DANVERS — Traveled up to St. John's Prep on Wednesday to do an article for the Boston Herald on the back-to-back Division 1 state champs.
The Eagles are happy to be back on the field, and we wanted to share a few observations from the team's first practice of the season.
— Obviously, on a day where the team is just doing walkthrough-type activity, you're not going to be able to tell a whole lot. That said, we can be pretty confident in the assertion that junior running back James Guy is primed to build on some promising freshman and sophomore campaigns. It is evident that Guy has been in the weight room, as he is considerably more filled out than he was at this time last year. In 2019, he battled injuries before getting hot at the end of the season. The Prep will be balanced, but Guy's running will be key to the offense. It will be fun to see how he develops over the course of the next two seasons.
— Collin Taylor, the senior defensive end, looks terrific, and Princeton got a good one in the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder. Taylor has been a mainstay on the defense since his sophomore year, and his experience will be critical on a defense that has a lot of new faces. Last year, Taylor filled in at times on the offensive line, but we are not sure at this point whether he will reprise that role. Overall, the Prep has been rock solid on defense in recent years, and we don't expect that to change. With Taylor acting as the consummate pass rusher, the Eagles have someone up front who can just wreak havoc.
— This will be a very good team that is capable of winning the Catholic Conference, but there are concerns. The quarterback position is still undecided. Matt Crowley (Tufts) did a lot of nice things for coach Brian St. Pierre, and he will not be easily replaced. Overall, this is a young team by Prep standards. St. Pierre calls the Eagles "a development program" that relies on upperclassmen, but there will not be as big a senior presence as usual. Of course, the juniors and under who will be seeing time are talented, but it is just a slightly younger group than St. Pierre is used to trotting out.