Sports, Football

Hafley Emphasizes Individuality and Hard Work in Recruiting Process

Over a month after Jeff Hafley began building his new coaching staff for Boston College football, his 2020 program was nearly complete. With each of the new coaches out across the country recruiting, the team itself began to take shape. In a press conference hosted on Wednesday afternoon, Hafley discussed the process by which he and his colleagues recruited for the upcoming season.

He noted that his first group of incoming recruits was especially small, and that was intentional. Even with those that left the team, whether through graduation or otherwise, BC has a good team with players including Kobay White, Max Richardson, and Hunter Long returning for another year. The most significant additions to the team, including Phil Jurkovec and Jiovanny Holmes, are coming to the Heights as supplements to what the Eagles have, not as replacements. 

“We wanted to find a quarterback to make that room more competitive,” Hafley said regarding the Eagles’ pursuit of Jurkovec.

The question surrounding Jurkovec remains to be whether or not he will be eligible to play next season for the Eagles. According to Hafley, the waiver has been submitted, and now all the team can do is wait. He went on to say that “[the team will] have a plan,” regardless of whether or not the former Notre Dame quarterback is eligible come next fall. 

Aside from Jurkovec, the Eagles still have multiple viable options for QB in the lineup, including Dennis Grosel and newly committed Matthew Rueve. And when asked what the competition in the QB room may be like, Hafley said he would be open-minded regarding the position. 

“I think it’s going to look like every spot on our roster,” Hafley said. “We have not seen many of these guys live yet. Certainly, there are guys that are four-year starters that are going to be ahead. … Guys are going to get reps, and we’re going to play the best guy who shows us that he gives us the best chance to win.”

Hafley also said that he sought to prioritize the individuals over statistics when seeking new players for the program. 

“I made it the first priority to let them know I wanted to meet their families and welcome them and really thank them for honoring their commitment and really be a part of this,” said Hafley. “It was important for me to meet their family so they could see who they were coming to work with and be part of.”

In addition to traveling to meet each of the recruits, Hafley invited them and their families to campus for a weekend so they could get a feel for the environment and see if BC would truly be a place where they wanted to play. 

“If there’s a kid that’s eight hours away and we love his tape but there’s a kid half an hour away and we get to know him, we’ve got to take the kid that’s half an hour away, and we have to do our homework,” Hafley said regarding recruiting players from more local schools.

Hafley stated that the program needs to take advantage of the incredible local talent and do a better job evaluating more than just their film. Local players have more opportunities in the sense that they can come by campus more to get to know the program or visit for a camp.

The coaching staff is also looking toward the future of the program, looking to see how they can improve in both their recruiting process and their relationships with those individuals, Hafley  said. 

“[Once the 2020 recruits were signed], we kind of put those guys over to the side, and then we started the 2021[recruits], and it’s the same thing with the process of watching the tape for ourselves and … then going out and asking coaches about those players and then getting them on the phone,” Hafley said.

The coaching staff was very aggressive on the road, Hafley said, often visiting school early in the morning to catch the players during or before their workouts. Hafley said that while this aggressive nature was not something he required, it sent a message to their recruits that the program is passionate, hungry, and ready to work to get things done.

As for what’s next on his agenda, Hafley looks to the upcoming spring football season.

“We’re going to get around our players, which is awesome, which is why we’re here,” Hafley  said. “I’m excited to meet them more, get to know them more and start to be part of their lives. I can’t wait for that first practice to get coaching again.”

Featured Image by Josh Reynolds / AP Photo

February 5, 2020