North Point’s Marquel Dickerson breaks free for his third touchdown against Friendship during a December 2012 game. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Marquel Dickerson had never been to upstate New York before he committed to the University of Buffalo shortly before the new year.

But the All-Met honorable mention running back had a handful of North Point coaches with ties to the area —including Coach Ken Lane and linebackers/running backs coach Tom Petre — who plan to watch Dickerson compete when they visit their hometowns and former college towns in the next few years.

And on the other end, Bulls running backs coach and former Ravens assistant Matt Simon had the Maryland connections and familiarity in the area to snag the second Division I football player in North Point history.

Dickerson, who will compete for a first-string job, has the opportunity to be the first former Eagle with significant playing time on a Football Bowl Subdivision team.

North Point 2011 graduate and first-team All Met Conner Crowell fractured his ankle during the playoffs his senior year, which limited his playing time at Ohio State to some special teams in 2012 and just one tackle as the Buckeyes’ No. 2 middle linebacker.

“I’m proud to represent Southern Maryland, and hopefully I can state a point that this area has some great athletes,” Dickerson said. “Hopefully I can show the world that Southern Maryland is a place to recruit.”

Dickerson was the leading rusher in Maryland after 10 games with a 1,759-yard, 26-touchdown senior season. He chose Buffalo over offers from Villanova, Toledo and Lake Erie. There was interest from others, including Georgia Tech, Connecticut and Boston College, but Dickerson was wary of waiting too long for additional offers and losing his chance to join the Bulls. Buffalo’s ability to go from a 4-8 record in 2012 to 8-5 this season was a major draw.

“I felt that record was actually a good thing, because for them to transition to a winning record shows me that the coaching staff is good with recruiting and it’s a pretty solid team,” Dickerson said.

The first-team all-SMAC selection was known in the conference for his speed (he clocked in a 4.4 second 40-yard dash this summer at the Connecticut camp) and he’s aiming to run his way to a starting spot.

“I’m a faster type of running back, and I feel I can go up there and make a difference,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson is considering majoring in business management, and will make his official visit to Buffalo on Jan. 24.

Recruit Watch: Football