Tonight marked the annual Boston College Gridiron Club National Signing Day dinner, highlighted by Coach Addazio introducing himself and his staff while showing a highlight reel of each signee. It was a dinner worth attending and all in attendance should have had a definitive understanding of where this program intends to go.
Let me start by summarizing Addazio's philosophies before I get into the 17 signees, which you all can read their accolades through various sources.
Addazio began by reading the same poem he did Wednesday night at the Town Hall Meeting, "The Oak Tree." In summary, Boston College is like the big oak tree that lost its leaves and bent in the storm but was still grounded by its roots. He admitted the program was down and he and his staff are committed to building a foundation towards winning. This is all begins by recruiting, which Coach Addazio states he has a DIRECT hand in each and every recruit. He's driving his staff to get it done, already meeting with 5 players per week for the 2014 class! In his words, "we are building a fence around Massachusetts!" He admits that it is imperative the program keep its local talent instead of losing it to other universities. The idea is to start in New England and then to expand outwards to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia and Ohio. There will be a "sprinkling" in Florida due to his ties there. Then they intend on the catholic schools within Ohio, Chicago, and even California. He's not worried about the star ratings (we've heard this before) but guys who have toughness, passion, leadership and guys who are playmakers. Above all else, guys who have "IT."
The staff then introduced each player with their respective highlights. I believe out of the 17 commits, 12 were captains. This was deliberate as Addazio wants leaders. He wants character. This was stressed over and over again by both him and his staff. The feeling I got was that James Walsh could be the QB they are looking towards the future with. He is a dual threat QB, met Addazio at camp at Temple and apparently is such a classy, smart kid. Ryan Day specifically said tonight that they were looking for a running quarterback as the future of the offense. They will fit to what they have now, but going forward, they are recruiting for a running quarterback. On a side note, makes me wonder if Suntrup will leave.
Don Brown really grabbed me. He is extremely intelligent, articulate and knows defense in and out. He was rattling of schemes they would run, committing to rushing the passer with intensity yet acknowledging any weaknesses our current roster may have so we don't get beat over the top. It's playing within our skill set with an aggressive defense. With that being said, Marquis Little is going to be an exciting kid to watch. Because of his tremendous athleticism, Don can be flexible in how he uses Marquis. Don told us all to be excited when we see Marquis rushing off the edge. He also feels Matt Milano has excellent cover skills, is a great fundamental tackler and has ball skills.
Coach Addazio's philosophy was to honor all the commitments made and knowing "that a few would shake out." He was extremely excited to get Matt Patchen, calling him an elite player and a starter right away. Though later in the program Coach did say that not one player was guaranteed a start. He wasn't here last year and they have to earn it. All 5th year senior statuses have not been determined.
This staff is committed to turning the program around to our winning ways. They dimmed the lights and played a 10 minute highlight video of BC through the years to music, winning big games, big plays, beating ND and sending 5 players in 5 years to the First Round of the NFL Draft. This video gave me goosebumps and I realized how badly I wanted us to be back there. I took it all for granted. Coach is hands on with every single player. Each Wednesday the team and staff will have an Italian-style dinner, sitting together. The idea is to coach 'em hard inside those white stripes, but love 'em hard outside the stripes. Addazio intends on creating bonds with these kids which goes a long way.
Coach wants to earn all BC fans' respect and in return wants our loyalty. Practices will be open, so feel free to stop by. April 13th is the Spring Game. Hope to see you there.