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UB's Tyree Jackson, Anthony Johnson officially get NFL scouting combine invitations

Western New York will be represented at the NFL scouting combine later this month in Indianapolis.

The complete list of 328 players invited to the event was published Thursday and includes University at Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson and wide receiver Anthony Johnson. It's the first time in the Football Bowl Subdivision era (dating to 1999) that UB has had two players receive combine invites, and believed to be the first time in program history.

Additionally, Niagara Falls native and Canisius High School product Qadree Ollison, a running back for Pitt, also received an invitation.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his first positional rankings of draft season this week, and has Jackson ranked eighth among quarterbacks and Johnson ninth among wide receivers. Ollison is not included in Kiper's top 10 running backs.

The website ranks Jackson as the No. 11 quarterback in the 2019 class, projecting him to be taken in the fifth or sixth round. The website ranks Johnson No. 22 among receivers, and projected him to be drafted in the fifth or sixth round like Jackson. Ollison is the No. 23 running back in the rankings, and is projected to be drafted in the seventh round or be a priority free-agent signing.

Jackson is one of 17 quarterbacks to receive an invitation. Another is Oklahoma's Kyler Murray, who is wrestling with the decision to pursue a professional career in football or baseball.

Johnson is one of 48 wide receivers — a position that is expected to interest the Buffalo Bills — who will take part in the combine. Among the perceived top receivers in the class are Ole Miss' D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown, Arizona State's N'Keal Harry, Oklahoma's Marquise Brown and Ohio State's Parris Campbell.

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Ollison is one of 27 running backs to receive an invitation. The 6-foot-1, 232-pounder had a strong senior season for the Panthers despite splitting carries with Darrin Hall. Ollison earned second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors after rushing for 1,213 yards and 11 touchdowns on 194 carries (6.3 yards per rush) in 14 starts.

Another position the Bills may keep a close eye on is tight end. A larger than usual number of 21 players at the position received a combine invite, which speaks to the strength of this year's class.

A notable snub on the invite list is UB linebacker Khalil Hodge, who participated in the East-West Shrine Game last month. That doesn't mean Hodge's NFL chances are done, though. Every year, about 15 percent of the players drafted did not receive combine invitations. There are some notable names on that list, too, including Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman.

Schools with the most combine invites were the usual suspects: Alabama and Clemson had 11, Ohio State had 10 and Georgia had nine. The Southeastern Conference led the way with 90 invitations, followed by the Big Ten (53) and ACC (46).

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