According to an email from Canisius High School assistant football coach and spokesman Bryce Hopkins, three-time All-Western New York first team linebacker Brad Zaffram has received an offer from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Zaffram, a senior, is expected to make an official visit to UTEP this weekend. National signing day is Feb. 4 as that is the first day of the period in which athletes can ink Division I letters of intent for football. Athletes can sign from Feb. 4 to April 1.
UTEP is the first Division I-A school to offer Zaffram.
Zaffram was having arguably his best season and was in the mix for News Player of the Year until he was suspended for the playoffs by Canisius for what it termed violation of school rules. Sources said it was a cheating allegation, which scared off some interested Division I programs.
Will this offer cause others to come out of the wood work? Maybe, maybe not.
Zaffram still finished with the most tackles on the Crusaders even though he only played nine games. He finished with 91 tackles, including 19 for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
He transferred to Canisius from Sweet Home following his sophomore year and helped the Crusaders to two Monsignor Martin championships by being the middle linebacker of one of the most feared defensive units in the state. Canisius yielded roughly 140 yards per game during that time en route to a 21-2 record. He helped the Crusaders to wins over powerful teams from Ohio and Pennsylvania. He also played big in games against St. Joe's during his time at the school.
Some information about UTEP. The Miners are members of Conference USA and are coached by Lockport native and former Buffalo Bills assistant Sean Kugler.
Kugler just completed his second season with UTEP, guiding the Miners to the New Mexico Bowl, where they dropped a 21-6 decision to Utah State.
Kugler isn't the only Buffalo connection to UTEP as Zaffram's former Canisius teammate Augie Touris is a freshman defensive end with the program. Touris graduated from Canisius in 2013.
Meanwhile, the other big name on Canisius' defense, News Player of the Year TJ Wheatley, missed last Saturday's heavyweight basketball game between the Crusaders and McKinley because he made his official visit to Alabama. He has already visited USC and plans to make a visit to UCLA this weekend and Oregon next weekend.