Branden Oliver on graduation day with UB running backs coach
Matt Simon. With them are Simon’s wife Lisa (far right), and
stepdaughter Madison Wells-James—“Bo’s biggest
fans, win or lose,” says Simon.
The NFL’s Branden Oliver returned to UB to earn his
degree—and send kids a message.
Branden Oliver came back to Western New York in fall 2014,
carrying the football for the San Diego Chargers in pursuit of a
victory over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It was a
proud moment for Oliver, as well as his family, friends and anyone
associated with UB athletics.
“Bo,” as he is known on campus—returned again at
the start of the spring semester, this time to UB, carrying his
textbooks in pursuit of the final credits needed for his
bachelor’s degree in sociology.
It was an equally proud moment when he walked across the
graduation stage in May.
“That was always a goal of mine, to come back and finish
when I was done playing football,” Oliver says by
phone following a Chargers training camp practice. Speaking to
youth groups in the San Diego area last year motivated Oliver to
finish his schooling now. “I didn’t want to waste any
more time,” the second-year running back says. “If you
get the opportunity to do something great and honor God, you have
to do it.” The NFL Continuing Education Program paid
Oliver’s tuition. The opportunity to resume training with
close friend John Opfer (BA ’99) at his Proformance facility
near the North Campus only increased Oliver’s desire to come
“He felt like a hypocrite getting in front of kids and
telling them to stay in school when he didn’t have a degree
himself,” says Opfer, who worked with Oliver six days a week
during the semester, then had him over for Sunday dinners.
“He wanted to tell kids that he walked the walk.”
Excerpted from At
Buffalo magazine. Read
the full article.
A number of NFL players also suited up as UB Bulls. Check out a
list of NFL drafted and undrafted players below, and find a list of
all our professional athletes in the Fan Zone.
*Indicates players who are currently active in the NFL.