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Hilliman’s Switch A Boon For BC

Thursday, December 26, 2013 3:55pm
By: Boston College Insider

Landing top-flight running back recruit Jonathan Hilliman is the latest piece of good news for BC football.

CHESTNUT HILL – The last two months of the recruiting cycle is usually a pretty slow time for Boston College. The only “excitement” that typically takes place is when a BC commitment decides to de-commit from the Eagles and flips to a better-known national program.

BC fans have come well accustomed to holding their breath over the final weeks and hoping that the entire class stays together. Things figured to be extra tense this year because Steve Addazio had put together a very good class and accumulated the type of players that bigger programs might try and pluck from BC.

This year, though, it looks like BC might be the school to do the plucking. In one of the most surprising BC commitments in recent memory, four-star running back Jonathan Hilliman de-committed from Rutgers and committed to BC within a week. The decision to commit to BC was in part due to things BC did right and the unstable coaching turnover that took place at Rutgers after the season.

Addazio and his staff did their part by continuing to recruit Hilliman even after he committed to Rutgers. That kept the lines of communication open between the two parties. The second part to BC’s coup was running back Andre Williams having the huge year that he had. Hilliman watched Williams take his “Heisman Tour” on ESPN all week leading to the presentation of the trophy and pictured himself doing the same some day.

“(Williams) was a part of it, watching his success,” Hilliman told Rivals.com. “Definitely the running scheme and the offense. It’s just made for me at my size. Just pretty much the all-around success of Andre and also all the contact I was getting from BC, from the coaches.”

The BC coaching staff did a fantastic job of turning Williams’ high profile Heisman campaign into a successful recruiting opportunity. It’s something that the Jeff Jagodzinski regime did not take advantage of when Matt Ryan was a top NFL draft pick, and many people felt like it was a huge wasted opportunity.

With the addition of Hilliman, the BC backfield looks to be one of the most loaded in the ACC – maybe in the entire country – even with Williams graduating.

Myles Willis will return coming off an impressive season where he finished eighth in the ACC in all-purpose yards and averaged 5.84 yards per carry. Tyler Rouse will return, as well, and Addazio has been quick to say in the past that he will be a dangerous weapon.

Aside from Hilliman coming to campus, three-star running back Marcus Outlow will be joining the roster, and he looks like a future star in his own right. Outlow chose BC over schools such as Ohio State and UCLA.

Donahue Seeks Perfect 10

What is wrong with the hoops team? That’s the most commonly asked question going around Conte Forum these days as the Eagles will be destined to enter conference play with a losing overall record. It’s a major disappointment for a team that was thought to be a NCAA Tournament team this season.

It seems that there is a different reason given for why the Eagles are struggling depending on which person you talk to. Some people point to the fact that the team just can’t close out games and struggles when the game is on the line. Others point to the fact that star point guard Olivier Hanlan can’t produce for the first half in games and has left too many points on the table. Another common reason given for the team’s failure is that the team is small and gets killed on the boards but at the same time the players don’t take advantage of having a smaller lineup on the floor.

While all of the reasons probably have some validity, the last reason is one that probably resonates with Steve Donahue the most. In the past, Donahue has referenced his “Rule of 10” as a measuring stick to how his team his playing. Known as “Donahue’s Rule of 10,” the coach states that he wants his team in a given game to hit at least 10 three-pointers, keep its turnovers to 10 or fewer and to keep the opponent to 10 or fewer offensive rebounds.

Through Dec. 22, Donahue’s club accomplished his rule of 10 only once, in a win against Washington. In three games, the Eagles accomplished zero of the three rules of 10, and in five other games the team accomplished only one of the three rules. That means in over half of BC’s games so far, only zero or one of the rules of 10 were hit. Obviously that is not a trend that Donahue wants to see continue.

The most concerning trend from Donahue’s Rule of 10 is BC’s inability to hit the 10 three-pointers mark. The Eagles have hit 10 or more treys in a game only once this year, and only got nine one other time. That’s not for a lack of effort, though.

Compared to the rest of the ACC, BC has attempted far and away the most three-pointers with 282. The teams with the next highest amount of attempts are Duke and Virginia Tech with 232. The issue is that BC’s three-point shooting percentage is just a lackluster 32.6 percent. For a team whose offense is built around the three ball, that just isn’t going to get the job done.

Donahue has 2½ months to try and salvage BC’s season. At this point, it seems like it would take a minor miracle for the Eagles to get into the NIT, never mind the NCAA Tournament.

If Donahue can’t figure it out, though, his days at the Heights might be numbered.