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Football Spotlight Kristjan Sokoli

Once a 220 pound defensive end, UB's Kristjan Sokoli has transformed into a 300 pound staple in the middle of the Bulls defense

Kristjan Sokoli has become a force on the UB defensive line
Kristjan Sokoli has become a force on the UB defensive line

Player: Kristjan Sokoli

Number: 90

Hometown: Bloomfield, NJ

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6-5/300

2013 Statistics

15 total tackles - 2.5 tackles for loss - 2.0 sacks

Sokoli's story...

Kristjan Sokoli was recruited out of Bloomfield, New Jersey to play defensive end for the Bulls beginning in 2010. After redshirting his first season with the Bulls, he appeared in 10 games and had 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and forced a fumble.

In 2012, Sokoli's sophomore season, he appeared in all 12 games and made one start. He racked up 20 tackles, including 3 (1 for loss) in the team's season opener at Georgia.

Sokoli now anchors the middle of the defense for the Bulls, but he couldn't have become the current player he is without the help of current strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval. Over the past three off-seasons, Sokoli has put on about 20-30 pounds in each one and has made the transition to nose tackle.

What they're saying...

Sokoli on putting on weight

"I'd say it's a day-to-day process. That's how you have to look at it. I have to give a lot of credit to our strength coach, Zach Duval, he does a great job, our strength coach is outstanding. Beyond that even, he set me up with a calorie counting program. Every day, I would basically write into my phone every single thing I ate, and long story short, you average about 7,000 calories a day. You eat when you don't want to eat. It's a give and take too."

Are those 7,000 good calories?

"I don't know if it's realistic to have 7,000 good calories every day, but you try and make it as good as you can. I'm not saying I went to McDonalds every day but you try and cook at home as much as you can and then sometiems you have to give out a little bit on the eating healthy to eat more because you want to put more weight on."

Head Coach Jeff Quinn on Sokoli coming out of high school

"I think everybody told him when he was a high school prospect, that they didn't think he could get that big. So I said, 'some good home cooking in Buffalo will get you there along with the training program that we have with Coach Duval.'"

Quinn on Sokoli's leadership

"This is a young man that provides us with the right kind of leadership. As our starting nose guard, he's really stepped into that role and responsiblity very well, and thats a big reason why our defense has been able to really step up and keep offensives off of the scoreboard."

Quinn on Sokoli off the field

"He's had some outstanding semesters in the classroom as he continues to grow. He's done a fantastic job in that area. He's been one of the key guys in my first recruiting class that I had a relationship with before coming here, and he's turned out to be an outstanding young man."

Quinn on Sokoli's strength

"This is a guy who can bench press well in the 400 pound range; cleans over 400 pounds; squats over 600 pounds. He loves that weight room and it's been translating onto the field."