Here's an inside look at Boston College's 2014 recruiting class.
Head Coach: Steve Adazzio
Total Number of Signees: 28
National Recruiting Rankings:
Rivals.com: No. 43 (2002), No. 24 (2003), No. 53 (2004), No. 49 (2005), No. 37 (2006) under Tom O’ Brien; No. 46 (2007), No. 33 (2008) under Jeff Jagodzinski; No. 70 (2009), No. 47 (2010), No. 38 (2011), No. 64 (2012) under Frank Spaziani; No. 88 (2013) under Steve Adazzio
Scout.com: No. 55 (2002), No. 27 (2003), No. 42 (2004), No. 58 (2005), No. 44 (2006) under Tom O’Brien; No. 50 (2007), No. 22 (2008) under Jeff Jagodzinski; No. 81 (2009), No. 43 (2010), No. 35 (2011), No. 71 (2012) under Frank Spaziani; No. 90 (2013) under Steve Adazzio
247Sports.com: No. 41 (2011), No. 71 (2012) under Frank Spaziani; No. 87 (2013) under Steve Adazzio
ACC Rankings (Rivals.com): No. 10 (2005), No. 7 (2006), No. 9 (2007), No. 7 (2008), No. 12 (2009), No. 9 (2010), No. 7 (2011), No. 11 (2012), No. 14 (2013)
2014 Boston College ACC & National Rankings By Network
ESPN: No. 42 overall nationally
Rivals.com: No. 8 ACC, No. 42 overall nationally
Scout.com: No. 12 ACC, No. 58 overall nationally
247Sports.com: No. 12 ACC, No. 53 overall nationally
Signee Breakdown by Star Rating:
Rivals.com: Five Stars (0), Four Stars (3), Three Stars (15), Two Stars (10)
Scout.com: Five Stars (0), Four Stars (0), Three Stars (16), Two Stars (12)
247Sports.com: Five Stars (0), Four Stars (0), Three Stars (19), Two Stars (9)
States Represented (11):
Massachusetts (7), New Jersey (6), Florida (3), Pennsylvania (3), Georgia (2), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Michigan (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Virginia (1)
NOTE: Florida native Allen Dawson, a 6-0, 185-pound defensive back, committed to Boston College in November out of Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. Allen enrolled at Cheshire out of high school uncommitted for a Post-Grad semester. Allen enrolled at BC in January.
January (Spring Semester) Enrollees: Jon Baker, Allen Dawson, Harold Landry, Darius Wade, Isaac Yiadom
Unconfirmed Academics: None Known
Breakdown by Position: Linebackers (5), Defensive Backs (5), Running Backs (4), Defensive Linemen (4), Offensive Linemen (3), Wide Receivers (3), Tight Ends (2), Quarterbacks (1), Kickers (1)
Offensive coordinator Ryan Day has earned our top billing multiple times over the years for his recruiting efforts on BC’s staff, and this year he once again did a solid job helping the Eagles lure talent to Chestnut Hill. Day’s biggest coup of all came when Jonathan Hilliman switched from Rutgers to BC, but Day was also the lead recruiter for the Eagles for three other Garden State natives---tight ends Joe Vitiello of Somerville, Tom Sweeney of Ramsey, and running back Sherman Alston of Montvale. Day also did work this cycle in Pennsylvania, where he landed wide receiver Thaddius Smith, and at home, where he secured defensive back Kevin Bletzer from nearby West Roxbury (Mass.). Three of Day’s primary recruiting targets who wound up committing to the Eagles were three-star prospects in the Rivals.com rankings, while Hilliman is a four-star.
10 KEY MISSES:
Middletown (Del.) wide receiver Chris Godwin (Penn State), Danvers (Mass.) running back Johnathan Thomas (Penn State), Everett (Mass.) defensive back Lubern Figaro (Wisconsin), Englewood (N.J.) wide receiver Juwann Winfree (Maryland), Manahawkin (N.J.) tight end Mike Gesicki (Penn State), Montclair (N.J.) defensive end Darius Slade (Michigan State), Montvale (N.J.) defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins (Rutgers), Sicklerville (N.J.) wide receiver Adonis Jennings (Pittsburgh), Winter Park (Fla.) defensive end Trent Harris (Miami), Upper Marlboro (Md.) safety Marcus Allen (Penn State)
BOSTON COLLEGE RECRUITING STORYLINES
- Boston College’s recruiting at home in Massachusetts has improved considerably in Steve Addazio’s first full signing class with the Eagles. Among BC’s commitments are six of the top ten prospects in the state of Massachusetts (perRivals.com Class of 2014 state rankings), including the No. 1 prospect---four-star linebacker Connor Strachan of St. Sebastian’s Country Day in Needham. The six commitments among the top ten in the Bay State in the Rivals.com 2014 rankings is the most since the state began receiving its own state rankings in 2008 (BC got four top ten prospects each in the 2010 and 2011 classes). In 2012 BC signed only one prospect ranked in the top ten of the Rivals.com Massachusetts state rankings---North Chelmsford linebacker Tim Joy---breaking a streak of four straight classes from 2008 to 2011 in which the Eagles signed at least one of the state’s top three ranked prospects. In 2013 BC landed two top ten prospects in Massachusetts in the Rivals.com rankings, Marion (Mass.) defensive tackle Tevin Montgomery and West Roxbury quarterback Mackay Lowrie. Both Montgomery and Lowrie committed prior to Addazio’s arrival. The 2014 Massachusetts haul for the Eagles---a group of seven players in total---includes two offensive linemen (Jon Baker of Millis and James Hendren of Brookline), two defensive backs (Kevin Bletzer of West Roxbury and Isaac Yiadom of Worcester), two linebackers (Strachan and Kevin Cohee of West Roxbury), and a wide receiver (Troy Flutie of Natick).
