Discover more from UB In 5
BUFFALO BULLS SEASON OPENER: THE WAGNER FOOTBALL SCOUTING REPORT
Your cheat sheet for the first game of the Maurice Linguist era.
Image from wagnerathletics.com
A quick thank you to Max and the team at Wagner’s sports information department, who came through with the Seahawks’ depth chart and a record book for this preview. There’s not a lot out there about the team.
Let’s take a look at who Buffalo will face in the season opener this Thursday night at UB Stadium.
YOUR WAGNER FOOTBALL CHEAT SHEET
Let’s face it: Wagner’s truncated, two-game spring campaign earlier this year was grim.
The Seahawks were outscored 44-7 and out-gained on offense, 661 yards to 345, in the pair of losses.
The pandemic-marred mini-season served as former Wagner assistant Tom Masella’s introduction as head coach. Masella, who’s also a Wagner alum, is a fixture in northeastern small-school college football who’s held head coaching jobs at Boston University, Central Connecticut, and Fordham over the past three decades, posting a career record of 44-68.
Masella took over for Jason Houghtaling, whose 16-40 record over five seasons failed to live up the 34-season shadow of longtime coach Walt Hameline. Hameline, currently the Wagner athletic director, compiled a .615 winning percentage while earning eight conference titles and a national championship. The Seahawks went 1-11 in Houghtaling’s final season (2019). He is now an offensive line assistant for the Tennessee Titans.
Keep up with UB football news all year long. Subscribe for free right now.
Scouting the Seahawks’ Offense
Image from wagnerathletics.com
Jaalon Frazier, Quarterback
A redshirt senior transfer from Georgia Southern, Frazier (pictured above) was a top-300 player in the state of Georgia and considered a top-70 dual threat QB nationally coming out of Liberty County High School in 2017.
Frazier was criminally under-recruited, according to Jim Johnson of SouthernPigskin.com:
At 6'3", 194 lbs., Frazier is physically reminiscent of a number of former top recruits, such as D.J. Shockley, Tyrod Taylor, Braxton Miller, Deshaun Watson, and, more recently, Malik Henry, just to name a few.
Tack on that 4.48 40-yard dash time and what's not to love, from a measurable perspective?
Surely, there must be some underlying factor keeping the coaches away, right?
Bad grades? Nope. He's sporting a 2.9 GPA and has been declared NCAA academically eligible.
Character issues? Not a single one. Jaalon Frazier is the ultimate leader and carries the burden of being a quarterback like a champion. He has even made it abundantly clear that he is willing to switch positions, should a given school feel that he is a better fit at wide receiver or defensive back.
An underachiever, as far as on-field productivity? He finished his last season of high school football with a 123.8 passer rating, the sixth highest yardage mark in the state of Georgia with 4,128 yards of total offense, 1,250 rushing yards, which was seventh amongst quarterbacks within the state, and was one of only five quarterbacks in Georgia with more than 40 passing touchdowns, alongside Jake Fromm, Trevor Lawrence, K'hari Lane, and Tylan Morton. Of the five, only Lane threw fewer interceptions.
Also, he led his team to the quarterfinal round of the GHSA Class AAA State Playoffs, where it took three overtimes to send his Panthers home.
If that's underachieving then no one in the world is, ever has been, or ever will be successful at anything.
High praise! Frazier wore a redshirt in his freshman season, and did not get into a game in his sophomore year before transferring to Wagner.
Sophomore LaShane Taylor, a former offensive player of the year at Elizabeth (N.J.) High School, is listed as the backup.
Chris Collier and Messiah Devine, Running Backs
A pair of seniors, Collier ran for 88 yards and a touchdown in the spring season—Wagner’s only score. Devine is a former All-NJAC (D3) back, and, at 5’9, 200 pounds, is built like a spark plug.
Javin Little, Roland Foiyoe, Nick Cartwright-Atkins, Todd Simmons, Jeremiah Lorick, and Naiem Simmons, Receivers
Little, a junior, caught one ball for 30 yards this spring.
