Looking Towards the Future: 2011 Boston College Recruiting Class
It's only one game into the season and already, my mind is flooded with questions about the future. Thoughts of a graduating senior class and the holes they create permeate my brain as I ponder the potential prospects of subsequent Eagles teams. The date February 2, National Signing Day, lingers in my head. It sits there like an itch unable to be scratched.
I feel the same anxiety that they must feel in Pennsylvania on this very same day. Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? Or will we have an early summer? For Boston College, this day is a far cry from the spectacle put on at Alabama or Florida. There are no media frenzies as prospective players symbolically choose the ball cap of their future team. Instead, it is another day that typically goes under the radar.
While no players can sign on the dotted line until the first Wednesday of February, here is a list of players who have given a verbal commitment to coach Spaz and the Eagles. Without further ado, I present to you a list of what you can realistically expect from these athletes moving forward.
Manuel Asprilla, DB, Everett MA
With six seniors in the secondary, Asprilla will likely be one of many cornerbacks and/or safeties that flock to the Heights next September.
Ranked as the states 10th best corner, Boston College was the only major college to make an offer to Asprilla. Perhaps that is due to lack of size. Listed at 5'10" and 151 pounds, Asprilla will have to spend some serious time hitting the weights.
Asprilla would have been a solid find for a mid-major, but will likely struggle to find playing time at Boston College.
Kieran Borcich, DE, Bronxville New York
This may just be the top recruit in the class thus far. Ranked the second best player in the state of New York by Rivals.com, there are some high expectations set for Borcich.
The 6'3", 265 pound end impressed scouts with his speed after running a 4.7 second 40-yard dash. In fact, he spurned the likes of Florida State, Rutgers, and Stanford to join the Eagles.
With such limited depth along the defensive line, this signing is huge. With a college-ready physique, expect Borchich to log a few snaps as a freshman before competing for the starting job as a sophomore.
David Bowen, OT, Radnor ME
The Eagles coaching staff must see something in Bowen that other teams don't. I mean look at their competition. Bowen received his other offers from Temple, Towson, and Monmouth. I didn't even realize Towson and Monmouth had football programs!
Of course, when it comes to scouting offensive line talent, BC is unparalleled around the country. The 6'6", 256 pound Bowen has only recently started playing football. Furthermore, the Eagles believe with this added weight, Bowen could be an impact player in the trenches. Here's to hoping they are right again.
Alex Howell, K, Florence SC
It's tough to get fired up about a kicker. Especially when you consider BC currently starts a freshman at the position. Alex Howell however, may just be the type of kicker worth getting excited about.
Why? ESPN ranks him as the fifth best kicker in the nation. Although the Eagles will graduate neither of their kickers, both the current kicker and punter may be out of a job next season.
The 6'4", Howell has a strong leg, a repeatable kicking motion, and offers fantastic hang time on punts. His arrival on campus is surprising, but Howell should help improve a mediocre Boston College special teams group.
Nick Lifka, ILB, Naperville IL
As if we needed any more depth at linebacker, in walks Nick Lifka. With Luke Kuechly at middle linebacker, the Eagles have a sophomore who finished second amongst FBS players in tackles last season. On the outside, the Eagles start true freshman Kevin Pierre-Louis.
So is the addition of Lifka overkill? Maybe, but you can never have too much depth. The 6'3", 235 pound linebacker chose BC despite an offer from perennial powerhouse LSU. Lifka ranks as the 29th best inside linebacker according to ESPN, but then again, Kuechly was only ranked 19.
The Naperville product has great size for the position and is more adept at stopping the run than dropping back in coverage. Despite good speed, Lifka lacks great quickness, but should be a valuable cog moving forward.
Brian Mihalik, DE, Avon Lake OH
Mihalik is a bit of a conundrum. At 6'7", he sports an impressive 4.49 shuttle time and an equally remarkable 31-inch vertical. Unfortunately at only 233 pounds, Mihalik has a lot of bulking up to do. In fact, questions have already arisen about whether a change of position is necessary.
Despite the Eagles glaring hole on the defensive line, Mihalik is gifted with the great size and athleticism necessary to play tight end. Regardless of what position he opts for, Mihalik has innate athleticism and a striking frame that make him a player to watch out for.
