Weekly Feature



2017-12-27 / Sports

Sweet Home’s McDuffie to play football at UB

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Sweet Home’s Dylan McDuffie, seated, middle, signed a national letter of intent to play football at the University at Buffalo. The letter was signed Dec. 20 in the Sweet Home gym. With McDuffie are his parents, Terrance and Kim. Standing are assistant basketball coach Jonathan Graves, assistant football coach Jeremy Zimmer and head basketball coach Brandon Woods. Sweet Home’s Dylan McDuffie, seated, middle, signed a national letter of intent to play football at the University at Buffalo. The letter was signed Dec. 20 in the Sweet Home gym. With McDuffie are his parents, Terrance and Kim. Standing are assistant basketball coach Jonathan Graves, assistant football coach Jeremy Zimmer and head basketball coach Brandon Woods. Dylan McDuffie had 14 Division I offers to play college football, but all he needed was an official visit to the University at Buffalo Dec. 16 to determine where he was going to take his talents.

The Sweet Home senior running back signed with the Bulls Dec. 20 in the Sweet Home main gym.

McDuffie’s other top choices were Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Ohio University, but he canceled official visits to those colleges after signing with UB.

“It feels great,” McDuffie said. “I committed about a week ago. It’s a great feeling to know that it’s out of the way and I can get ready to play my next season in college.”

The 6-foot, 205-pounder was able to commit in December instead of the traditional first Wednesday of February due to a new rule approved by the Collegiate Commissioners Association in early May that gives Class of 2018 players a 72-hour window (Dec. 20-22) to sign early.

“I’m 100 percent committed,” McDuffie said. “There was no reason to wait if this is where I want to be. [UB head] coach [Lance] Leipold and [Offensive Coordinator] coach [Andy] Kotelnicki did a great job of recruiting me and making me a priority since day one.”

“His skills as a running back is something that is going to add to our program,” said Leipold at a press conference Dec. 20.

UB’s program is on the rise after finishing 6-6 overall and 4-4 for third place in the Mid-American Conference. They were eligible for a bowl game for only the third time in school history.

“We talked about how next year could be something special,” McDuffie said. “I hope I can be able to contribute to that team. It is just great knowing that I’m going to step in somewhere that is on the up and up.”

McDuffie is not the first person in his family to play for UB. His uncles, Chris, Teddy and Steve, all played for the Bulls.

“It’s very special,” McDuffie said. “It’s tradition. It’s surreal, but I can’t wait to get there to make it feel it is really happening.”

McDuffie played his freshman and sophomore years at Sweet Home before he transferred to St. Francis for his junior year and rushed for 14 touchdowns, caught three more, and was a Connolly Cup finalist, the award given to the area’s top high school player.

McDuffie transferred back to Sweet Home for his senior year, and finished with 50 carries for a team-high 330 yards and five rushing touchdowns, caught 12 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns, and tied for the lead in tackles with 46, including three tackles for losses.

“I wouldn’t have changed anything even if I could, because everything that happens shapes you to be a better person,” he said. “I’m blessed for my experiences at St. Francis and Sweet Home. One taught me how to be a leader and another taught me how to be a better player.”

“Dylan represents what it means to be a stud in the classroom and on the athletic field,” said Matt LaRoach, interim athletic director.

McDuffie plans on majoring in physical education.

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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