- The Boston College coaches taking are advantage of some attrition from within the current roster, as well as its allotment of scholarships in the 2014 class, to do something that hasn’t been done very often over the last decade in Chestnut Hill. This class marks the first time since 2008 that the Eagles are signing more than 25 players, as BC currently has 27 prospects in its ’14 signing class. By enrolling five January enrollees, a couple of those players can count towards the 2013 scholarship numbers, allowing the Eagles to enroll all of the players and still be within the NCAA’s limit of 25 freshman scholarship enrollees each summer in training camp. 2014 marks just the third time since Rivals.com and Scout.com have been conducting rankings that Boston College is signing more than 21 players. 2013 was the fifth class in nine years that the Eagles had 18 or fewer signees.
- Though Addazio and his staff at BC are making a clear priority out of recruiting within Massachusetts and New England as a whole, the Eagles also did a solid job this cycle spreading out and landing potential future impact players from other key areas in the Northeast, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Eagles got a huge boost in this recruiting class from Jersey City running back Jonathan Hilliman, who switched from in-state Rutgers to BC in November. After signing just one Pennsylvanian in either the 2012 and 2013 classes, the Eagles have three Keystone State natives in the ’14 cycle, the most in a single class for BC from that state since 2008. Certainly the Eagles would like to make continued positive inroads in Pennsylvania, the home state of Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams. Even with the emphases in the Northeast, Boston College cast a wide net nationwide, landing commitments from prospects in 11 states in total. In 2012, Frank Spaziani’s last full recruiting cycle with BC, the Eagles signed prospects from seven states, ending a streak of six straight classes (2006 to 2011) in which the Eagles signed players from ten or more states. In 2013 the Eagles had commitments from prospects in nine different states, including states they don’t typically recruit heavily, such as Minnesota and Georgia. They had more than twice as many Ohio natives (five) as Massachusetts natives (two) in the ’13 class, but that trend reversed dramatically this cycle, as the Eagles are bringing in seven Massachusetts residents this year, compared to just one Ohioan---Cuyahoga Falls kicker/punter Mike Knoll. Knoll is the first scholarship place kicker for the Eagles since the 2011 class.
- The name Flutie is still very much revered in Chestnut Hill, and Eagles fans will soon be able to cheer on another member of the famed football family when Doug Flutie’s nephew, Troy Flutie, arrives on campus later this year. Flutie, the son of Doug’s brother Darren Flutie, attends Natick High School, the same school at which his celebrated uncle starred in the late 1970s. Troy found plenty of ways to emerge from his uncle’s shadow at Natick, as in 2013 he set a new Massachusetts state record for touchdown passes with 112. Over four years as Natick’s starting quarterback, Flutie threw for over 9,000 yards and ran for over 3,500 yards, including back-to-back 3,000 yard seasons his junior and senior seasons, and 47 touchdown passes in 2013. Despite his outstanding high school numbers as a quarterback, as well as the family’s legacy at the position, Flutie is being projected as a wide receiver for the Eagles. BC’s projected quarterback in this class is Darius Wide, a three-star prospect by Rivals.com out of Middletown (Del.) ranked the No. 3 prospect in Delaware and No. 21 dual-threat quarterback nationally.
A CLOSER LOOK AT ...
Harold Landry, DE (6-2, 245) Fayetteville (N.C.) Pine Forest
Rivals.com Ranking: (No. 180 overall nationally (Rivals 250), No. 13 strong-side defensive end, No. 7 in North Carolina)
Scout.com Ranking: (No. 61 defensive end, No. 22 in North Carolina)
247Sports.com Ranking: (No. 37 weak-side defensive end, No. 25 in North Carolina)
Lead Recruiter(s): Al Washington
Landry entered the recruiting arena as a largely unheralded prospect who struggled to land scholarship offers, and has emerged through the process as a top-five caliber prospect in North Carolina who has a chance to make a significant early impact for the Eagles’ defensive line. Over his final two years of play at Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville (N.C.), Landry combined for 181 tackles and 25 sacks, including a stellar senior season that included 17 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Landry teamed with another standout defensive lineman---Georgia-bound defensive tackle Lamont Gaillaird---to help Pine Forest produce a 10-2 record in 2013. Landry had offseason surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, but he enrolled at Boston College for the spring semester, and is expected to be a full participant in spring football in the coming weeks.
