Earlier this month Boston College football finished up their spring practices with their annual Jay McGillis Spring Football game. As the team moves into late spring-summer mode, let’s take a look at some of my position projections moving forward. Again these are not set in stone, they are just projections, and the coaching staff may think differently then what I am writing here. But here we go, today we are going to review the offensive line, and over the next few weeks I will post on every other position on the team. These posts are going to include nuggets/stats from the Spring Game, but will be in lieu of a full game recap.
Losses: Chris Lindstrom, Aaron Monteiro, Jon Baker, Wyatt Knopke, Sam Schmal
Additions: Hayden Mahoney- University of Miami, Jack Conley, Christian Mahogany,
Projected Starters: Ben Petrula (Guard), Anthony Palazzolo (Left Tackle), Alec Lindstrom (Center), John Phillips (Guard), Tyler Vrabel (Right Tackle)
Projected Backup: Finn Dirstine, Hayden Mahoney, Elijah Johnson, Sean Ragan, Eddy Fish
Additional Depth: Zion Johnson (Jr.), Jack Conley (Fr.), Christian Mahogany (Fr.), Nate Emer (R-So.), Thomas Shelmire (R-Fr.), Adam Korutz (Jr.), Cam Reddy (R-Fr.)
Notes: Of any position on the offense, the offensive line is going to have the biggest flux in names and talent. Gone are perennial starters Jon Baker, Aaron Monteiro, Chris Lindstrom and even role player Sam Schmal, and now the big question is, who fills in for them this fall? Even with the turnover, looking at the first string players on the projected depth chart, and there should be some excitement about this group. Ben Petrula has been a natural filling in where ever Addazio needs him, playing both guard and center over the past season at a high level. As a junior, and veteran starter he could be the anchor on this offensive line, and really play a strong leadership role. John Phillips has also seen starting time for Boston College over his time at the Heights. The senior has played in 36 games over the past three years, starting three games last year, and has earned his role a starter in his final year of eligibility.
The name that I have heard lots of glowing praise about coming out of camp is redshirt freshman Tyler Vrabel, a young offensive lineman out of Texas, and son of Tennessee Titans coach and former New England Patriots star Mike Vrabel. During his preseason press conference Addazio said of the tackle “Tyler Vrabel, he looks fantastic. Those are two guys (along with Finn Dirstine) you can really see emerge this year. They’re emerging.” While young, if Vrabel is getting this praise, it certainly be a positive, and he had him with the first unit according to practice reports released by the school. Addazio has had a tendency to use young linemen when needed, both Lindstroms, Petrula, Baker and Monteiro all got playing time as freshman and sophomores, could Vrabel be the next in that line?
Anthony Palazzolo is a bit of a unknown commodity at this point. He has seen playing time with BC on special teams the previous two years, and has been a reserve on the line as well. As a senior he is familiar with the scheme, so he may be ready to just slide right in at tackle. At 6’5 310 he certainly has the size to jump right in, but we may have to wait until game time to see his real strengths and weaknesses.
In terms of additional depth, Elijah Johnson should be ready to participate fully come this summer. He suffered a pretty serious injury in 2017 and missed all of 2018 recovering from it. What we did see of him in 2017 showed a lot of promise at tackle, and he could either jump into the starting picture or provide valuable experienced depth to the line. Additionally BC looks to be bringing in Hayden Mahoney, a transfer offensive lineman from the University of Miami. He isn’t on campus yet, expected to arrive this summer, starting nine games for Miami last year at right guard. I know Miami fans were not a huge fan of the offensive line’s play last year, but again experienced depth on the line is a big deal for these Eagles.
In terms of the underclassmen, I think the name to watch for is Finn Dirstine. The former 4* local product has caught Addazio’s eye already, and with a strong summer could work his way onto the two deep. After that there are no clear answers, as the remainder of the depth chart haven’t seen meaningful in game playing time to this point. The talent may be there, it’s just we haven’t seen it yet, and therefore must remain a question mark this fall.