Football Announces 2017 Signing Class

Football Announces 2017 Signing Class

BUFFALO, NY - University at Buffalo football head coach Lance Leipold announced the initial signees for the 2017 recruiting class on the first day of the National Signing Period on Wednesday. Speed and athleticism was a theme for this year's class as a number of signees were also standout track athletes in high school. The 21-member class has 12 defensive players, eight offensive players and one long snapper.

The class is comprised of five defensive backs, four linebackers, three defensive linemen, three wide receivers, two running backs, an offensive lineman, a tight end, a quarterback and a long snapper. The newest class comes to UB from nine different states and Canada, including Florida (5), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (2), Maryland (2), New Jersey (2), New York, Illinois, Michigan and Canada.

"You're always looking to add speed, athleticism and depth to your program," Leipold said. "We've always wanted to foster a culture of internal competition each and every day. We've got to create more depth and competition on both sides of the ball. This class gives us that opportunity."

The initial members of the 2017 signing class:

2017 UB Football Signee Bios

Mid-Year Enrollees

Ali Abbas
5-10, 175
Irvington, NJ/Irvington HS

A speedy defensive back from Irvington High School in New Jersey who enrolled at UB in January. As a senior in 2015, he had 117 tackles, three interceptions, 16 pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Had 21 tackles in one game against West Essex. Named first-team All-Conference, first-team All-Essex County and All-State Honorable Mention. Played in the Phil Simms New Jersey North-South High School Football Senior All-Star Classic.

Click here to learn more about Ali.

Julien Bourassa
6-6, 225
Laval, Quebec/Cegep de Vieux Montreal

A big-bodied tight end who enrolled at UB in January after playing at Cegep de Vieux Montreal. Had 15 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown his senior season. Was a versatile athlete who also played quarterback his senior season. Completed 23-of-54 passes including two touchdowns his senior season. Also rushed for 149 yards and two scores his senior year. Played in the 2016 International Bowl for Canada's U19 National Team. 

Click here to learn more about Julien.

Dawun Hylton
6-1, 190
Opa-Locka, FL/American/Navy Prep

Lengthy cornerback who hails from Florida and prepped last season at Navy Prep. As a senior at American High School in Florida, had 37 tackles, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), six pass breakups and a blocked punt. Also a two-time state champion in the 4x400 relay. Clocked at 48.1 in the 400m and 1:55 in the 800m.

Click here to learn more about Dawun.

Nikolas Ricks
6-2, 230
Akron, OH/Canton McKinley/Ellsworth CC

A linebacker who transferred from Ellsworth Community College after playing one season. He played in all 12 games for the Panthers, ranking fifth on the team in tackles with 54 and third with nine tackles for loss. He also had two forced fumbles on the season.  Ricks is a graduate of Canton McKinley High School where he was a four-year letterwinner. He had 72 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss as a senior. He also registered four sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions – one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Click here to learn more about Nikolas.

Malcolm Koonce
6-3, 255
Peekskill, NY/Archbishop Stepinac/Milford Academy

Defensive lineman who prepped at Milford Academy and enrolled at UB in January. Had 47 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and a fumble recovery in 2016. As a senior at Archbishop Stepinac, had 58 tackles, including six tackles for loss. Named second-team All-State and Journal News All-Star First Team. Helped lead the Crusaders to an undefeated season and the 2015 state championship.

Click here to learn more about Malcolm.

Kyle Vantrease
6-3, 205
Stow, OH/Stow-Munroe Falls

Versatile quarterback who played at Stow-Munroe Falls High School in Ohio. Was a first-team All-State and first-team All-Northeast Inland District selection. Finished his career 392-for-694 for 5,680 yards and 50 touchdowns and rushed for 1,029 yards and 24 touchdowns. As a senior completed 157-of-244 passes for 2,259 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 384 yards and eight scores. Also punted the ball 21 times for a 39-yard average and was 18-of-19 on extra point attempts.

Click here to learn more about Kyle.

Fall Enrollees

Wankeith Akin
5-10, 152
Roseland, NJ/Don Bosco Prep

Played both wide receiver and defensive back at Don Bosco Prep, but is projected to be a defensive back at UB. Had six interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and a kickoff return for a touchdown his senior season. Added 20 receptions for 277 yards and a touchdown. Overall, scored six touchdowns as a senior (3 receiving, 1 interception, 1 kickoff return, 1 rushing). Named second-team All-County. Multi-sport athlete who also competed in track. Ran a 10.73 100m and a 22.15 200m.

Click here to learn more about Wankeith.

Frendy Darelus
6-5, 220
Fort Lauderdale, FL/Dillard

Tall, rangy, athletic defensive end from Dillard High School in Florida. Had 5.5 sacks, 16 hurries a forced fumble and two pass breakups his senior season.

Click here to learn more about Frendy.

Jacob Gall
6-2, 300
Cincinnati, OH/Archbishop Moeller

Offensive lineman who was a 4-year starter for perennial-power Archbishop Moeller in Cincinnati. Projected to play center for the Bulls. Named to the Greater Catholic League South First Team twice in his career. Named to the Division I All-District Second Team. He was a team captain and helped lead the Crusaders to the 2013 State Championship.

Click here to learn more about Jacob.

