Top 10 Breakout Eagles: No. 8 LB Isaiah McDuffie
Boston College has a new coach, Jeff Hafley, and with it comes a new offensive and defensive scheme. On top of that, having a new set of eyes on the roster could help to find novel and new ways to utilize players. Over the next few weeks BC Bulletin will unveil ten players who could be primed to have a breakout season in 2020. These players could have had solid seasons before but be on the cusp of something special, or they could be not used at all and earn a role in the new system.
Linebacker Isaiah McDuffie came to Boston College from Bennett High School in New York in 2017. His freshman year he contributed mostly as a special teamer. But it was his sophomore year that gave a glimpse of what he could become. He finished second on the team in tackles with 85 (45 solo), and showed flashes of becoming the next dominant, explosive linebacker.
McDuffie had just completed his 2018 season and was preparing for the 2019 year when the unthinkable happened. During spring football he suffered an injury that threatened to derail his entire junior year. As the summer and fall progressed, head coach Steve Addazio continued to provide updates on his progress, but it was unclear whether McDuffie would play that season. But with four games left (one being the Birmingham Bowl), Isaiah McDuffie rejoined his teammates and played with the a similar voracity and energy that many expected him to have. He finished last season with 30 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks, and earned a redshirt to maintain his eligibility from the season.
Now hopefully completely healed from his injury, and with a new coaching staff, 2020 could be McDuffie's chance to shine. Boston College is in dire need of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, and along with fellow linebacker Max Richardson, McDuffie has all the tools to be that type of player.
He can do everything and has all the tools to be a complete linebacker for Jeff Hafley. Usually lining up in the strong linebacker slot, McDuffie can be used in coverage, to defend a tight end or running back:
McDuffie can be strong against the run, sticking a running back before they get extra yardage:
And he can get after the quarterback, showcasing good speed and power as we see below against Clemson in 2018.
Boston College's defense had an abysmal 2019 season, but with a defensive minded coach and some quality players in key spots they could turn that around in 2020. One of those key factors is linebacker Isaiah McDuffie.
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