April 8 MVP: MassVarsity Pre-and-Post

With Boston College spring practice wrapped up, we figured we'd throw out a position-by-position breakdown of what we saw, and how it will translate into the fall.

Let's get right into it.


Anthony Brown is the clear-cut starter, but as we mentioned in Saturday's notes from the spring game, it is not entirely certain who comes in after that. EJ Perry leads that group in experience, but don't be surprised to see Matt McDonald slide into that spot, with Matt Valecce making some moves, as well.

As for Brown, this should be his best season at The Heights. His accuracy — both downfield and in the intermediate range — is improved, and we can see that carrying over into the season.

Overall, you like the depth and talent at the position going forward.

Running back

You can make an argument that this is the strongest position group on the team, although the tight ends and offensive line may have something to say about that.

However, you can't have any issue with the statement that this unit has the best player on the team in starter AJ Dillon. Although he was held out of the spring game, Dillon dominated in practices we saw, and looks every bit the Heisman hopeful he's getting hyped as. Keep an eye out for him as a receiver, too, an element of his game that has improved each year at Chestnut Hill.

But it's the quality depth at this position that really makes this group special. Travis Levy will see his share of carries and opportunities in the passing game, while David Bailey showed in the spring game that he has improved speed to go along with his significant heft (6-feet, 240 pounds).

And how can BC fans not be excited about Javian Dayne's potential as yet another big back who can move? This is a loaded position for the Eagles.

Tight end

So much talent here, and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian will use as many players as possible with two- and three-tight end sets.

The most consistent performer in the spring has been former Lawrence Academy star and Goffstown, N.H. native Chris Garrison, but the Eagles have many players who flashed or already have plenty of experience under their belts.

Players like Hunter Long, Korab Idrizi, Ray Marten, and Jake Burt, among others, should also see plenty of snaps.

Even after losing Tommy Sweeney to the NFL, this will be one of the strongest, if not the strongest, groups of tight ends in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Wide receiver

This unit has a nice mix of experienced playmakers and younger faces who will emerge over the course of the season.

Your top two guys are probably Ben Glines, who had a terrific spring and will also play some running back, and Kobay White, who has been a consistent performer ever since he stepped on campus.

After that, right now you look at players like Elijah Robinson, CJ Lewis, and Noah Jordan-Williams as the next ones in, with Christian McStravick in that mix, too.

True freshman Ethon Williams has terrific hands, and redshirt freshman Jehlani Galloway flashed at times in the spring, as well.

Offensive line

We've mentioned it before a few times, but even with the losses up front to graduation, this will still be one of the best fronts on the team and in the ACC.

Ben Petrula really anchors the unit after making the switch from right to left tackle, while center Alec Lindstrom and right guard John Phillips also have a fair amount of experience.

Left guard Anthony Palazzolo has waited his turn to start and the senior made the most of it this spring, and right tackle Tyler Vrabel, just a redshirt freshman, could be a future star.

There is enough depth here to be happy with, as well, and the arrival of Miami transfer Hayden Mahoney will only bolster that.

Defensive line

As Addazio stated Saturday, this is where the team will need its biggest area of improvement in order to get to where it wants to go.

Right now, the Eagles need to develop a pass rush at the end spots that can replace the losses of Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray, and that is a work in progress. Former Lawrence Academy star and Wayland native Joey Luchetti showed some promise in that regard in the spring game with three sacks, and players like Brandon Barlow and Marcus Valdez will be counted on for that, as well.

The tackles also need to develop a little more to Addazio's liking. Players like Jaleel Berry, Kyiev Bennermon, TJ Rayam, and Izaiah Henderson all flashed in the spring, but overall the unit did not hold up well against the offensive line at the point of attack for the greater portion of the spring.

Henderson, a true freshman, offers some versatility as someone who can also play strongside end, and it will be interesting to see how much he contributes. Addazio said Saturday that he will see the field this year.


Once Isaiah McDuffie returns from injury, you'll like this group even more, but at present, this is still a group that had a solid spring.

Davon Jones, John Lamot, and Max Richardson were your starters in the 4-3 base set all spring. When McDuffie returns, you've got four players who are either juniors, redshirt juniors, or, in Jones' case, a senior, locking down the front-end spots.

That's exactly the type of experience you want, even though it won't be easy to replace a player like Connor Strachan.

Richardson had one of the best springs out of any defensive player, and the Eagles look pretty set there.

Defensive backs

This, again, is more of a reloading than a rebuilding situation, as the Eagles are replacing good players with more good players.

The cornerback room boasts a nice blend of skill and potential in Brandon Sebastian, Tate Haynes, and Elijah Jones. Don't forget about Jason Maitre, too, who sat out the spring with an injury. This is a younger group that may go through some growing pains against the better teams on the schedule, but it is talented.

Mehdi El-Attrach, Mike Palmer, and Nolan Borgersen are all either juniors or seniors, so their starting inexperience isn't as big of a concern.

Special teams

Punter Grant Carlson returns, so the position battle to replace kicker Colton Lichtenberg between Danny Longman and John Tessitore is ongoing. Longman attempted a 52-yarder in the spring game that fell short and is probably the guy there.

Keep an eye on Maitre as a punt returner when he gets healthy, but players like Glines, Borgersen, and Palmer are all ones to watch in the return game, as well.

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