Connor Strachan, LB (6-0, 240) Needham (Mass.) St. Sebastian’s Country Day
Rivals.com Ranking: (No. 192 overall nationally, No. 10 inside linebacker, No. 1 in Massachusetts)
Scout.com Ranking: (No. 15 middle linebacker, No. 1 in Massachusetts)
247Sports.com Ranking: (No. 23 inside linebacker, No. 3 in Massachusetts)
Lead Recruiter(s): Kevin Lempa
Strachan became a darling of recruiting analysts this past year with a series of solid camp and combine performances. He was ranked the No. 2 linebacker nationally by Rivals.com in the inaugural year of the Rivals Camp Series, after a particularly solid outing in Newark in late April, 2013. Within a month, Strachan was committed to Boston College. “At 6-foot, 240 pounds, Strachan looks like he lives in the gym, but what you couldn't tell just by looking at him was just how well he moves in space. He has the lateral quickness and straight-line speed to turn and run with running backs who were 50 pounds lighter than him. His performance (at the Rivals Camp) clearly validated his star rating,” said Rivals.com in its evaluation of Strachan. As a senior, Strachan had 81 tackles and 10 tackles for loss defensively, as well as 556 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, earning Independent School League (ISL) Co-MVP honors. Following his senior season, Strachan represented St. Sebastian’s and Boston College at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
Jonathan Hilliman, RB (6-1, 210) Jerscy City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep
Rivals.com Ranking: (No. 20 running back, No. 8 in New Jersey)
Scout.com Ranking: (No. 73 running back, No. 20 in New Jersey)
247Sports.com Ranking: (No. 24 running back, No. 14 in New Jersey)
Lead Recruiter(s): Ryan Day, Al Washington
Hilliman’s recruitment provided some intense drama for Northeastern recruiting enthusiasts, as the Garden City power back initially committed to Rutgers prior to his senior season, only to de-commit from the Scarlet Knights and subsequently pledge to the Eagles. In a mid-December interview with NJ.com Hilliman replied, “I always knew Boston College was a sleeper for me because it was a great place, a diamond in the rough. But they were 2-10 last year. That's just something I was looking at and was skeptical about them. I didn't know if I could do something like that. Their running back wasn't really running for that many yards. And in just over a year, a total turnaround. The same running back became a Heisman finalist. And now they are 7-5 going to a big bowl game. And I saw what I needed to see on my official (visit to Chestnut Hill). It's always hard (to de-commit). You're a Jersey guy, you grow up here and commit to your home state. And then you find out the (Rutgers) program is in turmoil and you just don't feel that comfortable. Telling your home state you are going somewhere else when you are already committed... it is hard. But I know I couldn't make the decision off emotion. It had to be a business decision, a decision that was best for me. And I feel 100 percent about my decision and I can't wait for the future.”
Hilliman had a productive three years at St. Peter’s Prep, where he ran for a combined 2,630 yards from 2011 through 2013. He ran for 1,156 yards on 106 carries his junior season---averaging just under 11 yards a carry---while as a senior in 2013 he ran for 995 yards on 103 carries (9.66 yards per attempt). Over his final two seasons of prep competition he combined for 36 rushing touchdowns, including 21 in 2012.
WHY THEY CHOSE BOSTON COLLEGE
As I looked I saw the timetable for quarterbacks (committing), it is a lot different than it is for other people. You need to secure your spot early and get set in stone so the rest of the pieces fall into place. Of the schools that showed they wanted me and offered me, I knew academically BC was the best school I had. Not only academically but from a football standpoint this year. Yeah, they're coming off two bad years (in 2011 and 2012) but with the coaching staff that's coming in from Temple and the accomplishments Coach Addazio has had, they have a chance to compete for multiple conference championships.
---Middletown (Del) dual-threat quarterback Darius Wade to EagleAction.com.
It was just a feeling. It felt like home. I got along really. I got a good understanding of the program, what it’s about. Once I got up there, I got the feeling. I loved the city of Boston, the fact that there are so many schools within a small radius, and there so many other things to do aside from Boston College. I didn’t know as much about their academics and their alumni connections, but sitting down with the academic advisors and learning about majors and the alumni was impressive.
---Pittsburgh (Pa.) defensive back Tre Tarpley to Scout.com
I loved the new staff there. Obviously it's a great academic school. I believe in what the staff there can do for the football program. Also, it's so close to home. They'd always been number one on my list. They were what I compared other schools to. (Coach Addazio is) really energetic and hands-on, which I liked. He's a line coach so he's really hands-on with the line. Along with (offensive line) coach (Justin) Frye, that's a great combination.
---Millis (Mass.) offensive lineman Jon Baker to EagleAction.com
Once I was there, I saw that was where I needed to be. It’s somewhere I can have a good opportunity to play early, coach Addazio is a really nice guy and a great speaker. I go to a Catholic school now and I feel that environment gives me a head start on other kids. I feel like it’s a smaller school than some others and I like that better.
---Somerville (N.J.) tight end Joe Vitiello to Scout.com