Almost exactly one year ago, Boston College football head coach Jeff Hafley scrambled to sign an early crop of recruits that he, having been hired just days prior, had almost no time to put together. The early signing period brought in just nine players, seven fewer than the previous year, and was ranked dead last in the ACC.
What a difference a year makes. The Eagles signed 25 players on Wednesday, a class that ranks 39th in the nation and ninth in the ACC, according to 247Sports. Both marks are higher than any BC class under Steve Addazio, and the highest since the Eagles’ haul in 2011.
In his signing day press conference on Wednesday, Hafley stressed how important the incoming group of strong players is for the culture of the program.
“We need more competition around here,” Hafley said. “Championship programs are built on competition at every position, and we just don’t have a lot of that right now, so we brought in a bunch of guys.”
The class is headlined by a strong crop of defensive talent. Clinton Burton Jr., a four-star cornerback from Baltimore, Md., is the top-rated player in BC’s class and the highest-rated player signed by the Eagles since offensive tackle Pat Sheil came to the Heights in 2005.
Burton Jr. is followed up by Bryce Steele, a high three-star inside linebacker from Raleigh, N.C.
“He’s a big, long guy that can run very, very fast, so I’m really excited to see what he can do,” Hafley said of Steele.
Size and speed were two of the main attributes Hafley and his staff looked for when evaluating recruits, he said.
“We’ll figure out where they’re best to play, but these are athletes with size [and] length that can run, and that’s really important,” Hafley said.
The class is set apart from previous BC signing days not just by its quality, but by its national scope. Addazio primarily recruited from the Northeast, with over two thirds of the recruits over his last three signing classes hailing from the Northeast. By comparison, just four of the 25 signees in this year’s haul came from the Northeast.
The Eagles brought in players from states such as Texas, California, and Georgia, recruiting hotbeds that had previously been largely uncharted territory for BC’s recruiters.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles signed quarterback Emmett Morehead and a pair of speedy running backs in Xavier Coleman and Lewis Bond. Morehead, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound pocket passer from Alexandria, Va., has some similarities to Phil Jurkovec with his size, arm strength, and ability to break tackles in the pocket.
Hafley also continued his success on the grad transfer market, as former Florida State safety Jaiden Lars-Woodbey announced on Wednesday that he would be joining the Eagles. Woodbey, who played three seasons in Tallahassee, was ranked the 35th-best player in the 2018 class and was named an ESPN Freshman All-American.
Despite the significant number of players already brought in during the early period, Hafley indicated that his staff would look to add more players during the second signing day in early February.
“Again, I think it’s a start,” Hafley said. “I think we’ll continue to work through this class and continue to get it better, but I love the kids we’ve brought in.”
Featured Image Courtesy of BC Athletics