The future looks bright once again on the Heights. Following a surprising end to last season that saw the Eagles steal five of their last six regular season games, even against the likes of Louisville and Florida State, Boston College looks to build off last season despite a formidable 2018 schedule.
Nevertheless, a rising Steve Addazio program in Chestnut Hill has proved fruitful on the recruiting trail, as a blistering start to the class of 2019 adds yet another level of excitement to the team.
The Eagles return a number of key starters on both sides of the ball, headlined by stud defensive end Zach Allen and reigning ACC Rookie of the Year AJ “The Sauce” Dillon in the backfield. Both talent and a bevy of experience permeates the Eagles’ roster, with as many as ten players already on 2019 NFL draft big boards. Most notably, certain mock drafts have Allen being drafted as high as sixth overall, and safety Lukas Denis also consistently being taken in the first round.
Though anchored by these two key cogs, the defense will live and die by the linebacker core. Last season, a tendency to concede big plays on the ground limited the Eagles’ success, as BC yielded a shaky 4.8 yards per carry. Yet the speed and agility of rising star John Lamot and redshirt senior Connor Strachan should limit rushing yards in 2018.
On the offensive end, a high powered attack will both start and end with Dillon. But the X-factor in Addazio’s run-heavy playbook will be QB Anthony Brown. After a breakout start to the season, the redshirt sophomore missed the final three games of the season after sustaining a knee injury against NC State.
While some questions remain regarding Brown’s health, the second-year starter appears to be on track to lead the huddle opening weekend. With his quickness and ability to effectively distribute the ball to the likes of Jeff Smith and Kobay White, Brown makes Dillon that much more dangerous. If BC can set up the play-action passing game pivoting off a solid run-game behind one of the best offensive lines in the nation, the rest of the ACC best watch out.
However, many experts still predict BC to finish the year with a similar record in 2018. Despite a stacked roster, the Eagles have one of the toughest schedules both in the ACC and across the country. While BC is either heavily favored or very competitive in their first five games against UMass, Holy Cross, Wake Forest, Purdue, and Temple, the back half will be chock-full of ranked opponents. Most severely, the Eagles will start a daunting three game stretch against Miami on October 26th followed by Virginia Tech and Clemson in the following weeks.
While many view another 7-5 regular season record as a failure, that level of achievement with a much more difficult schedule would still prove the continual progress on the Heights. In order to reach the unprecedented eight win mark in the Addazio era, the Eagles will need to again steal games against Louisville and Florida State, but the return of star quarterback Deondre Francois for the Seminoles changes the entire complexion of Jimbo Fisher’s team.
Nonetheless, the buzz around BC football has already paid dividends for recruiting within the class of 2019. Currently, the Eagles have the 30th best class in the nation and 6th best in the ACC according to 247 Sports with 11 hard commits.
The distribution of commitments covers many regions across the country, with Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey leading the way. In particular, the Eagles have struck gold with a couple blue chip prospects. Headlined by Sam Johnson III, the Eagles have secured Anthony Brown’s replacement for the future. The 6-4 pro-style quarterback chose the Eagles over his state school, Michigan. Johnson is known for his powerful arm and touch on throws down the field, placing him as a top 20 pro-style quarterback and four star prospect in the class of 2019.
Beyond Johnson, the commitment of weak side defensive end Spencer Bono from Ohio has the generated a significant amount of excitement on the Heights. The 6-5, 220-pound Bono also chose BC over his hometown counterpart in Cincinnati. Overall, the ability for coaches to attract a high level of talent to BC outside of the New England and Mid-Atlantic area reflects the national attention that this program is now receiving.
BC will kickoff the much anticipated season at Alumni Stadium on September 1st against their in-state rival UMass. While the Eagles will be heavily favored, success in the first few games is a key to building upon last year’s leap forward.
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