Corbin Grassman has been a standout for the University at Buffalo football team, although his contributions normally don't make headlines.

Corbin Grassman has been a standout for the University at Buffalo football team, although his contributions normally don't make headlines.

Having started every game since arriving at the Mid-American Conference school, the 2013 Johnstown-Monroe High School graduate has been consistently precise as a long-snapper for the Bulls.

After being an all-state performer with the Johnnies as a linebacker, Grassman has been on the mark snapping on both punts and place-kicks for Buffalo. His special teams coach, Matt Simon, said the skill often is overlooked.

"(A long-snapper) is something often taken for granted by the common fan or the general public until the team doesn't have one or there is a big screw up," Simon said. "I would say Corbin is probably the best (long-snapper) in the MAC. I would put him up against anyone."

Grassman started his first game as a freshman, a 40-20 loss at Ohio State on Aug. 31, 2013, which he called an "awesome" experience despite the score. He has started all 36 games in his career, during which Buffalo is 18-18 overall and 12-11 in the MAC.

"(Long-snapper) is a very underrated position," said Grassman, who first played there in youth football. "It's a skilled trade and you have to be both precise and consistent.

"It's about being consistent with snap and placement. If you are off just a little bit, you can mess up the rhythm of the play. If it's hard for the holder to catch (on a field-goal or extra-point attempt), it can be tough to get the ball down. You also have to have speed behind the snap as well as putting it in the right place. I pretty much can put the laces where I want from 7 1/2 to 8 yards away."

In his three seasons, the Bulls have had only one punt blocked with Grassman as the long-snapper. He said that one hiccup came in part to learning a new system installed last season by then-first-year coach Lance Leipold.

"We had a tough transition in going to a spread from a shield punt coverage," Grassman said. "Someone leaked through the line and was able to get the block (on the punt).

"(The shield coverage) was something I had done since playing in high school and last year was the first year of the spread. Now I have blocking responsibilities and picking up a man when before I pretty much snapped the ball and went downfield."

That change has meant extra work in the weight room to become bigger to better fit the evolution of his role. The 6-foot-2 Grassman has gone from 205 pounds as a freshman to 225 now.

After his sophomore season, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum and dropped to 180 pounds before adding the necessary weight.

"I had the surgery in December 2014 and wasn't able to completely participate in the spring (practices in 2015)," he said. "I wasn't able to go full contact. I wasn't cleared for that until the first day of summer practices. It took me awhile to get my strength back, but it's better than when I was injured."

At Johnstown, Grassman was first-team all-state as a senior with a team-leading 131 tackles to go along with four sacks.

Since arriving at Buffalo, Grassman has had a security blanket in his cousin, Tyler Grassman. The 2012 Gahanna graduate was a punter and holder on kicks in his four seasons with the Bulls.

"(Tyler and I) had a good connection," said Corbin, a senior communications major with a 3.4 GPA. "It will be a lot different seeing someone new back there. I have worked in the offseason with the punters and holders, so we should be ready."

Simon has no doubt Grassman will be ready when Buffalo opens Sept. 2 at home against Albany. He said Grassman has put in the necessary work to be successful.

"Corbin has continued to put on muscle and he'll need that to have a great senior season," Simon said. "He has been a blessing for the program."

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