BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Joe Andreessen established his Division I football credentials and NFL prospect status during a standout career at Bryant University. Now he is eager for a victory lap season in his hometown.

The linebacker from Lancaster High who was selected to the FCS All-America second team by The Associated Press earlier this week announced he will be joining University at Buffalo next season as a graduate transfer.

“I’m super pumped,” said Andreessen, back home on the Lancaster border in Depew, getting ready to run with the Bulls. “It doesn’t get any better than being able to play my last year 15 minutes away from home, where all my family and a lot of friends can come watch me play.”

“But my biggest thing is that I want to help UB win a championship,” Andreesseen added. “Being around that atmosphere on campus when I visited last weekend, watching them practice to get ready for the Camellia Bowl they have coming up, I can tell this program is ready to take the next step. I love the coaches, and the vibe in practice, you can tell this team is jelling and working toward a common goal. That was big for me, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

The 6-foot-1, 232-pound Andreessen had a stellar senior year for Bryant, battling back from ankle, knee and shoulder injuries that limited him over the previous seasons. Becoming the fifth Bulldog to achieve AP All-America status, Andreessen also was named Big South Defensive Player of the Year by Phil Steele Magazine after he set a school record with 116 tackles in 11 games. He ranked second in the FCS with 77 solo stops, more than any FBS linebacker besides new UB teammate Shaun Dolac, the West Seneca East graduate who leads the nation with 90.

“You can’t really ask for a better situation as a linebacker,” Andreessen said. “If I’m able to earn that spot, that’s the kind of guy you want to be playing next to. I’m really looking forward to playing with Shaun, and to pick his brain. He can make me a better player, and I can push him to be better. Hopefully we can have some friendly competition.”

Andreessen attracted professional scouts to Bryant’s campus in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He could’ve entered this coming spring’s draft, but Andreessen and his advisors decided that playing one year at the FBS level would enhance his pro prospects.

Bryant was the only D-I football program to offer a scholarship to Andreessen after a senior season at Lancaster in which he an NUC All-American, Defensive Player of the Year in Western New York, Connolly Cup nominee, and a repeat all-state selection for the back-to-back Section VI Class AA champion Legends.

While he lamented the close losses during a 4-7 senior year, Andreessen appreciated the opportunity to develop and showcase his game at Bryant.

“Getting that full college football experience,” Andreessen said. “I made a lot of friends here that opened me up to the world, and made a lot of connections. We had a lot of talent, and I definitely wish our record would have showed that a little more. But this year, it was the first time since my sophomore year I didn’t have any injuries coming in. I was able to play at a high level and put some good film together.”

“I’m excited for this year at UB,” Andreessen concluded. “When I look back on my journey, I laugh a little bit. I didn’t get a lot of interest coming out of high school. To be able to come to Bryant and put in the years that I have, now I’m excited to go to FBS. But I still have that chip on my shoulder.”

FCS AP All-America team

FIRST TEAM

Offense

Quarterback — Lindsey Scott, seventh-year, Incarnate Word.

Running backs — Jaleel McLaughlin, fifth-year, Youngstown State; Geno Hess, fifth-year, Southeast Missouri State. 

Offensive linemen — Cody Mauch, sixth-year, North Dakota State; Garret Greenfield, fifth-year, South Dakota State; Mason McCormick, fifth-year, South Dakota State; Colby Sorsdal, fifth-year, William & Mary; Nash Jensen, sixth-year, North Dakota State.

Tight end — Ryan Miller, fifth-year, Furman.

Wide receivers — Hayden Hatten, fourth-year, Idaho; Fotis Kokosioulis, fifth-year, Fordham; Xavier Gipson, fourth-year, Stephen F. Austin.

All-purpose player — Dylan Laube, fifth-year, New Hampshire.

Kicker — Skyler Davis, fifth-year, Elon.

