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Iowa State transfer gives UB 3-way QB battle; Bulls announce 8 mid-year signees

The University at Buffalo has signed Iowa State transfer quarterback Grant Rohach, which means the race to succeed Joe Licata will be a three-way battle, not a two-way competition.

Rohach joins UB with one year of eligibility remaining and will be eligible immediately because he is enrolling as a graduate student. He spent last season as the third-string QB at Iowa State. He brings a veteran presence to next spring’s QB competition and will vie for the starting job with 6-foot-5 Tyree Jackson and 6-2 Chris Merchant. Jackson will be a red-shirt freshman next season. Merchant will be a sophomore.

Meanwhile, UB announced the signing of seven other players who will enroll in school in January and will be eligible immediately.

They include linebacker Khalil Hodge from San Francisco Community College and guard Connor Morehart of Nassau Community College, both of whom will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Hodge could play inside or outside linebacker, positions of need because UB graduates starting middle linebacker Nick Gilbo and starting weak-side linebacker Okezie Alozie. He’s a 6-2, 240-pounder from Stockton, Calif., and also had an offer from Idaho.

Morehart, 6-4 and 315, joins an uncertain UB cast at guard. He also had offers from Illinois, Southern Mississippi, Akron and Georgia State, according to Rivals.com. He’s from the Reading, Pa.

Also joining the Bulls are: guard Alex Curts (6-3, 254) of Mount Vernon (Ohio) High School; guard Tomas Jack-Kurdyla (6-4, 295) of Vanier College in Quebec; safety O.J. O’Neal (6-2, 190) of Hinds (Miss.) Community College; safety Tim Roberts (6-2, 105) of Fullerton (Calif.) College; and cornerback Levarious Varnado (5-9, 175) of Itawamba (Miss.) Community College.

Rohach, 6-2 and 217, was a three-star recruit out of high school for Iowa State. He played in seven games and started four in the 2013 season for the Cyclones. He had back-to-back 300-yard games in wins over West Virginia and Kansas and passed for 1,208 yards and eight touchdowns. He engineered the biggest comeback in Iowa State history in the West Virginia game, bringing the Cyclones back from a 24-point deficit to win in triple overtime, 52-44. But Robach lost the competition for the starting job entering the next season, and he did not attempt a pass in 2015.

“It’s really about playing for me, and that is what I want to do,” Rohach told the Ames (Iowa) Tribune last month. “I don’t think my chances are very good at Iowa State and so yeah, just kind of a decision I had made for me and my family, what was best for me and I think finding a new place will get me the best opportunity.”

“We're proud that we had so many players play with their degrees in the fall and others that graduated in December. But it left us depleted in some areas and very young at others,” Leipold said. “By enrolling in January, these new players will help us in spring ball and create competition and depth. We felt it was important to get guys in here for development purposes and we're excited to have them.”

Curts and Jack-Kurdyla will have four years of eligibility at UB. The other junior college recruits – Varnado, Roberts and O’Neal – have two years of eligibility.

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