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Buffalo Bulls Football: Previewing key players for Albany

UB Athletics

Football season is right within striking distance with this Friday's home opener versus the Albany Great Danes. The Great Danes are an FCS opponent that are picked to finish 11th in the Colonial Athletic Association this season. Despite the low expectations for Albany, there are always some players that standout and opposing fans should watch for.

DJ Crook: Quarterback

Quick Facts:

  • 6-2, 220 lbs.
  • Red-shirt Junior
  • Former backup QB for Penn State
This will be the second year that Crook holds the starting role for the Great Danes. Last year provided mediocre results for the junior as he threw for 1,168 yards along with 8 touchdowns. Crook does provide the ability to run the ball for Albany as he rushed for two touchdowns in the past season.

What to watch for: I'm really hoping we pick off a few of his throws considering he isn't the greatest of QB's.

Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks: Running Back

Quick Facts:

  • 5-9, 199 lbs.
  • Sophomore
  • 609 rushing yards for 2 TD's last season

Ibitokun-Hanks will most likely be taking starting running back duties for the Great Danes. After starting four games last season, he only brought in 609 rushing yards but at a strong 5.9 yards per carry. What's most interesting is his best game came against the Bulls last season where he rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown.

What to watch for: If Buffalo can prevent what happened last time, it's a nice sign of improvement for a defense that struggled against the running game.

Rayshan Clark: Cornerback

Quick Facts:

  • 6-1, 194 lbs.
  • Red-shirt Senior
  • 2nd on the team last year in tackles
Clark is arguably the best player on the Great Danes' roster. The cornerback lead the team in interceptions last year with 3 and had 75 total tackles. If UB's quarterbacks and receivers have an easy time against Clark, that will definitely be a good sign.

What to watch for: This will be the first game in a long time where the Bulls will not have the now departed Joe Licata. Completing passes that are in Clark's coverage will be a good indicator for games to come whether it is Tyree Jackson or Grant Rohach making those passes.

Bottom Line

Take everything here with a grain of salt because Albany is still an FCS opponent. But, also keep in mind that red flags can easily be drawn from poor performances over an FCS squad, so it might be useful to pay attention to these areas.