With Boston College's season over, we thought it might be time to take a look back at the Eagles' 2018 in terms of what went right, what went wrong, and what to look forward to in the coming year.
Here is a quick overview.
Best offensive player: Guard Chris Lindstrom. It might be strange to put an offensive lineman in this spot, but if we are going to be fair, he was the most consistent force on that side of the ball all season, especially if you factor in injuries to other players. He did not give up a sack, and the senior from Dudley made his living pulling around the line and pancaking opponents. At 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, he will likely get drafted, and it's hard not to envision a productive pro career for the Shepherd Hill alum.
Best defensive player: Defensive end Zach Allen. Although there were a number of high-quality defenders on this squad, it was Allen who brought the most punishing plays to opposing offenses week-in, week-out. He finished the season with 61 total tackles, with 6.5 sacks, and 15 tackles for loss. He paired with fellow defensive end Wyatt Ray to form one of the top edge combos in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Allen will likely be a high draft pick next spring.
Most exciting offensive player: Running back AJ Dillon. Even with the ankle injury that bumped him out of the best offensive player category, Dillon has no peer when it comes to who the most exciting player was when the offense took the field. The sophomore still rushed for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns on 227 attempts, good for 4.9 yards per carry. Every time Dillon touched the ball, it felt like he could take it to the house. So long as he stays healthy, don't expect that to change next year.
Most exciting defensive player: Cornerback Hamp Cheevers. This was almost a no-contest. Cheevers did not come into the season with much hype, but the junior cornerback finished the season with seven interceptions, tied for the best mark in the country. A year ago, Everett native and safety Lukas Denis pulled the same feat, and now Cheevers finds himself as the team's chief turnover machine. He also broke up seven passes, and is sure to get the cold shoulder from quarterbacks next season.
Team high-water mark: Michael Walker's 74-yard punt return for a touchdown against Clemson. On Nov. 10, BC took a 7-3 lead over a Clemson team that will be playing for the national title against Alabama next week after Walker's long return. Clemson went on to win and give BC its third loss, but it was during a weekend that College GameDay came to Chestnut Hill, and in front of a sold-out crowd. When Walker broke into the clear and raced over the goal-line, the BC fans erupted in a way they had not quite done all season. It was a special moment.
Toughest loss: Florida State's 22-21 win over the Eagles in Tallahassee. One really has to wonder what happens to the Eagles if they held on and won this, but a 74-yard touchdown pass from Deondre Francois to Tamorrion Terry spurred on Florida State's late comeback win. The feeling here is that this loss emotionally hit the Eagles so hard that it may have carried over into the following week's loss to Syracuse. Either way, it was a crusher of a defeat.
Outlook for 2019: Positionally, the Eagles should be all set at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and even with the loss of Tommy Sweeney, tight end. However, the offensive line loses most of its starters, so that will be a focus in the spring and fall camp. On defense, the linebackers and secondary have a solid group returning. However, the defensive line will need new faces to step up, especially with the loss of Allen and Ray affecting the pass rush. Overall, there is reason for optimism, especially with the talent at the skill positions.