The numbers were in Steve Addazio’s favor yesterday. The second-year Boston College football coach announced his first full recruiting class on National Signing Day, and all indications show it was a success for the Eagles.
BC finished 88th in the Rivals.com recruiting rankings last year, ahead of Memphis and behind Central Michigan, when Addazio and his staff scrambled to keep the players who committed under former head coach Frank Spaziani. The Eagles were also ranked last in the conference, and only two of the top-10 Rivals.com Massachusetts players committed to come to Chestnut Hill.
The strong recruiting push from the football coaching staff, as well as the ability to sell playing time with the team’s significant roster turnover, has led to drastic improvement for the 2014 class. BC moved up to 42nd in the national rankings-ahead of Texas Tech and behind Mississippi State-and eighth in the conference. BC was also able to secure commitments from six of the top 10 players in the Bay State. Seven new student-athletes are already on campus, having enrolled early to compete for playing time. This will give the entire coaching staff even more opportunities to assess how it can best utilize the new talent in the upcoming 2014 football season.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of a good college football program. Although ratings from recruiting services do not mean everything-BC regularly gives reminders that Matt Ryan and Luke Kuechly weren’t big-time recruits out of high school-they are still important and give a fairly accurate reflection of a class’s strength.
There was plenty of pressure on the coaching staff to deliver with this group of recruits. The outgoing senior class dominated at nearly every position on the field last year, and replacing those players won’t be easy. By bringing in a 30-person class that is projected to have promising upside, Addazio has set up the program to continue to build on last year’s surprising success.
Addazio’s recruits will address skill deficiencies throughout the team and will compete for starting positions on both sides of the ball. With the loss of seniors Chase Rettig, Nate Freese, Andre Williams, and others, key positions are up for grabs, and Addazio made his excitement for his first class very clear.
When Addazio took over, he pledged that recruiting-especially dominating the Northeast and building a wall around Massachusetts-would be a major focus for him and his staff. Yesterday was proof that he has, so far, followed through on that promise. His address sounded confident that these are the right student-athletes for BC, calling them students who want to get an elite degree and become a part of a championship team.
The next step comes in spring practice, as the staff will have to develop the new talent given what should be massive turnover among the starting 22 and the 2015 recruiting class, on which work has already been started.
Despite the promise in this year’s recruiting class, the challenge to win this fall might be as difficult as it was last fall, or even more so. Given BC’s treacherous back end of the season-including an away game against reigning National Champion Florida State-in order to finish next season with bowl eligibility and a good record, the Eagles will need to win early in the season and capitalize on their first five games, which are all in Massachusetts. This group of players will be tested greatly next season, but regardless, Addazio has helped the program with this recruiting class.