This winter promises to be a unique offseason around college football. One of the biggest changes is the extra year of eligibility that the NCAA granted for all players, basically not counting 2020 as a real year due to the chaos caused by COVID-19. For Boston College that is big news as they will be bringing back quite a bit of veteran leadership on the 2021 team.
There is only a handful of players who decided to move on, either through the NFL Draft or for other reasons. "The only guys that were losing...we're losing Max (Richardson & Roberts) and Isaiah (McDuffie), and Luc Bequette," Hafley told the media on Wednesday. The offense looks to be almost completely intact, returning 10 of 11 starters on that side of the ball. Star tight end Hunter Long the lone departure, as he announced he is entering the NFL Draft.
Returning a majority of the starters is a big deal for a program that is still building. Boston College looks to have defenders like safety Mike Palmer, defensive tackles TJ Rayam and Chibueze Onwuka, and defensive end Brandon Barlow are all returning. On special teams it appears that place kicker Aaron Boumerhi who hit 80% of his field goals in 2020 will be back, along with punter Grant Carlson.
As important as it is to return so many players on the defensive and special teams, it's the offensive line that had Jeff Hafley fired up. "We had a bunch of guys...who had the opportunity to go to the NFL, a guy like Zion (Johnson) who chose to come back and be with his teammates and try to help his draft stock," Hafley said "And trust Coach Applebaum and to continue to get better and possibly be one of the top guys taken off the board."
It's not just Zion Johnson that is returning. Ben Petrula, who played tackle last year is also coming back, and according to Jeff Hafley he has the opportunity to play the most games in Boston College history. Center Alec Lindstrom also announced earlier this winter that he would be returning, ensuring that the Eagles would have all five of their starting offensive linemen returning for the upcoming season.
"I love the guys on the team, as you know, and I'm excited to get a chance to coach a lot of them again." Hafley concluded.
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