Lance Leipold did a bunch of late spring and early summer recruiting to bolster the University at Buffalo football roster for the 2016 season.
Freshman running back Theo Anderson of Largo, Fla., was the most high-profile addition. He’s the second three-star freshman back recruited by UB this year, joining Georgian Kamerion Pickett.
Leipold so far has added six players in all, five of them junior college transfers. That brings to 10 the total of junior college additions this recruiting class. Leipold expects several other additions to be finalized by the start of training camp.
The additions compensate for some departures. Sophomore receiver Brandon Smiley, the former Sweet Home High star, decided to leave the program. Smiley caught six passes as a true freshman last season.
“He told us he had lost his passion to play college football – at this time – and asked for his release,” Leipold said.
Two other somewhat prominent young players are out. UB lost sophomore safety Brandon Stanback, who opted to move closer to home and transferred to Duquesne. He was expected to see time as a backup this season. The Bulls also lost starting guard Andy Fidler, a sophomore, to back surgery. He’s out for the year.
Other changes: D.J. Vokolek, assistant head coach and safeties coach, resigned to move back to his home in Missouri. He will be replaced by Taiwo Onatolu, who played at Nebraska-Omaha when Leipold worked there in the late 1990s. Leipold also hired former Eastern Michigan defensive coordinator Brad McCaslin as defensive assistant and director of player personnel.
Here’s a rundown on the new additions:
• Anderson, RB: He’s a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder who got his qualifying college test scores late in his senior year. He was rated the No. 85 RB in the nation by 247Sports. (Pickett, one of the top signees in February, was rated No. 95.) Anderson had offers from Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida and Temple, among others.
“Some Power Five schools spoke very highly of him,” said Leipold. “He gives us a bigger back.”
• Wes Scott, DE: He’s a 6-4, 273-pound end from Mount San Antonio JC in California. He’s from Murrieta, Ca., southeast of Los Angeles. He had 10 sacks over the past two seasons.
• Tatum Slack, CB: A 5-11, 190-pounder who played one year at Coffey (Ca.) College and also hails from the L.A. area. He has three years of eligibility. He had four starts and two interceptions last season. He also reportedly had offers from Central Florida, Louisiana-Lafayette and Northern Colorado. He had been recruited out of high school by Washington State, Hawaii, Utah and Colorado State but qualified late in his senior year and those schools had moved on.
• Drew Anderson, QB: A 6-4 product of Pleasant Valley, Calif., he spent one year as a walk-on redshirt at San Diego State, Then he transferred to Diablo Valley (Calif.) College and last year passed for 346 yards a game with 33 TDs and 15 interceptions. As a high school senior, he passed for 4,074 yards and 47 TDs and made all-league in football, basketball and baseball. UB needed a QB, too, after the April transfer of sophomore Chris Merchant to a Canadian college. UB now has four scholarship QBs.
• Brad Rowland, OT: At 6-4, 335, he brings the size Leipold likes at tackle and gives UB more insurance for injuries, which was needed. He has three years of eligibility.
• David Goldsby, OT. A 6-5 St. Louis native comes to UB after two seasons at Ellsworth (Iowa) CC.
Others who left the program from last year are running back Gary Hosey, linebacker Will White and sophomore defensive tackle Gusty Schwartzmeier. Recruit O.J. O’Neal, a safety, opted to return home and not join UB. Senior safety Houston Glass is out for the year due to injury and his career is over.