With More Balance On The Horizon, A 2020 Preview of BC's Wide Receivers
Boston College's offense will certainly look different in 2020. No matter what system Jeff Hafley and Frank Cignetti Jr. install, there certainly will be more emphasis on the wide receivers and passing game. Because of the reliance on the run, we have yet to see what the WR's are truly capable of producing. Today we are going to preview a position that could be a real revelation this season.
Returning Players: Kobay White (Sr.), Zay Flowers (So.), CJ Lewis (Jr.), Ethon Williams (So.), Jehlani Galloway (So.), Bryce Sebastian (R-Fr.), Noah Jordan Williams (Jr.)
Newcomers: Taji Johnson (Fr.), Justin Bellido (Fr.)
Transfer Portal Target: Tarik Black (currently no news on this, but important to remember there are no set dates for transferring). Just for clarity I am going to write this entire preview as if he is not going to be on the team. If Black does transfer to BC, there will be a new post updating this.
Departures: Ben Glines, Elijah Robinson
Expectations: BC's leading wide receiver Kobay White entered the transfer portal in January and then removed his name returning to Chestnut Hill. This was huge news for the Eagles as White is a top end wide receiver when utilized, something the new coaching staff must know. Zay Flowers and his role on this team will be interesting storyline to watch. His primary role last season was the jet sweeps and end arounds, but there is certainly more there that a good offense can utilize. Against VT last year he scorched the Hokies secondary for a long touchdown pass, something he duplicated against Syracuse. In his freshman season Flowers finished with 22 receptions for 341 yards and three touchdowns. Even if he isn't running as much next year, he could evolve into a different type of dangerous weapon for the Eagles in 2020.
Ethon Williams only caught three passes in 2019, but could look to see an expanded role in Cignetti's system. His name has popped up a lot in terms of wide receivers who could break out. During summer practices there was a lot of buzz around his play, hence why Addazio burned his redshirt last season.
After that there are players we haven't seen yet, but could find a role sooner rather than later. Bryce Sebastian (Brandon's brother) moves back to WR after being listed as a DB last year. Out of high school a lot of talk was about his speed, and the word "playmaker" was thrown around a lot after his commitment. Taji Johnson comes to BC as another freshman that many bigger programs tried to steal late in the cycle. Played in Georgia and is already on campus practicing with the team, he could also see the field this fall.
Key Position Battle: How does Hafley align his wide outs? Who does Hafley line up opposite Kobay White? We have seen Zay Flowers as a deep threat, his speed certainly would work there. But he could also be used as a slot receiver, fitting more of a Z receiver role. How about Ethon Williams? Would he be better running longer routes as an X or Y? How does Taji Johnson fit into this system, especially now that he is on campus. Lots of questions to be answered, and unfortunately we are going to have to wait until Syracuse t.
Areas To Improve: It can be said for the entire passing offense, but using the wide outs more consistently throughout the game. Kobay White, BC's leading wide receiver was 26th in the conference in receptions. They need to be targeted more often, and involved more in the offense. Of course this has to happen as it's hard to imagine that Hafley will use Addazio's system.
Impact Player: Kobay White. While Flowers may be the most explosive wide receiver on the roster, White could be the most polished. His hands have drastically improved, he can fight off good corners for the ball and has great feet work around the sidelines. Many have wondered what he could do in a passing system, and 2020 could be his opportunity to turn heads in the ACC.
Player To Step Up: CJ Lewis. BC's tallest receiver missed eight games in 2019 with an injury. He has shown flashes, including a four catch performance against Purdue in 2018, but also has struggled with drops. If BC goes for more of a spread system, they are going to need healthy wide receivers, and Lewis could find more time on the field.