After taking over for University at Buffalo Bulls starting quarterback Matt Myers for the final eight games of the season, Bulls quarterback Kyle Vantrease turned heads as a red-shirt sophomore.
Vantrease played so well down the stretch that Pro Football Focus listed him as one of the "hidden offensive gems" heading into the 2020 college football season.
In 2019, Vantrease threw for 1,193 yards, eight touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also finished the year with a pass efficiency rating of 130.0.
After starting the season 2-3 with Myers under center, UB turned things around with Vantrease running the offense. The Bulls went 5-2 to finish the regular season with Vantrease starting.
They then went on to win the Bahamas Bowl against the University of Charlotte in blowout fashion to end the season.
Pro Football Focus graded Vantrease as one of the most productive and efficient quarterbacks in all of college football.
"The difference in quarterback play after Vantrease took over was stark. Former starting quarterback Matt Myers posted a 60.7 overall offensive grade through the first five weeks of the season, so the Bulls were certainly in line for a change at the position," the network wrote. "Vantrease’s 82.3 overall grade over the last eight games was a marked improvement."
Vantrease was especially efficient within the pocket. On non-play action drop backs where he did not attempt to escape the pocket, Pro Football Focus charted Vantrease with 10 "big-time throws" and only two turnovers on 112 drop backs.
It won't hurt that the Bulls will be bringing back their two most productive offensive weapons from 2019 next fall.
Wide receiver Antonio Nunn will return for his senior season after leading UB in receiving with 687 yards and six touchdowns on 49 receptions last year. Also, running back Jaret Patterson, who finished with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2019, will also be back for one final season.
The Bulls are expecting big things from their offense in 2020. So too are some of the biggest evaluation platforms, in large part thanks to their starting quarterback.