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UB Signing Day: A Definitive Ranking

Signing Day is the first day of hope springs eternal season. First EVERY prospect is gonna be amazing. Then EVERYONE looks awesome in the spring game. Then EVERYONE shows growth in training camp. It's not until week one until you really know what your team is made of, and sometimes with weak OOC, not until week 3, 4, or 5. This part of the offseason is stupid, long, pointless. It's a giant waste of time and I LOVE IT.

Despite my Quinn, Tepper, and Kicker bashing between 2011-2014, I'm an optimist when it comes to UB football, (which is possibly why I was so critical, I had higher hopes) and I know I'll buy into anything that shows LL Cool Coach has turned this team into a MAC winning juggernaut.

But before Matt and Tim (who are much more knowledgable on recruits than I) fill you in on all the awesome players we'll be seeing in Blue and White (and probably Black), let's look back at the five best players of every signing day between 2000 and 2013 and lets rank them cause EMBRACE DEBATE.

#14 - 2000

Player Pos Hometown State
JJ Gibson DB Amherst NY
Rodney Morris LB Pahokee FL
Randall Secky QB Maple Grove NY
Eric Weber OL Canandaigua NY
Erik Zeppuhar OL Allison Park PA

Cirbus' last class produced two big offensive linemen, and rocks of the defense JJ Gibson and Rodney Morris. Randall Secky could never solidify himself as UB's starting QB.

#13 - 2012

Player Pos Hometown State
Beau Bachtelle DE Tuolumne CA
Devin Campbell RB Youngstown OH
Tyler Grassman P Columbus OH
Jordan Johnson QB Amherst NY
Mason Schrek TE Medina OH

A good class, but Quinn's 2012 hit more on offensive positions where UB was already strong. Campbell and Johnson are RBs behind Branden Oliver and Anthone Taylor, while Shreck has been part of a crowded TE rotation. Lou Tepper was signed the next day, had he been hired early, he may have been able to sign more players to make his defense work at UB.

#12 - 2013

Player Pos Hometown State
Brandon Crawford LB Madison FL
Jarrett Franklin LB St. Charles MO
Tedroy Lynch DE Shiremanstown PA
Jake Martinez WR South Port FL
Boise Ross WR Bethlehem PA

This list has 22 players from New York State, this is one of two years where the top 5 has no NY natives. Quinn's penultimate class could go down as one of the greatest as each player has shown flashes of greatness.

#11 - 2010

Player Pos Hometown State
Andre Davis DT Cheektowaga NY
Jasen Carlson OL Lakewood NY
Adam Redden WR Amherst NY
Cobly Way OLB State College PA
Cortney Lester WR Miramar FL

Quinn's first class solidified both lines with Davis and Carlson on offense and Way as the force in the middle of the defense.

#10 - 2004

Player Pos Hometown State
Jesse Imes DB Cincinnati OH
Jeff Niedermier OL New Washington OH
Chris Scharon LB Salem NH
Mike Thompson DL Seffner FL
Ben Woods P Hermitage PA

Imes gets on the list as the DB who intercepted Temple in OT to set up the Starks game winner. Scharon king of the Spider Y Banana and the most dedicated punter in UB history.

#9 - 2006

Player Pos Hometown State
Peter Bittner OL Williamsville NY
Jordan Jerrold OT Fairless Hills PA
Brian Kelly OL Richmond VA
Anel Montanez DL Trumbull CT
Naaman Roosevelt QB Buffalo NY

Gill's first class solidified the lines but also grabbed local product Naaman Roosevelt who later became the best WR in UB history.

#8 - 2002

Player Pos Hometown State
Ramon Guzman LB Bronx NY
Steven King RB Hempstead NY
Jared Patterson RB Belvidere NJ
Bryan Cummings LB Cincinnati OH
Chad Upshaw TE Southport CT

Hoofer adds UB's first viable NFL candidates: Chad Upshaw and Ramon Guzman.

