Steve Addazio’s first recruiting class is officially in, and the Boston College football head coach plans to feature many of the new student-athletes next fall.
“We’re going to be a very young football team next year, and we’re going to play a lot of young players,” Addazio said in a teleconference on Wednesday, National Signing Day. “That’s a good thing, and we’ll build for the future that way.”
Since arriving in Chestnut Hill, Addazio has stressed the need to dominate Massachusetts recruiting and then build BC’s recruiting footprint outward. With many of his recruits coming from the New England area-seven of whom hail from the Bay State-his first class is a leap in that direction.
“We want to make sure that we get the best players out of the state of Massachusetts,” Addazio said. “I mean, we’re building a fence. I said that when I took this job in my first press conference, and I’m sticking to it.”
In total, Addazio brought in 14 defensive recruits-six linemen, four line- backers, and four defensive backs. The defensive side of the local recruiting crop is highlighted by Connor Strachan, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound middle linebacker out of St. Sebastian’s, and Isaac Yiadom, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound defensive back from Doherty Memorial High School-players Addazio said could make an impact immediately. Looking outside of Massachusetts, Ty Schwab, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound linebacker and Harold Landry, a 6-foot-3,
258-pound defensive end, are primed to play in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s aggressive defense right away.
“I would say you’re going to see a large portion of these guys on the field, I mean, quickly,” Addazio said.
In the 2013 season, Addazio found success on offense with former head coach Frank Spaziani holdovers Chase Rettig, Ian White, Alex Amidon, Nate Freese, and Andre Williams, to name a few. Signing 16 offensive players-five offensive linemen, three running backs, three wide receivers, two quarterbacks, two athletes, one tight end, and Mike Knoll-a kicker/ punter-Addazio will begin to mold his own players to an offensive plan focused on power and versatility.
“We have an identity and we’ll keep-you know, that being big and physical and the ability to run it-we won’t lose that, but we’ll add in some spread option components and some more spread sets and throw games, we’ll add that to it, but we’re not going to lose our identity,” Addazio said. “But we’re going to give the defense more conflict and make them defend the whole field more.”
True freshman running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse played well at times when assisting Williams last year, but they’ll face immediate competition from backs Jon Hilliman and Marcus Outlow. Hailing from NJ, 6-foot, 215-pound Hilliman was Saint Peter’s Prep’s first 2,000-yard rusher and ran for 15 touchdowns his senior year of high school. Outlow rushed for 983 yards and 17 touchdowns during his senior season at Norwich Free Academy and is a similiarly sized runner at 6-foot, 210 pounds.
“These guys are going to come in here and they’re very talented,” Addazio said. “They’re coming in to carry the rock, and they’ll be able to do that.”
With four-year starting quarterback Rettig gone, and Addazio planning to explore long-time backup Josh Bordner’s potential as a hybrid wide receiver and special teams member, early-enrollee Darius Wade, University of Florida transfer Tyler Murphy, and freshman quarterback James Walsh will compete for the starting quarterback job and take the majority of snaps this spring.
In his senior year, Wade threw for 1,933 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for 197 yards on 49 attempts. In four years of high school ball, Wade made 45 consecutive starts, scored 100 career touchdowns, and racked up 7,778 passing yards.
“Darius is already here and just watching Darius, I mean I’ve gotta tell you, I’m so impressed with Darius,” Addazio said. “He is a big-time guy. He carries himself-his leadership is incredible.”
At Florida, Murphy started six games in 2013, throwing for 1,126 yards and six touchdowns and rushing for 270 yards and three touchdowns.
“They’re [Wade and Murphy] both very athletic guys,” Addazio said. “Both guys throw the ball well, run the ball well, and are dynamic players, and both have really good arms. Obviously Tyler is an older guy, is a fifth-year player, and Darius is coming in as a mid-semester senior, but both those guys are really super guys that you can tell have great leadership qualities, but they’re dynamic athletes.”
While the starter under center will remain uncertain for the time being, one of the players protecting him will likely be offensive lineman Ian Silberman, another transfer from Florida. At 6-foot-5, 303-pounds, Silberman will provide depth on the line and SEC experience.
Addazio’s first recruiting class is a talented group and a step up from the past few years-but if the Eagles plan on playing in the postseason next season, that group will need to find its legs quickly and win early, as there is little margin for error in a schedule that features Louisville, Florida State, and Syracuse down the stretch.
“My mindset is to play this class,” Addazio said. “Does that mean everyone of them is going to play right away? No, but my mindset is to play this class.”
An earlier version of this article listed Ty Schwab as weighing 280 pounds. The article now accurately reflects that Schwab weighs 208 pounds.