate after next season.
Sure, Eiland is just 5’11, 175 pounds, and he’ll most likely convert to wide receiver from quarterback, his position at Plymouth High School in Michigan. From the quintet of reserve wide-outs that includes Devon Hughes, Ron Willoughby, Rudy Johnson, Cordero Dixon and John Dunmore, not one has separated himself from the pack, though Hughes and Dunmore have had promising outings.
As a whole, there’s not much reason to fret over Rivals rankings, even though it would be heartening to see the Bulls’ class topping at least MAC minnows Akron and Eastern Michigan. Plus, on an even lighter note, Buffalo may boast the coolest recruiting names among mid-majors: Blake Bean, Corbin Grassman, Boise Ross and Houston Glass.
For more in-depth analysis on UB’s recruit, head over to Tim Riordan’s blog over at Bull Run.
Here’s the Signing Day Special from WBBZ:
(Photos courtesy of Don Nieman from UB vs. Kent State from last year— full gallery here).