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 Alozie 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.
“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 freshmen 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 10 years in the league. The most famous is Chuck Bednarik, the top overall pick by the Eagles in the 1949 draft. Bednarik is best known for putting the wallop on Frank Gifford that knocked the Giants star running back out of the game for a year and a half.