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UB's deep defensive line gets deeper with Nebraska transfer

The University at Buffalo’s deep defensive line got a little deeper Wednesday.

The Bulls added defensive end Joe Keels to the roster. He’s a senior graduate student who transferred from the University of Nebraska.

Keels, 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, sat out last season with a shoulder injury but is fully healthy now. He saw limited duty in five games for the Cornhuskers in 2014. Before that he played at Highland (Kansas) Community College. He was ranked as one of the top five junior college defensive linemen by 247 Sports and chose Nebraska over Wisconsin.

He was recruited to Nebraska by former head coach Bo Pelini, who was replaced by Mike Riley in 2015. He’s a native of Kenosha, Wisc., and UB coach Lance Leipold and his staff was familiar with him.

“We knew Joe was part of the Bo Pelini coaching staff,” said UB coach Lance Leipold. “He battled some injuries . . . His high school coach knows Andy Kotelnicki well. He felt this was a place to inquire about.”

Kotelnicki is UB’s offensive coordinator. Kells graduated with a degree in sociology, which makes him eligible immediately. He’s more of a strong-side end than a pure edge rusher.

“It gives us another big, athletic body,” Leipold said. “He’s a good player. We’ve had depth, but we’ve had trouble keeping everybody off the injury report, so if you can get someone to add to your program, add depth, and hopefully get snaps too, it’s all good.”

Kells is the third graduate student transfer for UB this season, joining QB Grant Rohach and defensive tackle Remaine Douglas.

QB report: It was another competent day for Rohach and Tyree Jackson, neither of whom has endured a shaky day in training camp. Jackson beat a blitz with a deep sideline completion to receiver Kamathi Holsey, a junior college transfer. Rohach found a hole in the zone defense along the sideline for a 25-yard gain to Mikel DeMonte. In red zone work Rohach found a tight window for a 5-yard TD pass to Jamarl Eiland. Then Jackson showed good patience in waiting for tight end Tyler Mabry to break open in the corner of the end zone for a TD. Jackson hit DeMonte deep in the 11-on-11 session. True freshman Dominic Johnson had the prettiest deep completion, when he beat the blitz to find freshman Tito Overton down the right sideline.

Run game: The veteran defensive line again asserted itself, looking good in one-on-one pass-rush drills. Senior Brandon Crawford was in top form, and Douglas had a couple clean wins. However, the offensive lines rebounded a big in the red-zone run game. Senior starter Jordan Johnson got the edge for a 6-yard TD run. No. 3 back Zach Nicholas crashed the middle for a 6-yard TD. No. 2 back Jonathan Hawkins had a good gainer between the tackles. Sophomore defensive end Charles Harris collapsed the pocket on two of the final four scrimmage plays.

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