While there isn't a whole lot of HS football talent in the state of Massachusetts relative to other states in the Northeast, the Boston College program has done a good job over the past few years at keeping kids closer to home.
This year? Not so much.
Let's take a closer look. Using Rivals.com Massachusetts Top 10 from 2008-2011, here's how BC has fared over the past couple of years recruiting the state:
Number of Mass. Top 10 signed: 3
Number of Mass. Top 10 offered: 4 (missed on RB Jordan Todman to UConn)
Players: No. 1 RB Isaac Johnson, No. 2 DE Nick Halloran, No. 3 TE Mike Stone
Other Schools Represented: Connecticut (2), Columbia, Duke, Northeastern
All 3 of the top highest rated recruits in the state chose BC, though ultimately none of these guys ended up panning out. In fact, Johnson left the program after his junior year and recently resurfaced at AIC, which (no offense) but I didn't even realize the Yellow Jackets had a football program. Similarly, Stone never saw the field, redshirting for the 2008 season, while Halloran played in just six games on the line during the 2009 season.
Number of Mass. Top 10 signed: 2
Number of Mass. Top 10 offered: 4
Players: No. 3 DB Jim Noel, No. 4 OL Keith Bourne
Other Schools Represented: Georgia, North Carolina, N.C. State, Iowa, Massachusetts, Syracuse, Connecticut
In 2009, the Jagodzinski-Spaziani transition class missed on both the top two in-state prospects in TE Arthur Lynch (Georgia) and OT Brennan Williams (North Carolina), though BC did pick up both Noel and Bourne, who ranked 3 and 4, respectively. Still, BC was the most represented program of this year's Rivals.com Top 10 Massachusetts prospects.
Number of Mass. Top 10 signed: 4
Number of Mass. Top 10 offered: 5 (missed on TE Blake Barker to Harvard)
Players: No. 2 OL Bobby Vardaro, No. 6 James McCaffrey, No. 9 Dominique Williams, No. 10 Aaron Kramer
Other Schools Represented: Harvard, Connecticut (2), Miami, BYU
BC was well represented in Massachusetts in 2010, bringing in four of the five Top 10 recruits they offered. The Eagles only missed on TE Blake Barker, who committed to Harvard over BC, Duke, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Virginia and Wake Forest. Breathe. BC didn't offer Jimmy Noel's younger brother Rodman, who wound up at N.C. State with Tom O'Brien.
Number of Mass. Top 10 signed: 4
Number of Mass. Top 10 offered: 6
Players: No. 1 TE Brian Miller, No. 2 DB Al Louis-Jean Jr., No. 6 OL Liam Porter, No. 10 DB Manny Asprilla
Other Schools Represented: California, Iowa, Nebraska, UCLA, Harvard, Nevada
For the second straight year, BC hauled in four Massachusetts recruits, including the top two ranked players in the state in TE Brian Miller and DB Albert Louis-Jean. If you include Groton Academy's Marcus Grant, who wound up back at BC after transferring from Iowa, BC snagged half of the Rivals.com top 10 players from the state, and five of the six they offered.
Which brings us to this year's recruiting class.
Number of Mass. Top 10 signed: 1
Number of Mass. Top 10 offered: 8
Players: No. 7 LB Tim Joy
Other Schools Represented: Ohio State (2), Maryland, Virginia, Northwestern, Connecticut (2), Northeastern (track)
There seemed to be more talent coming out of Massachusetts than in past years as the state produced four 4* athletes. BC offered the top six ranked recruits in the state and missed on all of them. Catholic Memorial's Camren Williams and Armani Reeves, the state's top two recruits, signed with Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Maryland snagged 4* LB Abner Logan, Virginia 4* ATH Canaan Severin and Northwestern 3* OL Eric Olson. CB Donovan Henry, the 10th ranked prospect, committed to BC but then backed out to sign with Northeastern to run track (BC doesn't offer track scholarships). BC's only get from the state's top 10 was at number 7 - LB Tim Joy.
Now don't misunderstand me. These recruit rankings are very subjective and as you can see from 2008, highly ranked recruits don't always go on to have All-American careers in college. I also hope Tim Joy becomes the next Luke Kuechly and tackles everything and anything in his way to a highly productive career on the Heights.
But the fact that BC offered the top six Massachusetts recruits in the 2012 class and whiffed on all of them is pretty telling of the state of this program and the quality of this year's class.
It particularly stings when you see other ACC programs come in and sign away some of the state's top ranked prospects as Maryland and Virginia did this year. Questionable recruiting tactics aside, Ohio State's Urban Meyer was able to pick off the state's top two recruits just a few weeks ago (Williams verballed on January 20, Reeves on January 18).
The recruiting failures in our own backyard do not speak well for the BC program or for the job this year's coaching staff did on the recruiting trail. Boston College football simply has to remain relevant in its own backyard, especially in the face of increasing competition (UMass making the jump to I-A).