Brian Miller, TE, Andover MA
Believe it or not, this local kid is a huge coup. Not only does Miller rank as the eighth best tight end in the country (according to Rivals.com rankings), but he also ranks as the top overall prospect in the state.
The 6'4", 220 pounder signed with BC in April after turning down offers from Miami, Clemson, Penn State, Michigan, and many more. The Eagles have a terrific talent with sophomore Chris Pantale. Miller though, projects to be more of a pass catching tight end while Pantale thrives in his role as a blocking end.
Miller is an All-American player who should help the Eagles as they continue their rich tradition of tight end play.
Max Ricci, DT, Groton MA
The first thing that you notice about Ricci is his size: his massive, colossal size. After all, you don't find many 6'4", 345 pound high schoolers outside a sumo-wrestling training camp.
So what does this behemoth nose tackle bring to the Eagles? Aside from the depth he provides, Ricci offers the opportunity for the Eagles to switch defenses in the future. A man of Ricci's stature is perfect for the 3-4 defense, and with so much depth, youth and talent at the linebacker position, that is a legitimate option for the future.
After losing B.J. Raji and Ron Brace two years ago, BC has lacked a gap stuffer like Ricci. Good to see that hole has been filled.
Graham Stewart, ILB, Middletown CT
You know how I have been harping on the Eagles depth at linebacker? I hope you finally see what I am talking about. Coach Spaz is a former defensive coordinator with a forte in run stuffing. He loves linebackers like Joanie loves Chachi.
That being said, Stewart is the perfect addition to this young Eagles linebacking core. Rivals.com ranks the Connecticut product as the 14th best inside backer, and as the states' top overall player. Stewart had always dreamed of playing in the ACC, so he turned down the likes of Iowa and Connecticut to join the Eagles.
At 6'1", 216, Stewart has decent size, but it is his 4.5 second 40 time that really impresses. With that type of speed, don't be surprised to see Stewart playing on the outside during his time in Chestnut Hill.
Christian Suntrup, QB, St. Louis MO
Last year the Eagles stunned many by landing All-American quarterback Chase Rettig. Rettig joined a crowded quarterback picture with sophomores David Shinskie and Mike Marcovetra—not to mention converted fullback Cody Boek. That makes this signing all the more astounding.
Suntrup is the nation's 16th ranked QB according to Rivals (although ESPN ranks him much lower at 45). Despite living in Big 12 country, Suntrup passed on offers from Kansas and Nebraska to play for Coach Spaz.
While Suntrup will probably struggle to get playing time behind the aforementioned QB's, he is the perfect fit for the Boston College offense. Suntrup is a pro-style QB whose roll-outs and play-action passes match up well with the Eagles brand of run-heavy football.
Sunstrup will almost definitely redshirt as a freshman, as at least three quarterbacks will sit above him on the depth chart. Luckily for BC, this type of QB quagmire is a nice problem to have.
Connor Wujciak, DE, West Orange NJ
The Eagles continue their trend of scouting well in the nation’s most densely populated state with the addition of Wujciak. His name may not be easy on the eyes, but his game certainly is.
The 6'3", 250 pound end ranks as the 22nd best DE according to Rivals (and 39 according to ESPN). Co-Jciak chose Boston College over an offer from Notre Dame, quickly validating him in my book.
Moreover, the success of his older brother Alex (a linebacker at Maryland) bodes well for the future of this young man. In 2008, the older Wujciak finished second in the ACC with 133 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, and 8.5 tackles for a loss.
With this type of pedigree, I wouldn't be surprised to see Wujciak fill the pass rushing void that has plagued the Eagles these past two seasons.
Assessment and Overview
In total, the Eagles have 11 players committed to play next year. With four defensive ends, they have most assuredly addressed their main concern.
Unfortunately, there are other voids yet to have been addressed. Colin Larmond will re-join the receiving corps next season, but the wide receiver position remains a question mark. Also, with so many upcoming losses to the secondary, the Eagles will need to land more than one defensive back.
Other than that, BC has done a nice job of recruiting the past few years and has plenty of young talent on both sides of the ball. I have nothing but upbeat feelings about this program as we move into a new decade.