On Monday, the 2021 Boston College football season took a sharp left turn. After exiting the UMass game early due to a wrist injury, Phil Jurkovec posted an Instagram story displaying his right wrist in a soft cast with the location at Newton-Wellesley hospital. Jeff Hafley has a history of keeping injury news tightly under wraps to maintain a competitive advantage over opponents. Thus, this “leak” was quite surprising. Later, it was confirmed by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports that Jurkovec would not only miss significant time but that he would miss most, if not all, of the season. Jurkovec is a redshirt junior and thus has another season of eligibility remaining. But it appears that his 2021 campaign is over.
Naturally, as they did on Saturday and have done each of the last two seasons, the Eagles now turn to Dennis Grosel. Grosel started the season finale last season against Virginia; he set a new record for passing yards in a game for BC but turned the ball over several times and ultimately could not pull out the win. He also took over in 2019 after Anthony Brown went down with an injury. Grosel started the final seven games of that season, finishing with a 3-4 record behind a dominant rushing attack.
Grosel has played in each of the Eagles’ first two games this season, obviously seeing more meaningful action against UMass. He played very well, scoring two touchdowns, misfiring on only three passes, and throwing for almost 200 yards. Grosel will most likely face Temple this weekend, another ostensibly weak opponent but one surely better than the ones BC faced the last two weeks. But what if Grosel performs poorly? Or, even worse, if the unthinkable happens and Grosel goes down as well? Regardless of who takes the field, the Eagles will be forced to start a player with zero collegiate playing experience. Let’s take a look at the hypothetical depth chart behind Grosel.
Daelen Menard, R-So., 5’11”, 209 lbs
Daelen Menard is the most likely candidate to backup Grosel moving forward. Like the other players, he has no collegiate experience. However, he’s been with the program the longest and has worked his way up from being a preferred walk-on. Obviously, Menard does not have the ideal size for a quarterback. But he makes up for it with his athletic ability. Menard led his high school to consecutive state titles as a junior and senior. He’s been well-liked by two coaching staffs, so his work ethic and perseverance should earn him the backup job.
Matthew Reuve, R-Fr., 6’4”, 205 lbs
Matthew Rueve is another option for the backup spot. He’s more of a prototypical quarterback; he was the #1 pro-style QB from Ohio and a consensus three-star in his recruiting class. If BC wants to go with a more traditional backup, one more like Jurkovec, Rueve could be the selection. But if BC wants to go down that road, I think they’d go with an even younger player.
Emmett Morehead, Fr., 6’5”, 229 lbs
Emmett Morehead was one of the jewels of this year’s recruiting class. An early enrollee, Morehead is another consensus three-star recruit and a top-50 player from Virginia. He’s almost an exact copy of Jurkovec in terms of size. There were reports from spring practice that he was lighting it up. I’d imagine Hafley and the coaching staff would want to maintain Morehead’s redshirt this year, given that they’ll most likely bring Jurkovec back next year. If he does play, it would have to only be for four games to maintain his redshirt. Therefore, Morehead probably wouldn’t see the field until the final four games, barring injury. But it would be cool to get an early look at the future of the quarterback position.
Jack Brandon, Fr., 6’2”, 195 lbs
Jack Brandon is the other true freshman in the quarterback room. Unlike the highly-touted Morehead, however, Brandon is a walk-on. He played football, basketball, and baseball in high school, so he’s a solid athlete. But he’s clearly very skinny and would probably suffer some injuries himself if he took the field against ACC defenders. Thus, he's a very unlikely candidate to back up Grosel or even see any on-field action.
Andrew Landry, R-Fr., 6’5”, 228 lbs
Andrew Landry makes this list as the last resort. Landry came to BC as a walk-on from nearby Newton North HS. He earned multiple all-state honors as a high school senior in 2019
Landry did not play at all during his freshman year in 2020. He then switched to tight end this offseason. At 6’5” 228, Landry is very much in the mold of the new BC quarterbacks. He probably made the switch to tight end because he knew he had no shot of supplanting Jurkovec, Grosel, or even some of the other scholarship quarterbacks. Again, Landry is probably the last line of defense if literally, every quarterback on the roster goes down.
Prediction: Menard, possibly Morehead
Obviously, this entire discussion is most likely a far-flung contingency plan. But, in the extremely unfortunate scenario that Grosel gets hurt or plays abysmally, I think Menard would get the call. He’s been in the building the longest and I think the coaches really respect him. He also has the added dimension of being a running threat, which could allow him to make some plays. Cignetti would obviously have to tweak and tailor the offense to his strength, but I have faith in him.
Alternatively, I could see the coaching staff going with Morehead. Again, I would hope they would consider maintaining his redshirt status before putting him in too many games. But he was apparently very good in spring practices so they might want to get him some playing time to see how he plays against ACC-level defenses. Objectively, it’s a sad day for BC football fans. But Grosel is one of the better backup QBs in the country so the season is not totally down the drain.