Defense

Linemen — David Walker, third-year, Central Arkansas; Spencer Waege, sixth-year, North Dakota State; Jay Person, fifth-year, Chattanooga; Caleb Sanders, fifth-year, South Dakota State. 

Linebackers — Zeke Vandenburgh, sixth-year, Illinois State; John Pius, third-year, William & Mary; Johnny Buchanan, fifth-year, Delaware.

Defensive backs — Marte Mapu, sixth-year, Sacramento State; Alijah Huzzie, fourth-year, East Tennessee State; Marcus Hillman, fifth-year, Elon; Robby Hauck, fifth-year, Montana; Khalil Baker, third-year, North Carolina Central.

Punter — Jake Gerardi, third-year, Southern Utah.

SECOND TEAM

Offense

Quarterback — Tim DeMorat, fifth-year, Fordham 

Running backs — Jaden Shirden, fourth-year, Monmouth; Ulonzo Gilliam, sixth-year, UC Davis.

Offensive linemen — McClendon Curtis, sixth-year, Chattanooga; Mark Evans II, fifth-year, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; Ryan Coll, , Richmond; Nick Amoah, , UC Davis; Brandon Weldon, sixth-year, Sacramento State.

Tight end — Martin Marshel, fourth-year, Sacramento State.

Wide receivers — Andrei Iosivas, fifth-year, Princeton; Joey Hobert, third-year, Utah Tech; Xavier Smith, fifth-year, Florida A&M.

All-purpose player — Hunter Luepke, fifth-year, North Dakota State.

Kicker — Matthew Cook, fourth-year, Northern Iowa.

Defense

Linemen — Ty French, third-year, Gardner-Webb; Malik Hamm, fifth-year, Lafayette; Devonnsha Maxwell, sixth-year, Chattanooga; Josiah Silver, second-year, Delaware. 

Linebackers — Joe Andreessen, fifth-year, Bryant; BJ Davis, fourth-year, South Carolina State; Aubrey Miller Jr., fifth-year, Jackson State.

Defensive backs — Justin Ford, fifth-year, Montana; Kameron Brown, fourth-year, Chattanooga; Maxwell Anderson, fourth-year, Weber State; Eddie Heckard, sixth-year, Weber State; Luke Glenna, fifth-year, St. Thomas.

Punter — Patrick Rohrbach, first-year, Montana.

THIRD TEAM

Offense

Quarterback — Michael Hiers, fifth-year, Samford. 

Running backs — ShunDerrick Powell, second-year, North Alabama; Cameron Skattebo, third-year, Sacramento State.

Offensive linemen — Jackson Slater, second-year, Sacramento State; Luke Newman, third-year, Holy Cross; Anderson Tomlin, fifth-year, Furman; Caleb Johnson, fifth-year, Incarnate Word; Tyler Brown, fourth-year, Jackson State.

Tight end — Tucker Kraft, fourth-year, South Dakota State.

Wide receivers — Taylor Grimes, fourth-year, Incarnate Word; Darion Chafin, fifth-year, Incarnate Word; Joshua Tomas, fifth-year, Georgetown.

All-purpose player — Devron Harper, fifth-year, Mercer.

Kicker — Richard McCollum, fifth-year, Western Carolina.

Defense

Linemen — Jake Heimlicher, fifth-year, Penn; Dylan Ruiz, second-year, New Hampshire; Truman Jones, fifth-year, Harvard; Brody Grebe, second-year, Montana State. 

Linebackers — John Ford II, sixth-year, Tennessee-Martin; Kelechi Anyalebechi, fifth-year, Incarnate Word; Stone Snyder, fourth-year, VMI.

Defensive backs — Kedrick Whitehead, fifth-year, Delaware; Michael Tutsie, sixth-year, North Dakota State; Rassie Littlejohn, fourth-year, Stetson; Benny Sapp III, fifth-year, Northern Iowa; Demetries Ford, fourth-year, Austin Peay.

Punter — Grant Burkett, fourth-year, Missouri State.

***

Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.