Summer football camps were often utilized to give players the proper fundamentals to improve their game, but nowadays have become a significant recruiting tool.
So when more than 150 prospects on Sunday attended the University at Buffalo's Jr./Sr. Camp at UB Stadium, first-year coach Jeff Quinn and his staff didn't leave any stones unturned when it came time to pitch UB.
Quite a few recruits liked what they heard, including Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 6-foot-1 250-pound defensive end Patrick Williams of University School of Nova Southeastern, who gave the staff a verbal commitment on Sunday.
"I was going to wait but I might as well say it, I'm coming to Buffalo," said Williams, an Army All-American Bowl nominee whose high school teammate, cornerback Dwellie Striggles, will be a true freshman at UB. "A lot of people from Fort Lauderdale don't know about Buffalo but it's a good school with a great staff. My major is going to be international business and Buffalo has one of the top business programs in the country."
The commitment from Williams is yet another indication that Quinn and his staff, led by recruiting coordinator Ernest Jones, are upping the ante in terms of the quality athletes recruited by UB. Williams is the third prospect who has given a verbal to the Bulls after offensive linemen John Kling of Depew and Jesse Back of LaSalle High in Cincinnati.
Williams drew interest from Florida State, Alabama, Michigan and Syracuse, among others.
Local prospects at the camp were quarterbacks Joe Licata of Williamsville South and Travis Eman of Canisius, wide receiver Glenn Gronkowski of Williamsville North and Niagara Falls High athlete Dale Stewart, the younger brother of former UB tailback James Starks.
Licata will choose between UB and Akron, while Eman has offers from UB and TCU. UB and Kansas State have offered Gronkowski, who is waiting for an offer next week from Boston College, while Stewart has an offer from UB.
"With only two offers right now, it would be great to come here," Gronkowski said. "It would be close to home and it would be a great place to play because these coaches are awesome. Obviously they're all winners coming from Cincinnati, especially coach Quinn with his offense. It's unbelievable."
In-state prospects included defensive end Joe Felicia from Marcellus and defensive back Nick Carroll from Haverling Central in Bath. Felicia has offers from UB, Bowling Green and Temple, while UB has already offered Carroll.
UB already has offered a scholarship to quarterback Tony Daniel from Douglasville, Ga., who is also being recruited by Illinois, Western Kentucky, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee State. Another camper was defensive back Alex Avant from Atlanta who is also being recruited by Kent State.
The players seemed to enjoy the smaller setting at UB because they had more one-on-one time with the coaches.
"Instruction-wise, this has been the best camp that I've been to," Daniel said. "The reps here were probably as good as I've seen. I like it a lot. This place is awesome and the people here are upbeat and want what's best for you. They run the spread, which is a quarterback's dream to throw the ball 80 times a game."