Sophomore receiver Brandon Smiley and safeties coach D.J. Vokolek were among the departures from the University at Buffalo football program this summer.
Smiley, a 6-foot-1 sophomore from Sweet Home High School, decided he did not want to play football this season and was granted his release from the program, UB coach Lance Leipold said. Smiley did well enough last season to see playing time as a true freshman. The former first-team All-Western New Yorker caught six passes for 42 yards for the season.
“He told us he had lost his passion to play college football - at this time – and asked for his release,” UB coach Lance Leipold said.
Vokolek, who also held the title of assistant head coach, is resigning for personal reasons to move back with his family in Missouri. Vokolek was among the first hires by Lance Leipold when the latter took the UB job in December 2014. Vokolek came to UB after nine seasons at Missouri State. He worked with Leipold at Nebraska-Omaha from 1997 to 2000.
Vokolek’s spot on the staff will be taken by Taiwo Onatolu, who gets promoted from director of player personnel and will coach cornerbacks. Onatolu played at Nebraska-Omaha under Leipold. UB defensive coordinator Brian Borland doubled as cornerbacks coach last year. He will take over safeties this year. Leipold also hired former Eastern Michigan defensive coordinator Brad McCaslin as defensive assistant and director of player personnel.
Meanwhile, UB suffered a key injury loss. Sophomore guard Andy Fidler, who started last season, had back surgery and is out for the year.
Besides Smiley, the other most prominent departure from the roster since spring practice in April was sophomore safety Brandon Stanback. He transferred to Duquesne, which is closer to his Harrisburg, Pa., home. Stanback had a promising freshman year, starting four games.
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.