BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Mr. Football from the state of Ohio and Mr. Everything from the state champion Bennett Tigers highlighted the initial signees for University at Buffalo’s 2023 recruiting haul.
“We feel like it’s a phenomenal class,” UB’s second-year coach Maurice Linguist said Wednesday about the 20 players the Bulls landed on the first day of the early National Signing Period. “We feel like these are the guys that are foundational pieces that we can continue to put ourselves in postseason play and win championships with.”
Running back Lamar Sperling is the most touted player in UB’s recruiting class after he set OHSAA records with 3,984 yards rushing and 59 touchdowns in his senior season for Archbishop Hoban in Akron, Ohio. In six playoff games, the 2022 Ohio Mr. Football had 1,781 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns.
“This kind had SEC offers coming in toward the end of this thing,” Linguist said. “Uber-productive player.”
The top local recruit is defensive back Jayden Lewis from NYSPHSAA Class AA champion Bennett. Lewis amassed 138 tackles, 19 interceptions and 11 defensive touchdowns over the past two seasons, playing cornerback, safety and linebacker. Offensively, he totaled 2,111 yards and 26 touchdowns, while also being the Tigers punter.
“There’s a production factor where we feel really strongly about guys being able to dominate the competition,” Linguist said. “When guys dominate, wherever they are, and they have certain things that they have proven that they can do extremely well, it’s a good metric to use that translates.”
Linguist, a noted recruiter before and during his tenure at UB, put the finishing touches on this class while preparing the Bulls (6-6) to face Georgia Southern (6-6) in the Camellia Bowl on Tuesday in Montgomery, Alabama.
UB will bolster its recruiting class in the coming days, Linguist said, along with the February signing period, and via the transfer portal.
Among the early transfer portal additions is linebacker Joe Andreessen, a Lancaster graduate who was an FCS All-American for Bryant University. The Bulls also landed Nick Beans, a three-year starting center for Notre Dame College (Division II), and signed six junior college players.
The initial 20 recruits come from 10 different states — New York, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Oklahoma, Kansas, Virginia, and Michigan — as well as Canada. The positional breakdown is: four offensive linemen, three running backs, two wide receivers, two tight ends, two linebackers, two defensive ends, a quarterback, safety, cornerback, defensive tackle and one athlete whose position has not yet been determined.
A dozen of the 20 players signed Wednesday will enroll at UB in January.
Here is a capsule look at the recruiting class from UBBulls.com.
Depew, NY/Lancaster HS/Bryant
Local product who is transferring back home after spending five seasons at Bryant… earned All-America honors after setting a school record with 116 tackles in 2022… finished his career at Bryan third in career tackles with 256… ranked eight in FCS in 2022, averaging 10.5 tackles per game… was a two-year starter at Lancaster High School where he was a two-time All-State linebacker… had 118 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks his senior season.
Akron, OH/Manchester HS/Notre Dame College
Transfer from Notre Dame College where he was a three-year starter at center… a three-time All-MEC First Team selection… named All-Super Region 1 in 2022… part of a program that went 35-9 in his time there.
St. Louis, MO/Affton HS/Iowa Western
Offensive lineman transfer from Iowa Western where he was a first-team All-American… helped lead the Reivers to the 2022 National Championship… a graduate of Affton High School in St. Louis where he was an All-District selection.
Suwanee, GA/Collins Hill HS
A two-time first-team All-State linebacker from Collins Hill High School in Georgia… had 123 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 11 sacks his senior season.
Dual-threat quarterback from Hopewell High School in Virginia… threw for 1,312 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior… selected to play in the Big River Rivalry All-Star Game.
Miami, FL/Northwestern HS
Running back from Northwestern High School in Miami… rushed for 818 yards while averaging 7.1 yards per carry over his career… scored 10 rushing touchdowns and 18 total touchdowns… though his senior season was shortened due to an injury, still averaged 16.4 yards per carry over six games.
Claremore, OK/Claremore/Hutchinson CC
Transfer from Hutchinson Community College where he was a JUCO All-American as a running back… rushed for 1,090 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2022… had his best game against Butler when he rushed for 230 yards and three touchdowns… was named the KJCCC Offensive Player of the Year… a graduate of Claremore High School in Oklahoma when he was selected to play in the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association All-State Game… played primarily wide receiver for the Zebras and had 57 receptions for 937 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior.
Forest, MS/Forest HS/East Mississippi CC
Defensive end who transferred from East Mississippi Community College… over two seasons with the Lions, had 74 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles… a graduate of Forest High School where he was a 3A All-State Second Team selection.
Montreal, Quebec/Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School
From Canada but played linebacker and tight end at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Georgia… an All-Conference selection… as a senior had 48 tackles, two sacks and eight tackles for loss… as a tight end, had seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Columbia, MS/West Lowndes/Jones College
Transfer from Jones College where he was an All-MACCC Honorable Mention selection… totaled 63 catches for 702 yards and five touchdowns in his time with the Bobcats… a graduate of West Lowndes High School in Mississippi… had 600 receiving yards and 499 rushing yards over 10 games his senior season.
Arkansas City, KS/Arkansas City/Coffeyville College
Tight end transfer from Coffeyville Community College… totaled 13 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns… averaged 11.1 yards per catch… graduate of Arkansas City High School in Kansas where he was an All-League selection.
Oxford, MI/Oxford HS/Fork Union Military Academy
Tight end who prepped at Fork Union Military Academy… a versatile player, he was a standout defensive end at Fork Union where he had 11 sacks, five tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries, a safety and a defensive touchdown in helping the Blue Devils to a 7-2 record… a graduate of Oxford High School in Michigan where he was an All-League selection.
Staten Island, NY/Monsignor Farrell HS
All-league running back from Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island…as a junior, despite missing the first four games with an injury, still rushed for 986 yards and 15 touchdowns… named CHSFL All-League.
West Point, MS/West Point/NW Mississippi CC
Offensive lineman who transferred from Northwest Mississippi Community College… was an All-Region selection in 2022 and helped the Rangers finish third in the final JUCO rankings… a graduate of West Point High School in West Point, MS… represented Mississippi in the Mississippi/Alabama Football All-Star Classic following his senior campaign…also chosen 5A All-State first team offensive lineman by the Mississippi Association of Coaches after his senior season.
Leesburg, GA/Lee County
Wide receiver from Lee County High School in Georgia where he was a three-year starter… had 172 receptions for 2,566 yards and 24 touchdowns over his career.
Buffalo, NY/Bennett HS
Local product who did a little bit of everything for Bennett High School in helping the Tigers win the 2022 State Championship… named the 2022 Buffalo News Co-Player of the Year… as a senior, rushed for 857 yards and 10 touchdowns and had 605 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns… on defense, had 64 tackles and seven interceptions.
Kennesaw, GA/North Cobb HS
Cornerback from North Cobb High School in Georgia… was a first-team All-Region selection… had 70 tackles, five tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, an interception and eight pass breakups his senior season.
Brampton, ON/Williston Northhampton School
From Canada but played defensive tackle at Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts… an All-NEPSAC selection.
Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban
Running back from Archbishop Hoban High School where he was named 2022 Ohio Mr. Football… broke the single-season OHSAA record by rushing for 3,984 yards and 59 touchdowns his senior season… he rushed for 1,781 yards and 26 touchdowns on 192 carries in six playoff games alone… named Northeast Inland District Offensive Player of the Year… named Cleveland.com Offensive Player of the Year.
Staten Island, NY/Moore Catholic HS
Offensive lineman from Moore Catholic High School on Staten Island where he was a three-year starter… an All-State selection.