Under new head coach Steve Addazio, the Boston College Eagles were one of the surprise teams in the ACC last year, thanks largely to Heisman finalist Andre Williams. Former coach Frank Spaziani did not leave a ton of talent for Addazio to work with, but Williams’ 2,000+ rushing yards carried the Eagles to a 7-6 record and four wins in the ACC.
Replacing Williams’ production will be priority No. 1 for Addazio this season. Fortunately, he has quite a few backs that should be able to help.
Sophomore Myles Willis should take over the starting job. While the Eagles mostly relied on Williams to power their rushing attack last season, Willis did manage to rush for 346 yards on 60 carries (5.8 ypc).
Unlike Williams, who was something of a bruiser, Willis is more diminutive. He is listed at 5’9, 192 lbs, which is about two inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than Williams was. It is unlikely that Willis will be able to sustain the number of carries that the Eagles gave Williams last year, so BC will likely transition to a two or three-headed rushing attack.
Tyler Rouse, another sophomore, should give the Eagles a second option. Rouse ran for 125 yards last season, but he is about the same size as Willis, and may not complement him as well as a larger running back would. So the Eagles may instead turn to true freshman Jonathan Hilliman as a second, or possibly even first, option. Hilliman was a 3-star prospect, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, and he picked the Eagles over offers from the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Ohio State Buckeyes and several other elite programs. Hilliman also offers the size (6’1, 210 pounds) that Willis and Rouse lack.
While Florida Gators transfer Tyler Murphy should give Boston College a more effective passing attack this season, Addazio is still going to want to run the football early and often. And while Willis, Rouse and Hilliman are all unlikely to replace Williams’ production as individuals, they should give the Eagles a fearsome running attack as a group.