Sports, Football, Top Story

In Death Valley, Dillon Becomes Program’s All-Time Leading Rusher

AJ Dillon is now the all-time leading rusher in Boston College football history. The junior running back entered Saturday night’s road game in Death Valley against No. 4 Clemson, needing just 75 yards break the program rushing record, and he got the job done in the third quarter.

Andre Williams—who rushed for 2,177 yards as a senior in 2013, en route to becoming a Heisman Trophy finalist—held the previous rushing yards record (3,739 career yards on the ground). Williams sat behind Montel Harris (now third on the all-time leading rusher list) as a freshman, and didn’t explode onto the national scene until his final year on campus before being selected by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Dillon, on the other hand, has been a star pretty much ever since he decided to flip his commitment from Michigan to BC. With the size of a linebacker and the speed of a running back, the New London, Conn., native became a household name as freshman. Dillon served as Jonathan Hilliman’s backup for much of the first half of the 2017 season, eclipsing the 100-yard mark just once in the opening six games of the year. Everything changed at Louisville, though.

In a game that seemingly turned around the Eagles’ season, Dillon rushed for a career-high 272 yards and four touchdowns, guiding BC to a 45-42 upset win. From that point forward, the then-freshman couldn’t be stopped. Leading BC to a 5-2 record in its final seven games, Dillon racked up a total of 1,256 yards on the ground during that span. He strung together five straight 100-yard games and logged a pair of 200-yard outings, earning ACC Rookie of the Year—an award that no other BC player has ever received.

Coming off his 14-touchdown, 1,589-yard freshman season, Dillon kicked off 2018 as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year and, according to many, a Heisman Trophy contender. But five games into the year, he suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss two games and leave the final four contests of the regular season early. Even so, he still managed to rush for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Dillon has bounced back from what he considered a down year, working in tandem with David Bailey to put together the country’s sixth-best run offense. He didn’t top the 100-yard mark in either of the Eagles’ first two games, but he has since strung together five consecutive performances of that kind, the first three of which resulted in ACC Running Back of the Week honors. A week ago, Dillon notched his third career 200-plus yard rushing day, piling up 223 yards and a trio of scores in a 45-24 rout of North Carolina State.

Dillon needs just one more rushing touchdown to surpass Keith Barnette (34) and one more total touchdown to move past William Green and Troy Stradford (both have 36) on BC’s all-time scoring chart.

The former four-star recruit came to BC to leave a mark on the program. Two and a half years later, he’s already done that and more.

Featured Image by Richard Shiro / AP Photo

October 26, 2019

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