The Early Signing Period for prospective student-athletes begins next Wednesday. A few sports - Football is the most notable exception, but Soccer and Men's Water Polo also wait until February - won't see NLIs right now, and recruits can still sign after April 13th, but we'll get a good idea of who's coming in over the middle of the month.
This is the reason most of you are here, and it's a good one. Nate Oats already has a full class booked to come in next season, and we should see all four names come in next week. It's the first-year head coach's first full recruiting cycle, and it's a big one, perhaps the strongest in program history.
Quate McKinzie, PF, Burgaw, NC
Rated by ESPN as a top-40 power forward, McKinzie will join Nick Perkins down low, providing aggressive defense and an athletic motor at both ends. His ratings and home state will remind you of Titus Robinson, but McKinzie is bigger-bodied and more defensively minded than Titus was. On both ends of the floor, expect him to finish plays strong.
Jalen Harris, PG, Wilson, NC
Harris and McKinzie both visited Buffalo on the same weekend, and by October 5th both North Carolina three-stars had committed to Buffalo. Harris is a dynamic creator with the ball who has a little more scoring touch than Lamonte Bearden. At the time of his commitment he had six offers, including DePaul and Providence, but was also attracting attention from nearly a dozen ACC, SEC, and Big XII programs. 247 ranks him as a top-60 point guard, nationally, and Scout has made noise this summer that a strong senior season could vault Harris into a top-100 rating nationally.
James Jones, SG, Chicago, IL
Jones is the lowest-rated of UB's class, but would be a gem in most years since I've been following the program. He committed mere days after his official visit, and it doesn't take much searching to find accolades for Jones from basketball-savvy commenters in Chicago and Illinois. His coach is hyping him as more talented than a former teammate now at UMass, and it seems he found a confidence boost in spring ball that has analysts preparing for a big step forward as a senior, perhaps as the top two-guard in the state.
I can't find video for him, but click through the link for a whole lot of good press.
Brock Bertram, C, Apple Valley, MN
Bertram plays with a ton of high-major talent at Apple Valley, and weirdly flew under the radar offer-wise, deciding like Jones to commit to Buffalo just days after his official visit and over an intriguing mix of schools: Miami, Green Bay, LaSalle, and Texas Tech (He has reported interest from a number of Big Ten schools for some time).
A third consensus three-star in the class, Bertram is rated by 247 and ESPN as a top-30 center and is considered by everyone a top-five player in Minnesota. At 7-0, he'll be the tallest Bull since Andrew Atman and the first true center since Mitchell Watt.
Theresa 'Tessy' Onwuka, F, Lake Forest, IL
UB only has a single senior this year, so Onwuka is likely the only name we see until possible defections next spring. She's had a circuitous route to Lake Forest Academy, traveling from her home country of Nigeria to Lee Academy (same school as Rodell Wigginton) thanks to an organization called WorldPlayerID before moving to Chicago prior to last season.
On the court, Onwuka draws praise for her athleticism and highly polished post moves, and averaged roughly 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 blocks as a junior. Prior to her commitment she spent time working on her shot in the club circuit and led Lake Forest Academy to a 21-3 record last year.
No video for Onwuka, unfortunately.
Scout McLerran, S, Knoxville, TN
Kristina Curcin, MB (?), Ontario
There's precious little on Curcin other than the club team she plays for, but she does have a decent-looking highlight video and looks like she stands at least 6-1.
Hannah Watson, OH, Canton, OH
I included Watson in last year's version of this post, but only realized this week that she was only a junior at the time. Though we haven't heard anything of Watson, news articles from this season still reference her as a UB commit.
We also at this time last year knew of Jessi Holly in the class of 2016, but the last article to connect her with UB was written in September 2014. I am uncertain that either Holly or Watson are on the way.
Lauren Slavoski, OH, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Slavoski is the most recent commitment on this list, announced by her high school just last month. She plays for something of a regional powerhouse that has this week advanced to their district finals.
Men's and Women's Tennis
At this point last year we only knew of Chantal Martinez-Blanco, and the teams ended up with two further women and Ethan Nittolo committing to the men in the spring. The men this season have four seniors (of seven!), the women just one, so I'm sure we'll know new names eventually. Whether any sign this week remains to be seen.
Logan Rill, Maryland
Rill is the younger brother of current Bull Tyler, but will compete at a higher weight class, perhaps 197, for UB.
Matt Seitz, New York
Ryan Peters, New Hampshire
Swimming and Diving
Anna Vitolins, Breaststroke, Glenville, NY
Vitolins is a New York-based breaststroker who would currently be competitive among the Bulls in the 100 but lag behind in the 200.
Andrea Ernst, Free, Back, and Fly, Orchard Park, NY
Ernst is versatile and perhaps the best swimmer in Western New York right now. Her commitment kind of flew under my radar until yesterday, but she'd likely compete for a relay spot in freestyle sprints and provide at a minimum solid depth in the other strokes.
Joey Puglessi, Back, Ada, MI
Puglessi will add to the Men's team's growing depth in the non-freestyle strokes, and he could step in immediately as UB's top backstroker, as each of his 100 and 200 best times would place him in the top-ten all time at UB right now.
Softball only graduates two seniors this coming year, and though it's not a headcount sport, I know of two right now for 2016.
Clarence IF Gabby Keller was fourth-team All-NYS in Class AA last year:
Baseball, on the other hand, has plenty of names we already know about, though few articles written about them.
Bo Nesci, C
Wyatt Myers, IF
Michael O'Connor, IF
Caleb Kish, P
Rob Mealey, P
Cross Country and Track and Field
Sami Mirchin announced her commitment a little over two weeks ago. Her cross country times aren't off the hook, but she's a valuable in-state recruit.