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Top MAC Football Players Of 2014: No. 37 Andre Davis, Buffalo OL

Buffalo's Andre Davis has been selected by Hustle Belt in the top 50 MAC footballers for the 2014 Season.

Andre Davis is a local product for the Bulls and was a defensive specialist and two sport athlete (basketball) at Maryvale High School. As a senior in High School, Andre only appeared in four games beset with a knee injury yet still had 36 tackles, 6 sacks, a blocked field goal, and a defensive touchdown. Andre was overlooked by many scouting services, yet being a two time all-conference player in Western New York, he was offered a spot at UB by Coach Quinn.  And what a great pick up Andre has been for the Bulls. In 2010, Andre was a redshirt freshman and knew the fastest way to get on the field was a move to Offensive Guard. While rehabbing his knee, Andre began to work on the offensive side of the line.

The coaching staff at Buffalo needed offensive lineman and tapped Andre to help open holes for Brandon "BO" Oliver. Davis started every game his first season in 2011 and what a season it was for Buffalo. Buffalo struggled to run the ball in 2010, but in 2011, the Bulls averaged 155 yards from scrimmage and BO set a UB record with 1395 yards. The rushing record is even more impressive considering the Quarterback carousel Buffalo had; 2011 saw UB's third consecutive new opening day starter at QB, this time Cincinnati QB transfer Chazz Anderson. Besides one solid day against Northern Illinois, moving the ball in the air was a struggle and teams stacked the box to stop the run.

In the 2012 season Andre was asked to move again, shifting from right tackle to the Blindside™, left tackle. Again, Davis starts every game and is given the Work Horse Award for the player with the most snaps for the season. After the departure of Anderson, UB's fourth consecutive new opening day starter at QB, Alex Zordich runs the offense. The offense improved despite injuries to Zordich, backup RB James Potts and starting RB Branden Oliver, and behind UB's line, BO, freshman Devin Campbell and Zordich each ran for over 500 yards rushing.

The Bulls had three offensive line returning starters entering the 2013 season, Andre, Trevor Sales, and Jasen Carlson. In the fourth game of the season the Bulls lost Jasen Carlson with a broken leg adding that much more pressure to the offensive line. John Kling stepped in and the offensive line continued to click for the remainder of the season. The offensive line shined in 2013 and the team ended with an 8–5 record, 6–2 in the MAC, and only the teams second ever bowl game, The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Eight regular-season wins, the program's best single-year output since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1999. Six wins in Mid-American Conference play, a record as a member of the conference. Five wins at home, tying the school's single-season record.  The 2013 Bulls team had one of the best offensive seasons in history both on the ground and through the air and ended with 394 points, the second best point total in school history. The line and specifically Andre was able to open large holes for BO Oliver's magical senior season. Oliver ran for 4,049 yards and 33 touchdowns during his Bulls career and is the Bulls all-time leading rusher.  Much of that credit must be squarely at the hands of the offensive line and specifically Davis. Before Davis, in BO's first year, he only ran for 298 yards and 2.92 yards per carry in 10 games. With Davis, BO ran for 3,751 yards in 33 games, 4.9 yards per carry. Also thanking the offensive line is Buffalo’s QB, Joe Licata. Joe had time in the pocket to become the most efficient UB passer since Drew Willy, and in 2014 he will be the first UB QB since Willy to be UB's opening day starter in consecutive seasons.

Entering the 2014 season the entire Offensive Line returns and it is critical for line to stay healthy for a successful season. Leading the way will be center Trevor Sales and Andre. Gone is BO Oliver but up is Anthone Taylor who behind the OL led UB to victory over Stony Brook in 2013. Besides losing the best RB in school history, Buffalo also lost it's top two receivers and will need players to step up.  Buffalo also loses their best player in history, Khalil Mack, which means less games will be the shut out variety and more will be the shootout variety, putting more pressure on the offensive line. That being said you cannot look at 2014 without looking at the schedule. I see only two sure losses, Baylor and Bowling Green. 2014 could be a strong season and will be realized only if Andre Davis and the UB offensive line are able to give our younger players time to make plays. Can UB make it to a bowl game? Absolutely, but the road to another bowl starts with a great season up front.

John on Bull Run had a prospectus on draft potential for Andre, Potential Current Bulls in the Pros.  Davis has experience at both left tackle and left guard, but due to his size (6-4, 320) his best fit at the next level will be at guard. Davis was recently named to Phil Steele's Preseason All-MAC First Team, and for good reason. Davis has the raw power to be a road grader at guard, and he was a key piece in Branden Oliver's record breaking career, opening up massive holes for the former Bull. Like Sales, Davis will anchor the left guard position on a very talented and very experienced offensive line and will look to be the anchor of the most dominant line in the MAC.

Davis compares very favorably to former Kent State guard Brian Winters, in both size and ability. Winters was taken in the 3rd round by the New York Jets in the 2013 draft and started 12 games for the Jets. Davis will have every opportunity to shine this year, and a strong senior season may mean him getting his name called next spring.