#7 - 2001

Player Pos Hometown State
David Dawson RB Camp Hill PA
Matt Knueven WR Cincinnati OH
Aaron Leeper RB Jamestown NY
Gemera Williams RB Oak Park MI
Rob Schroeder OL East Rochester NY

Hofher's first and second class show a basic problem, good players, but too much depth not enough breadth. Hofher inherited Randall Secky, brought in PJ Piskorik but could never decide which was his QB. He also had five viable running backs between Patterson, King, Leeper, Dawson and McDuffie. Gemara Williams was the first of many Bulls to spend some time on the New England Patriots and Aaron Leeper was the MAC Freshman of the Year, one of only two Bulls to earn a MAC individual award.

#6 - 2007

Player Pos Hometown State
Domonic Cook CB Buffalo NY
Terrell Jackson WR Temple TX
Marcus Rivers WR Lackawanna NY
Davonte Shannon S Jeannette PA
Joshua Thomas CB Cedar Hill TX

The greatest tackling safety in UB history Shannon, NFLer Josh Thomas, solid WRs Jackson and Rivers and key CB for the championship year Domonic Cook. Gill inherited a lot of talent, but he helped himself in 2007 by plugging holes quickly.

#5 - 2008

Player Pos Hometown State
Gokhan Ozkan QB Staten Island NY
Zach Maynard QB Greensboro NC
Steven Means DE Buffalo NY
Willie Moseley DE Sandston VA
Scott Pettigrew LB Thompson's Station TN

After a then best ever 5-7 season Gill put in work signing Zach Maynard. Had Maynard stayed at Buffalo it would have moved higher on this list. Still, Ozkan, Means and Moseley all got looks at the NFL after their UB careers.

#4 - 2011

Player Pos Hometown State
Patrick Clarke K New Castle DE
Dillon Guy OL Hamilton OH
Ron Willoughby WR Avon Lake OH
Anthone Taylor RB Huber Heights OH
Joe Licata QB Williamsville NY

It's their team now, a slightly disappointing 6-6 (let's just start calling it a 6-6 year cause it would have been a W) season saw Licata, Taylor and Willoughby explode into the scene as the next great UB trio.

#3 - 2003

Player Pos Hometown State
Terrance Breaux WR Randallstown MD
Kareem Byrom DB New Brusnwick NJ
Jamey Richard OL Westin CT
Trevor Scott TE Potsdam NY
Andrae Smith DE Bloomfield CT

Terrance Breaux could have been the greatest of all time had he had a Quarterback to work with. Richard and Scott both went to the NFL and Andrae Smith was around in 2008, due to a medical redshirt, and he played a key role in UB's championship.

#2 - 2009

Player Pos Hometown State
Branden Oliver RB Miami FL
Alex Neutz WR Grand Island NY
Khalil Mack LB Fort Pierce FL
Fred Lee WR Chester SC
Jeffvon Gill RB Euclid OH

Gill's goodbye gift to UB, BO, Neutz, Mack, and Lee led UB to a 8-5 season. Brandon Oliver was a sensation in San Diego and Khalil Mack was drafted #5 overall and finished 3rd in defensive rookie of the year voting. This was a great class but they weren't the best...

#1 - 2005

Player Pos Hometown State
James Starks QB Niagara Falls NY
Brett Hamlin WR Jupiter FL
Mike Newton DB Pasadena MD
Ernerst Jackson WR Rochester NY
Drew Willy QB Randolph NJ

The greatest QB in history, two high volume wide receivers, the greatest cover safety in UB history Newton and James Starks, perhaps the most explosive offensive athlete UB has had in decades. Recruited by Hofher in his final year, this class was developed by Gill and brought UB a MAC Championship in 2008.

Final Shots:

Swan songs: #1 and #2 were classes in a coach's final year, does this mean last year's 2014 class will be one of the best?

Great States: NY (22)  - OH (11) - FL (8) - PA (8) were the most represented state on this list. Will Leipold tap into Florida? Will he dominate in the MAC zone? Will he bring in a diamond in the rough from the Empire State?

Trenches: First year coaches at UB have focused on the offensive and defensive lines during their first signing days. Will Leipold bring in some Hog Mollys from Wisconsin?