Right now, we’re almost four months into the 2014 college football recruiting cycle, and already we’re seeing many surprises. How about the fact that the Rice Owls have a higher ranked class than the defending Rose Bowl Champion Stanford Cardinal?
Heck, the Western Michigan Broncos have a class that’s more than three times the size of the South Carolina Gamecocks. But, in my humble opinion, the biggest surprise thus far have been the Boston College Eagles.
BC has never been known as powerhouses on the recruiting trail, despite its (overall) success the past decade. Remember, before 2011, the Eagles hadn’t had a losing season since 1998. Despite the team’s impressive record during that span (one conference championship and two divisional crowns), the Eagles only had one top-25 recruiting class (24th-ranked in 2002), according to rivals.com.
There are many reasons why the Eagles have never been dominant on the recruiting trail, a large factor being the surrounding prep talent level. One of the most important things to successful recruiting is locking down the local talent, but there’s not a whole lot to be had in New England. The talent that does rise up usually heads south for college. Perfect example of that? Aaron Hernandez.
Before starring for his hometown New England Patriots, he was the No. 1 tight end in the country coming out of high school in Connecticut (Bristol Central). Instead of picking BC, where he had once been committed, he fled south to play for the Florida Gators. Not being able to consistently bring in a class comparable to the upper echelon of ACC teams has constantly plagued BC and its coaches.
Enter new coach Steve Addazio, the very man who lured Hernandez to Florida. Six months later, the Eagles have a 19th-ranked class, ahead of the likes of Oklahoma, Georgia and Oregon: all schools who simply dominate in recruiting, year-in and year-out.
Is Addazio the reason for such a resurgence in recruiting? I don’t see how you could appropriately attribute BC’s success elsewhere. The Eagles have 10 verbal commitments for the 2014 class, with one 4-star prospect, eight 3-star prospects and one 2-star.
The beautiful thing? There’s a nice blend of local talent and national talent, which is exactly what Addazio needs to do for sustained success in Chestnut Hill.
Middle linebacker Connor Strachan, the top-ranked player in the class, is both a Massachusetts boy (St. Sebastians Country Day in Needham, MA), and a nationally-ranked player (rivals ranks him as the 179th best player nationally). 3-star athlete Cameron Seward is all the way from Atlanta, GA, but is still choosing the Eagles over closer schools like Mississippi State and North Carolina State.
As a whole, the Eagles have four prospects from Massachusetts, two from Pennsylvania, one from Connecticut, one from Delaware, one from Georgia and another from North Carolina. And to think, the Eagles haven’t even tapped into their Florida connection yet, where Addazio has contacts out the wazoo.
So yes, I think the BC Eagles are the surprise darlings of the 2014 recruiting class. A top-20 class (however early it still is) with a good blend of prospects both local and national is impressive, especially at Boston College.
The key now will be to not only keep up the success on the recruiting trail, but ultimately winning games again. That’s something BC has a long history of, and if this early recruiting success is any indication, it is something that should become common once again in Chestnut Hill.