By Kevin J. Stone
From the moment new head coach Jeff Hafley was introduced, there has been a buzz around the Boston College football program that hasn’t been there in quite some time.
Whether it’s on social media, or informal offseason work outs, the anticipation for 2020 is palpable from fans and players alike — and we haven’t even gotten through the NFL Draft or spring ball yet.
On Thursday afternoon, Kobay White, Max Richardson and Hunter Long along with new highly-touted quarterback transfer Phil Jurkovec were on hand to speak to the media and give some insight on what things have been like during the first few weeks of the Hafley era.
For Long, the tight end room is now going to be his in terms of a leadership role, and with the help of Hafley and other coaches, Long is ready to help bring the Eagles to that elusive next level.
“There’s a lot of excitement around the program with the new coaches, people coming back, so the program is definitely moving in the right direction and it’s cool to see from the players’ perspective,” Long said. “It’s definitely going to be weird (with different faces in the tight end room). The guys (that are leaving or graduated) were mentors for me for a long time and really close friends, so it’ll definitely be different not having them out there with me.
“I think I’m definitely ready for the next step to lead the tight end room and kind of bring this team along.”
Of course, with a new head coach comes tough decisions about whether to stay with the program or seek better opportunities. For Richardson and White, it’s all about unfinished business and the relationships they’ve built.
“I think because of how good of a relationship I have with my teammates and my other linebackers, we have a good group and we’re planning on having a huge year,” Richardson said. “So I think the relationships I've built here — and I've fallen in love with Boston College — at the end of the day it was a decision that I made because of the relationships I've made here and I want to continue those relationships.”
White entered the transfer portal, but ultimately decided to continue wearing the maroon and gold.
“I talked to my family about it, and they already knew that — I told them it would be hard for me to eventually leave BC just because of the relationships I've built here,” said White. “I’m a huge competitor and I feel like we still have some unfinished business. But, I did also think I owed myself the chance to just kind of explore what was out there, but at the end of the day I just had a bunch of people telling me to follow my heart and my heart was screaming BC.”
Jurkovec — who wasn’t recruited by Boston College during his high school days — had two big factors that ultimately led him to become an Eagle.
“The two criteria I was looking at when making a choice where to go was the coaches — ones that were going to believe in me — and development,” Jurkovec explained. “I think I've got a lot of room to grow and that’s what I found with coach Hafley and (offensive coordinator Frank) Cignetti.”
With the spring game scheduled for April 4, there’s plenty of time for relationships to continue to grow and for Hafley and his staff to continue making a strong impression on the Eagles, but there’s no doubt the 2020 team will be playing with the same chip on their shoulder that Hafley has had his whole career, and expectations at the Heights may be soaring to new levels.