Foiyoe is a fifth-year senior, a Staten Island native, and a former high school star who grabbed 16 toucdowns in community college.
Cartwright-Atkins is a speedy junior described as “a big-time threat every time he touches the ball.”
Todd Simmons is a junior from Gaithersburg, Maryland who runs a 4.4 40 and, once upon a time, committed to his home state Terrapins.
Lorick had a nice career at Oak Hills High School in Los Angeles before heading east.
Naiem Simmons, a sophomore, racked up big numbers at Cherry Hill West (N.J.) High School and, later, at Milford Academy.
Chase Stafford and Justin Wolf, Tight Ends
Both sophomores, and neither caught a ball this spring. Wolf was a solid two-way player at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn before heading to Wagner.
Sowande McWhite, Jeremiah Bolling-Farrar, Xavier Bryson, Zef Djurasevic, and Brandon Stapleton, Offensive Linemen
All but Stapleton (junior) are seniors.
Watch out for McWhite: SI.com reports that he is “one of the most massive and highly anticipated recruits in recent school history, (and) oozes potential but scouts are still waiting for the light bulb to turn on. Blessed with skyscraper-type size, he delivers an impactful punch and can easily knock opponents off balance at ease.”
Bolling-Farrar is 6’7, 290 pounds.
Bryson is a two-year starter.
Djurasevic has limited experience for an upperclassman.
Stapleton, a native Staten Islander, is projected to plug in at multiple positions on the line.
A Bird’s-Eye View of the Seahawk Defense
Image from silive.com
Titus Leo and Macai Bruce, EDGE
Here’s what SI.com says about Leo (pictured above):
A hybrid pass-rusher who has switched between defensive end and linebacker; Leo currently plays in four-point stance at the seven-technique spot. He has shown a big time knack for creating game-changing turnovers throughout his career. Primarily rushing from the left side, Leo is extremely quick off the ball snap, stays low and shows violent hands, to go along with great strength. He possesses NFL size/length/power and plays with a high level of intensity.
Watch this guy closely.
Andre Crawley and Tajay Passmore, Defensive Linemen
Crawey, a sophomore who didn’t see the field last year, was a big-time player and a state champion while playing in the Richmond (Va.) suburbs.
Passmore, another sophomore with limited experience, was a talented offensive lineman for Mater Dei High School in Queens.
Lennox Lamar, Jalin Justice, Tre Vallar, and Dee’Shari Keith, Linebackers
The top four LBs in the Seahawks’ 3-4 formation.
Lamar is young but a big-time athlete, a 6’5, 220-pounder who played hoops and lacrosse in high school.
Justice, another sophomore, was a tackling machine at Archbishop Spaulding High School in Laurel, Maryland.
Vallar played for back-to-back championship teams at the College of the Canyons, a community college in Santa Clarita, California.
Keith, a junior, was a football and track star in high school at Daytona Beach (Fla.).
Keith McLaurin, Ahmad Lyons, Naseem Barnett, and Khari Jones, Secondary
McLaurin, a junior from North Carolina, has appeared in two career games with one tackle. Lyons is “a feisty playmaker” who models himself after Tyrann Mathieu. Barnett is one of the most experienced defenders on the team, a defensive back who made his first start against Syracuse in 2018 and made 41 tackles in 2019. Jones appeared in one game this past spring, making a tackle.
THE ANALYSIS: EXPECT A UB BLOWOUT OVER WAGNER
Wagner’s got some talent. Frazier may be able to make some plays at QB. McWhite, and, to a lesser extent, Bolling-Farrar look like legit road graders on the offensive line. Titus Leo will get a hard look from the NFL.
On the other hand, you’ve got an extremely inexperienced team with a history of losing, a new coach, and not much hope for a competitive game.
Buffalo should win by seven or eight touchdowns. That’s not meant to be disrespectful to Wagner—they’re just a few years away from being a competitive FCS team, much less a group that can hang with a solid Group of Five squad like Buffalo.
Thanks for reading UB In 5! Subscribe for free to get new posts as soon as they’re published.