Kobe Green
5-11, 190
Deerfield Beach, FL/Deerfield Beach

A safety from Deerfield Beach High School in Florida who had a nose for the ball. Had 64 tackles and seven interceptions his senior season. Named first-team Sun Sentinel All-County and first-team Miami Herald All-County. Earned second-team All-State Class 8A honors. 

Click here to learn more about Kobe.

Ja'Varius Harrison
5-11, 225
Quincy, FL/North Florida Christian

Played both linebacker and running back at North Florida Christian. Is projected to be a linebacker at UB. As a linebacker, had 85 tackles, including eight tackles for loss his senior season. Totaled 198 tackles over his career. As running back, rushed for 430 yards on 63 carries 6.8 (ypc) and scored seven touchdowns as a senior. Named Class 2A All-State as a linebacker. Named the 2015 Tallahassee Quarterback Club Defensive Player of the Year. Named first-team All-Big Bend in 2015 and 2016.

Click here to learn more about Ja'Varius.

Charlie Jones
6-0, 180
Deerfield, IL/Deerfield

Wide receiver who is described as a good route runner and playmaker. Played at Deerfield High School in Illinois. A three-year starter. Averaged 18.2 yards per reception, 6.2 yards per rush and 25.3 yards per kick return. Scored 14 career touchdowns. Two-year All-Conference selection. Named All-Area as a kick returner. 2016 team MVP.

Click here to learn more about Charlie.

Isaiah King
5-10, 180
Norfolk, VA/Norview

Speedy wide receiver who was also a standout track athlete at Norview High School in Virginia. Had 523 receiving yards and seven touchdowns his senior season. Named All-Tidewater. Also a two-time state champion in the 55m and 300m. Overall, was an 11-time All-State athlete. Ran a 10.9 100m, a 21.77 200m and a 49.85 400m at Norview. High school teammate of fellow 2017 signee Kevin Marks.

Click here to learn more about Isaiah.

Kevin Marks
6-0, 180
Norfolk, VA/Norview

Explosive running back from Virginia who broke his high school's 47-year-old rushing record. Rushed for 2,364 yards and 36 touchdowns his senior season. Averaged 12.6 yards per carry. Added 33 receptions for 416 yards and two touchdowns. Named first-team All-State, All-Region, All-Tidewater, All-Conference and All-Conference. High School teammate of fellow 2017 signee Isaiah King.

Click here to learn more about Kevin.

Jaylin Nolden
6-3, 220
Euclid, OH/Euclid

A long defensive end prospect from Euclid High School in Ohio. Had 60 tackles, 15 sacks and 19 quarterback hurries his senior season. Named All-Ohio Honorable Mention. Named to Northeast Ohio Lakes All-District Division 1 team. Helped lead the Panthers to the third round of the Division I Regional playoffs for the first time in school history.

Click here to learn more about Jaylin.

James Patterson
6-0, 215
Glendale, MD/St. Vincent Pallotti

Linebacker who played at St. Vincent Pallotti in Maryland. Had 180 tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as a senior. Named first-team All-MIAA. A three-time All-Conference selection. Twin brother of fellow signee Jaret Patterson.

Click here to learn more about James.

Jaret Patterson
5-8, 170
Glendale, MD/St. Vincent Pallotti

Running back from St. Vincent Pallotti High School where he was named the team's Player of the Year. Rushed for 2,045 yards and 23 touchdowns his senior season. Also tallied 113 receiving yards. In a game vs. Riverside Baptist he accounted for 558 all-purpose yards (282 rushing, 54 receiving, 124 KOR, 98 INT return). Named All-State Honorable Mention. Four-time All-Conference selection. Twin brother of fellow signee James Patterson.

Click here to learn more about Jaret.

Jeremiah Riordan
6-2, 220
Plymouth, MI/Detroit Jesuit

Recruited as a long snapper from Detroit Jesuit. Average snap time has been clocked at .69 seconds. Ranked eighth in the nation as a longsnapper by Kohl's Kicking Camps and is rated a five-star athlete. Also played nose guard for the Cubs. 

Click here to learn more about Jeremiah.

Rodney Scott
6-0, 175
Miami, FL/Miami Southridge

Sure-handed wide receiver from Southridge High School in Miami. Named All-Dade Honorable Mention. Played in the Miami-Dade North vs. South All-Star Football Game. Was nominated to play in the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Also a standout track performer, running the 110m hurdles in 15.66 and the 300m hurdles in 38.67.

Click here to learn more about Rodney.

Rick Squires
6-1, 196
Pittsburgh, PA/Penn Hills

Versatile athlete who played wide receiver and linebacker at Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh. Slated to played safety for the Bulls. Had 40 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception (returned for a TD) and a fumble recovery his senior season. As a receiver, had 29 receptions for 437 yards and five touchdowns. Named 2015 and 2016 Northern Seven Second-Team All-Conference.

Click here to learn more about Rick.

Tim Terry, Jr.
6-2, 215
Pittsburgh, PA/Central Catholic

Linebacker prospect from football power Central Catholic in Pittsburgh. As a senior, ranked second on the team in tackles with 83 and had three interceptions – all returned for touchdowns. Added four forced fumbles. Named second-team All-State. Named first-team All-6A Section 1. Named WPIAL Class 6A All-Conference. Was a Mr. PA Football nominee.

Click here to learn more about Tim.