Recruiting in Buffalo has always been a challenge. While as a university it is one of the best in the MAC it's athletic department has been facing the same obstacles since they joined the football Bowl Subdivision in 1999.
- Buffalo is somewhere among the top three most rigorous academic schools in the MAC. Depending on what "ranking system" you look at UB, along with Ohio and Miami, have more selective admission requirements and harder day to day academic standards.
- Buffalo's football tradition was destroyed when the program went dark in 1970's. While the Bulls have started to add new names to it's lore it's a slow process. You only hit on Khalil Mack and James Starks so many times.
- Buffalo's facilitates are lacking. New York's "white elephant gift" stadium is one of the most modest in College football and the school's field house continues to be huge on promise and very slow on delivery. We are the last MAC school without a field house. Even EMU has put up a bubble to protect it's players from the elements in Ypsi.
- The school has not ever managed sustained success. In an era when 6-6 gets you a bowl, hell even 5-7 can do the trick some years, Buffalo has just two bowl appearances in 17 years. They have three times fallen one game short but that and a dollar gets you a cup of coffee.
These four things are constant. A child born the year before UB moved up to the bowl subdivision was old enough to vote in this last election or old enough to go to war if called on. And for their entire life this has been true of UB.
But not for the past 7 or so years do I remember the Bulls having such a tiny recruiting class going into the dead period.
As of right now ESPN has the Bulls at nine recruits, 247 has UB at 8 recruits. 247 sports also has UB ranked at 122/130 nationally and 11/12 in the MAC. Only Akron's class keeps UB from being ranked 12th. Thank you again Akron!
Last year, despite all of these hurdles, UB's class was looking fantastic at this point. The Bulls got picked apart by schools like Rutgers and Indiana late in the recruiting game but the bones of a solid class seemed to be there. This year the same staff, led in recruiting by Rob Ianello, seems to be under-performing.
If Buffalo is to climb out of the MAC's basement we cant do it with a staple diet of junior college transfers. JUCO's have their role, and do contribute, but you need 2-3 years in a system until it becomes second nature. Notice that PJ Fleck's first class at Western Michigan are now seniors.
Too many of Leipiold recent recruits will spend two years at Buffalo. It was a short term move brought on by necessity in the off season. But now we should be laying a foundation for the future and so far it's not coming together.
Talk me off the ledge here guys...