Bulls' Jackson's stock is rising

The UB quarterback's play is a big part of the Bulls' 3-0 start

Howard Simon
September 19, 2018 - 10:10 am

Photo: UBBulls.com


If we were in, yet, another season of watching college quarterbacks every Saturday in an effort to find the future Buffalo Bills franchise signal caller, I would absolutely tell you to watch Tyree Jackson. The junior has led the University at Buffalo to a 3-0 start and is putting himself in the discussion for top quarterback draft prospects next spring.

Jackson is completing a career best 65-percent of his passes and his 12 touchdown passes ties his career best set last season.

Jackson has the key qualities you want in a quarterback. He's big (6' 7", 245-pounds), strong armed and mobile. He can make throws in the pocket, but is equally adept at throwing on the move and out of the pocket. He has the arm to throw the ball deep, but has the touch to make the short throws too. The Michigan native is very accurate throwing outside the numbers thanks, in part, to that arm strength. Jackson's legs can be a weapon too if he so chooses. He ran for more than 700 yards over the last two seasons.

He's actually running much less this year and is spending more time in the pocket. Jackson ran 99 times when he started as a red-shirt freshmen in 2016. That number was chopped in half last season when he totaled 47 carries. Through three games so far, Jackson has just two rushes.

His improvement as a pocket passer has clearly been evident in wins over Delaware State, Temple and Eastern Michigan. He looks more clam back there and is showing not only a strong grasp of the offense, but leadership ability as well. Jackson's completion percentage has gone from 53-percent in his first season to 60-percent last year, and is now at 65-percent.

In last Saturday's Mid-American Conference opening win over Eastern Michigan, Jackson made some beautiful throws. On the Bulls' second touchdown of the game, Jackson scrambled to keep the play alive and, when he was outside the numbers, unloaded an on target throw slightly against his body to the receiver in the end zone.

On UB's third touchdown, Jackson showed off his arm with a bomb to K.J. Osborn that traveled about 55 yards in the air.

With UB holding on to a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter, Jackson came up big again. He left the pocket, ran to his right and while throwing off his right foot, hit Osborn in stride allowing him to tack on yards after the catch for a touchdown.

Jackson, who became the first UB quarterback ever to be named to the Davey O'Brien Award pre-season watch list, spent part of his off season at the Manning Passing Academy. Showing off his skills alongside quarterbacks from power-five leagues, Jackson said he realized he belonged in the group. That experience and boost of confidence is paying big dividends for the Bulls now.

Like I said, I'm not thinking about quarterback in the 2019 draft for the Bills. I've been happy with what I've seen from Josh Allen through the exhibition games and his first regular season start. If something happens to change that, we will be talking about Tyree Jackson.

Jackson joined us in studio on Wednesday's show. You can listen to the interview below:

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