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O Little Town . . .

By Bob DiCesare

O Little Town? Actually, Bethlehem, Pa., isn't all that little. It totals about 70,000 residents and from that mix it turns out more than its share of Division I football players. Two of them -- sophomore defensive back/linebacker Okezie and true freshman receiver Boise Ross -- are expected to be contributors this year at UB.

This is new territory for Okezie and Ross. They've been good friends for a few years but this is the first time they've been united as teammates. In youth football, one played for the Steelers, the other for the Raiders. In high school, Alozie attended Freedom and Ross played for arch rival Liberty. But it's that friendship that played a part in Ross following his friend to Buffalo and becoming a Bull.

"I was pretty heavy on him because he and I, we work out at the same place," Alozie said. "We just always knew each other and I was just always in his ear. The moment he got the offer I was like, 'So when are you committing?' Fall came around and he committed."

"I knew about the program way before he committed but him going to Buffalo just made me more interested," Ross said. "Us having that connection with each other and him being a Bethlehem kid just like I was, him being on the same team is amazing."

Alozie provides the Bulls with versatility that enables him to contribute as a backup anywhere behind the defensive line. Ross was one of three freshman handling kick return reps Tuesday and could contend for time behind the current receiving corps of Alex Neutz, Fred Lee and Marcus McGill.

Bethlehem natives who went onto the NFL include John Spagnola, a tight end who spent most of his 10-year career with Philadelphia. The most famous? That would be Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik, the No. 1 overall pick by the Eagles in the 1949 NFL draft. A vicious hitter, Bednarik's best know for putting the wallop on Frank Gifford that knocked the Giants star running back out of the game for a year and a half.

He played his high school ball at Liberty.

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College football | Mid-American Conference | University at Buffalo
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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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