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Boston College Football 2022: Breakout Players (Offense)

Three Eagles on offense that could take major steps forward in 2022

Perhaps the truest aphorism in college football is "expect the unexpected." This may not apply to who will appear in or win the national championship, but it applies to almost everything else. Every season, unexpected players make their mark on a season for every team. In 2020, Josh DeBerry established himself as a major player for the Eagles' defense, even when some outlets questioned what he brought to the team. In 2021, Pat Garwo seized the lead running back job and never let go. Listed below are three players that could be the next breakout players for Boston College. 

XavierColeman

Going into last season, Boston College fans figured to see a rotation in the backfield. Veteran Travis Levy returned, along with the younger Pat Garwo III, and transfer Alec Sinkfield. All three backs performed well, but Garwo seized the starting running back role early in the year. This year, Levy is off to try his fortunes in the NFL, but Garwo and Sinkfield remain. Their shares of duties figure to be relatively the same, with Garwo being the lead back and Sinkfield serving as the third-down and change-of-pace back.

However, there is another player that should find a way into the rotation. Xavier Coleman redshirted in 2021 as he bulked up to acclimate to college football and the coaching staff debated what to do with him. He played in four games in 2021, appearing on offense in three of them. But in 2022, Coleman should play a much more significant role in the offense. He’s exceptionally undersized for a running back (5’7”, 179 lbs), even a college one, so he will not take away carries from Garwo.

Instead, Coleman will be a versatile weapon that should help open up the offense. He has the athletic ability to split out as a wide receiver and be a threat in the passing game. Coleman could serve as a hybrid type of player that can exploit mismatches and independently create explosive plays. He probably won’t get as much playing time as Sinkfield but could get more touches than him by the end of the season.

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tajijohnson

Like some other players on this list, Taji Johnson has been a spring practice/game phenom for multiple seasons. At 6’3” and 216 pounds, Johnson is far and away the largest wide receiver for Boston College. He provides a distinctly different skill set than anyone else at his position, such that he occasionally lined up at tight end last year. However, in three seasons at BC, Johnson has only taken 55 snaps on offense and earned only one target.

Nevertheless, I expect Johnson to take on a much bigger role this season. With CJ Lewis gone, there is a hole in the Eagles’ offense at the X-receiver position. Jaden Williams occasionally fills that distinction but I do not think he is a natural fit there and he faded as the season went on. Jurkovec likes throwing deep balls and asking his receivers to make contested catches. This is where Johnson should excel. I hope that by midseason, Johnson has a tight hold as the WR3 on this team in terms of targets. He should be a dynamic weapon in the red zone as well.

OzzyTrapilo

It is quite difficult to quantify a good year for an offensive lineman. They don’t have any stats, and they are tracked almost solely in terms of their bad plays. But Ozzy Trapilo is poised to be the next great offensive lineman and have a breakout season. Trapilo redshirted in 2020 and expected to be a backup behind a veteran offensive line in 2021. But due to injuries, he got the chance to start two games late in the season. He made one start at each guard spot against Virginia Tech and Florida State.

Trapilo should start at offensive tackle this season, which makes more sense given his height. Given that Jack Conley started multiple games at left tackle last year, he probably has the initial claim on that position. But if Conley struggles like he did last year, they could switch spots. Trapilo looks to be an excellent athlete, which makes him an ideal candidate to start at left tackle. By the end of this season, I expect Ozzy Trapilo’s name to appear on an All-ACC team.