After a lengthy wait that began when Boston College football left Dallas a few hours early due to the cancellation of the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, we finally have a game week again. With that comes the release of the team’s initial depth chart. While many positions solidified starters, there were still some interesting developments. Here’s how things shook out on the offensive side of the ball.
Anthony Brown begins his third year as the Eagles’ starter as he aims to continue to improve under center. As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Brown threw 11 touchdowns to nine interceptions and completed 51 percent of his passes, posting a 103.5 passer rating. This past season, Brown nearly doubled his scoring output as he threw 20 touchdowns while also posting a career-high 55.4 completion percentage and raising his passer rating to 134.8. Dennis Grosel and Matt Valecce, who battled throughout camp for the second-team reps, were listed as backups. Both enter the 2019 season having not taken a collegiate snap, as last season’s backups EJ Perry and Matt McDonald both transferred this offseason.
Preseason All-ACC selection A.J. Dillon will once again be the team’s workhorse. He struggled with injuries last season, playing 10 games, but still averaged 22.7 carries and cleared 1,000 yards for the second year in a row. Dillon’s understudy David Bailey earned the backup nod, and they form a formidable 1-2 punch. Bailey enjoyed a strong spring and will look to carry that over to the fall, especially as he can provide Dillon a break. The two have a similar style as Bailey stands an inch taller and 10 pounds lighter than his junior counterpart. Bailey saw action in five games as a freshman, recording 57 carries for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Eagles are blessed with a deep tight end room, as four players are listed with “OR” next to them. They’re taking a big hit with the loss of Tommy Sweeney to the NFL—he finished second on the team with 32 receptions for 348 yards and two touchdowns—but have the depth to overcome it. Graduate students Chris Garrison and Jake Burt, senior Korab Idrizi, and redshirt sophomore Hunter Long will all see time on the field. Behind Sweeney, Idrizi was Brown’s second-favorite tight end to target last year, as he had 13 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown. Long was a big-play threat last season, hauling in four catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Garrison (five catches, 55 yards) and Burt (six catches, 83 yards, touchdown) are also receiving options in the two-tight end offense.
X (Wide Receiver)
Kobay White returns as the team’s leading receiver and has an established connection with Brown. White had 33 catches for 526 yards last season and has excellent hands and a strong ability to rise up and highpoint the ball. He averaged 15.94 yards per catch and racked up three touchdowns, too. More surprising, though, is the name listed after White, Travis Levy. The 5-foot-11 junior was a backup running back for much of last year, but he trained as a wide receiver this offseason, and it’s not as if he hasn’t already displayed catching ability. Last season, he was sixth on the team in receiving yards and fourth in receptions. Expect this position to see most of Brown’s targets.
Z (Wide Receiver)
Another all-purpose player in Ben Glines gets the nod at the other wide receiver position. Glines has shown his ability to do it all the last few seasons for the Eagles, whether it’s taking handoffs or running routes. Glines really broke out last year, going from 83 all-purpose yards in 2017 to almost 600 in 2018. He had four receiving touchdowns and three on the ground and will look to build on those numbers this year. His backup is a true freshman that has wowed many throughout the preseason: Zay Flowers. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound speedster is also listed on special teams and has the potential for some highlight-reel plays.
The biggest headline out of this position during training camp was that Tyler Vrabel, a redshirt freshman, won the starting left tackle job. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound son of NFL head coach and former player Mike Vrabel will be protecting Brown’s blind side and making his collegiate debut against Virginia Tech. He’ll be playing side-by-side with another relatively new face on the line in graduate left guard Anthony Palazzolo, who saw time the last two years on special teams and as a reserve offensive lineman.
The starting center job went to Alec Lindstrom, the younger brother of now-Atlanta Falcons right guard Chris Lindstrom. Alec saw time last season mostly as a long snapper, but did start at center after Jon Baker was hurt and played a pair of games. On the right side of the line, BC has plenty of talent in the duo of John Phillips at guard and Ben Petrula at tackle. Phillips has played at least 11 games in each of the last three seasons, while Petrula stepped up to play center as a true freshman then became an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection at right tackle the following season. Petrula also has the highest amount of starts of any BC player with 24.
Should injuries befall the Eagles, there’s a good amount of depth for Addazio to work with. Davidson transfer Zion Johnson is listed as the backup at both left tackle and guard, while promising prospect Finn Dirstine appears on the left guard chart as well. The backup center is Dwayne Scott, a graduate transfer from Rhode Island, while Hayden Mahoney—a Miami transfer—is the backup at both right guard and tackle.
To no surprise, experienced Temple transfer Aaron Boumerhi won the starting job over Danny Longman and John Tessitore. With Longman and Tessitore both wrestling with inexperience, it’ll be a relief for BC fans to see a talented graduate transfer step right into the void left by Colton Lichtenberg, who was inconsistent as well. The punter will be Grant Carlson for the second straight year, while Longman will handle kickoffs. True freshman Aidan Livingston, a product of Huntington Beach, Calif., and an unranked recruit, will handle long snapping duties.
The biggest storyline on special teams—aside from Boumerhi stepping in—was what the Eagles were going to do about the loss of dynamic special teamer Michael Walker. Now with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, Walker returned almost 90 percent of opponent kickoffs and punts last season. Addazio will turn to Levy—who hasn’t returned either while at BC, per cfbstats.com—as the starter on both. On kickoffs, he’ll be joined by Glines and Flowers on the depth chart, while on punts it’s White and Flowers.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff
Updated, 3:38 p.m. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Addazio hadn’t chosen a backup quarterback. Instead, BC chooses to not release that information ahead of the season.