There’s probably no player on the University at Buffalo football team more eager to get the season started than new starting left tackle Jacquis Webb.
Webb has not played a real game since the fall of 2013 when he was a senior at Gates-Chili High School, just west of Rochester.
He earned a scholarship to Rutgers University and sat out as a redshirt in 2014. He was active but didn’t play a down in 2015. He transferred to UB last summer and sat out the 2016 season.
“It’s definitely been a long time coming,” Webb said after Thursday’s practice at UB Stadium. “I’m starting to see the light finally this spring. I can’t wait for the fall. I’m very excited.”
So are the Bulls. Webb is a Big Ten-caliber talent who looks like he will be a cornerstone of the UB offensive line.
The 6-foot-6, 344-pounder will be impossible to miss protecting the blindside of quarterback Tyree Jackson when UB holds its annual Blue & White Scrimmage at 7 p.m. Friday at UB Stadium. Admission is free.
“He’s a big body with good feet for a man that size,” said UB coach Lance Leipold. “I really think he has a chance to help this football team.”
Webb was rated the No. 8 prospect in New York State coming out of Gates-Chili. The coach who recruited him to Rutgers, Kyle Flood, was fired after the 2015 season. Webb was working with the Scarlet Knights’ second-team offensive line a year ago and decided to transfer after Rutgers’ spring game.
Webb had been recruited by UB coming out of high school and one of his Gates-Chili teammates, Marcus McGill, was a starting senior receiver for UB last season.
“Coach Flood and I had a really good relationship, and it was a comfort factor for me,” Webb said. “And I wanted to be closer to my mom. . . . I talked to my parents about it. I was home in May for a couple weeks and got in contact with Marcus McGill.”
Leipold said Webb dove into his responsibilities as a scout-team player last season without acting like a big-timer.
“Sometimes you worry as a coach when you come from a Power 5 school, what’s he expecting,” Leipold said. “But he accepted it. He took another year of scout team and worked at it hard last year.”
“I never really had a big head about being in the Big 10 or being at Rutgers,” Webb said. “It was a great experience, but I’m very happy to be in the MAC and happy to be in Buffalo.”
Webb said three years of practice have allowed him to hone his blocking technique.
“When I first got to college I always wanted to work on my run blocking,” he said. “I feel like once I got to Rutgers we were running so much I was able to get it down. Now I have more of an emphasis on pass blocking now that I’m at Buffalo.”
With Webb joining four returning starters on the offensive line, the front five should be a strength for UB. Plus, the Bulls have another prominent transfer, Paul Nosworthy from Grambling, who is going to push hard for playing time.
Webb has looked smooth in pass-protection all spring.
“Technique-wise, he’s not bad,” Leipold said. “It’s a matter of being consistent. We have to keep a good eye on weight, so that he’s able to stay at a weight where he’s able to play at his optimal level. That way he’ll be able to block the speed he’s going to see on the outside.”
The Blue & White Scrimmage will be full tackling, except the quarterbacks will be off limits. It will last about 100 plays. No score will be kept because with true freshmen not yet enrolled, there aren’t enough players to adequately run two full squads against each other. The offense will run series from deep it its own territory, from midfield and from inside the red zone.