The size is the first thing that catches the attention until one puts on the tape and sees Tyree Jackson sling the ball.
The 6-foot-7, 245-pound quarterback will be front and center Saturday when his Buffalo Bulls (1-0) visit Temple (0-1) in a 3:30 p.m. nonconference game at Lincoln Financial Field.
The redshirt junior has one of the strongest arms that Temple or any other team will see this season, especially throwing the deep ball. He is on the radar of NFL scouts.
Jackson downplays any talk about his future.
"Right now, my only focus is on getting better week by week," Jackson said by phone. "I am not looking at anything else."
Like Jackson, his coach Lance Leipold doesn't want to discuss his NFL potential.
"Right now, he is a redshirt junior and I am not trying to look ahead of that," Leipold said during Monday's Mid-American Conference media call. "Some things have picked up [among NFL scouts], and more than the measurable, they look at his arm strength and the fact that he continues to get better. That day will come for Tyree."
Jackson is also humble. Asked about his arm strength, he switches the credit to his teammates.
"When you have the great receivers we have, you can complete the deep ball," Jackson said.
There is no doubt that Jackson has some great targets, including senior All-America candidate Anthony Johnson, a junior-college transfer who had 76 receptions for 1,356 yards and a school-record 14 touchdowns in his first season with Buffalo last year.
That said, Jackson is the conductor of the offense.
"He can see over the pocket and he is a big man and you can tell he has presence, command of the offense and respect of his peers," Temple coach Geoff Collins said this week. "He throws a fantastic deep ball and you can see him make great decisions, going through progressions, and he is going to be a big challenge for us, literally."
Jackson, who is from Norton Shores, Mich., redshirted his first season and has been a starter since. Last year, he missed four games because of injury but finished with 2,096 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions in eight games.
He is more of a passer but can also take off and run. Last season, he rushed for 399 yards (4.0 avg.) and five touchdowns. Jackson said he started out as a running back in midget football but has been a quarterback since the seventh grade.
Jackson had received plenty of publicity entering the season, the attention went into overdrive after he threw six touchdown passes in last week's 48-10 win over Delaware State. Jackson was pulled after the first series of the third quarter.
"The thing is the offensive line did a great job and gave me the time to throw, and the receivers did a great job as well," Jackson said.
Left unsaid: The quarterback didn't so such a bad job, either.
Buffalo at Temple
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field
Records: Buffalo, 1-0; Temple, 0-1.
Coaches: Buffalo: Lance Leipold (fourth season, 14-23; overall, 123-39); Temple, Geoff Collins (second season, 7-7).
TV/Radio: ESPN3/97.5 the Fanatic.
Series history: Buffalo leads, 12-4, but Temple has won the last three, with the most recent meeting a 34-0 win on Oct. 15, 2011.
Three things to watch
1. Stopping the Buffalo offense will be a challenge. While 6-foot-7, 245-pound redshirt junior quarterback Tyree Jackson justifiably gets most of the attention, he benefits from a group of talented receivers. In last week's 19-17 loss to Villanova, the Wildcats receivers were often wide-open. Buffalo has quality receivers, led by preseason All-American Anthony Johnson, who last year had 76 receptions for 1,356 yards and a school-record 14 touchdowns.
2. According to the Buffalo sports information department, Saturday's game will mark the first time the Bulls will play on a grass field since playing at Florida Atlantic on Sept. 19, 2015 — a span of 34 games. Will this matter to a team used to turf? Will the Bulls be a little slower? Only nine Buffalo players have played on grass in their college careers. In a phone interview, Jackson, who has never played on grass in college, wasn't too worried. "I have played on grass all my life in peewee and high school," he said.
3. Will Temple be able to contain Buffalo tackling machine Khalil Hodge, a 6-1, 235-pound senior? Over the previous two seasons, he totaled 277 tackles, including 154 last year. That was the most tackles during Buffalo's Football Bowl Championship era (since 1999). He was second in the nation last year.