Boston College Football: The Importance Of The 2008 Recruiting Class And Spaziani's Failure Of Leadership

There are plenty of things wrong with the Boston College football program, but I maintain that Spaz's inability to manage the roster of players he inherited from Jagodzinski -- a group of kids he helped recruit to the Heights as defensive coordinator -- is one of the primary reasons Spaz will be out of work at some point between now and the end of the season.

In a normal year, with a healthy college football program, you'd expect the recruiting Class of 2008 to be the fifth-year seniors that will lead this program this season. Not so for Boston College, who has seen its 2008 class decimated by transfers, suspensions and dismissals.

There are plenty of things wrong with the Boston College football program, but I maintain that Spaz's inability to manage the roster of players he inherited from Jagodzinski -- a group of kids he helped recruit to the Heights as defensive coordinator mind you -- is one of the primary reasons Spaz will be out of work at some point between now and the end of the season.

Let's take a look at Boston College's 2008 recruiting class to see just where these guys ended up. Keep in mind this class was rated 33rd by Rivals.com and 22nd by Scout.com nationally. Stars per Rivals.com.

Four Stars (3 players, 0 left)

  • OL Mike Goodman (Columbus, Miami, FL) -- Appeared in eight games as a backup offensive lineman in 2009. Missed 2010 season due to injury. Not offered a scholarship as a fifth-year senior, left program.
  • RB Josh Haden (Friendly, Fort Washington, MD) -- transferred out of the program in 2009 due to lack of playing time, transferred to Florida and then later Toledo
  • DB Okechuckwu Okoroha (Eleanor Roosevelt, Greenbelt, MD) -- dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons, transferred to Marshall

Three Stars (18 players, 12 of which transferred, suspended or left the program early)

  • DB Stephen Atkinson (Cardinal Gibbons, Ft. Lauderdale, FL) -- Appeared in eight games as a RS freshman in 2009. Left program.
  • QB Codi Boek (American River C.C., Sacramento, CA) -- Played in 31 games for the Eagles during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons, mostly on special teams.
  • LB Nick Clancy (Joliet Catholic, Joliet, IL) -- Redshirted in 2008, played in 30 games during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. One of the few remaining senior leaders of this year's squad from the 2008 class.
  • OL Emmett Cleary (St. Viator, Arlington Heights, IL) -- Redshirted in 2008, has played in every game since.
  • LB Alexander DiSanzo (Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, NJ) -- Redshirted, played two seasons in 2009 and 2010 before transferring to Towson.
  • DB Donnie Fletcher (Glenville Academic Campus, Cleveland, OH) -- Solid four year contributor in the Eagles secondary. Graduated in 2011 due to playing as a true freshman in 2008.
  • DE Nick Halloran (Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Cambridge, MA) -- Appeared in six games on the OL in 2009, transferred to Bentley.
  • DB Chris Hayden-Martin (Greensburg Central Catholic, Greensburg, PA) -- never saw the field
  • DE Max Holloway (Jefferson, Tampa, FL) -- declared early for the NFL Draft, went undrafted
  • RB Isaac Johnson (Everett, Everett, MA) -- left program due to "personal issues"
  • WR Colin Larmond Jr. (Morristown Beard School, Morristown, NJ) -- suspended for "violation of team rules" last week, was team's leading receiver in 2011
  • WR Clyde Lee III (Hightower, Fort Bend, TX) -- dismissed due to "academic issues" in 2011
  • OL Patrick Neumann (St. Joseph's, Montvale, NJ) -- never saw the field
  • DB Ugo Okpara (Dulles, Sugar Land, TX) -- never saw the field
  • TE Chris Pantale (Valley, Wayne, NJ) -- fifth year senior TE, missed the first five games of the 2012 season due to injury
  • DE Kaleb Ramsey (Laurel Highlands, Uniontown, PA) -- received medical hardship waiver to return as a fifth-year senior after his 2011 season was cut short due to injury
  • RB Eric Reynolds (Central Bucks HS - South, Warrington, PA) -- signed in the class but instead decided to enroll at Temple over the summer of 2008.
  • QB Justin Tuggle (Northview, Duluth, GA) -- transferred out of the program in 2009 due to lack of playing time, transferred to Blinn College and later Kansas State where he currently plays linebacker for the Wildcats

Two Stars (8 players, 5 suspended, dismissed or transferred)

  • ATH Donte Elliott (Alief Taylor, Houston, TX) -- has seven receptions in two years, played in two games on defense as a freshman in 2009.
  • RB Montel Harris (Trinity Christian, Jacksonville, FL) -- became the school's all-time leading rusher in 2011, dismissed from the team for an unspecified "violation of team rules." Joined Temple as a grad student this season.
  • RB Jerry Kelly (Fairmont Senior, Fairmont, WV) -- never saw the field for BC, transferred to Ohio
  • DE Christian Klein (St. Joseph's, Montvale, NJ) -- never saw the field
  • ATH Dominick LeGrande (Curtis, Staten Island, NY) -- decided to transfer in June after best friend Okoroha was dismissed from the program, transferred to Marshall
  • DT Bryan Murray (Good Counsel, Wheaton, MD) -- redshirted in 2008, has played sporadically on defense in 2009-11, forced into action due to numerous injuries to the Eagles front four in 2012
  • K Ryan Quigley (North Myrtle Beach, Little River, SC) -- 3 1/2 year starter at punter and place kicker
  • TE Mike Stone (Holliston, Holliston, MA) -- never saw the field

This is not your run-of-the-mill attrition, nor do I think it can be chalked up to the coaching change. Plenty of these guys played 1-2 seasons under Spaz before ultimately having a falling out with the program.

Consider that out of 12 offensive skill position players recruited in the 2008 class, nine of them -- Josh Haden, Isaac Johnson, Colin Larmond Jr., Clyde Lee III, Eric Reynolds, Justin Tuggle, Montel Harris, Jerry Kelly, Mike Stone -- either transferred, were suspended or dismissed. Only three -- Codi Boek, Chris Pantale and Donte Elliott -- managed to last throughout their entire careers.

A total of 29 players -- a massive recruiting class -- and the Boston College football program didn't get the most out of 20 of these kids. That's not an excuse. That's an enormous red flag that speaks to the lack of leadership from the current coaching staff.

For one reason or another, Spaz has not proven himself capable of managing the roster of players he inherited from Jags' lone recruiting class. The lack of senior leadership this season has manifested itself into a 1-6 record with prospects for the rest of the season looking grim. So when someone tells you that one recruiting year doesn't make a different, one only has to point to BC's 2008 class as a prime example of how a program can go from #2 in the BCS standings in mid-November to a college football afterthought in only five years.

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