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Breaking Down the Boston College Football Roster: The Running Backs

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“Aka: the Breadwinners”

NCAA Football: SERVPRO First Responder Bowl-Boston College vs Boise State
Dillon leads big and versatile BC running back Corps
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret the Eagles operate a run heavy offense, 46.4 rushing attempts to only 28.1 pass attempts last year. This ground and pound offense has for 2 seasons revolved around…

AJ Dillon – Junior

A six foot, 250 pound bastion of productivity, Dillon has been BC’s unprecedented workhorse back. He is the first BC player to rush for over a 1,000 yards in his first two seasons and averaged 59% of BC’s total rushing yards over the past season. He averaged a remarkable 4.9 yard per rush and maintained that average over 227 attempts. Dillon is a powerful runner (ask Louisville’s cornerback Chucky Williams) but is not just a straight bruiser. Dillon has great vision, hitting the hole hard with good acceleration and decent speed. While he’s got good feet, you won’t see him make a lot of quick cuts once he gets going. A concern with Dillon is can he stay healthy while maintaining the same workload as he has over the past two seasons (about 264 attempts per season, 23 attempts per game) especially considering his physical running style. That is where, Eagles fans can hope, the rest of BCs running back corps will come into play.

Travis Levy – Junior

Levy is a bit of Swiss army knife, not only running the ball but also leading Eagles’ running backs in receptions last season with 19 catches for 160 yards. Levy also put in work on special teams with two blocked punt recoveries for touchdowns. A tough runner, Levy can survive contact and keep going as he demonstrated last season with a tough goal line run versus Virginia Tech. Last year Levy averaged 4.4 yards per rush on 49 carries, strong production considering his limited opportunities, and even more promising given his work as a receiver. He seems to be a natural fit for third and long situations. In a football landscape where it is becoming more and more important to have a committee of running backs, Levy’s versatility could make him a valuable part in BC’s running game.

Ben Glines – Graduate Student

Glines’s role in the BC offense is the definition of flexibility. He was second on the team in rushing as a wide-out, running back hybrid, rushing for 380 yards on 68 attempts in addition to his 41 yards receiving on 8 receptions. Gline averaged an impressive 5.6 yards per rush and 14.2 yards per catch and finished the year with 3 rushing and 4 receiving touchdowns. Used often in motion Glines, is an exciting option to pair with BC’s stable of powerful running backs and fits into a play-action passing scheme that often feeds off the running game. Look for Glines to be a real weapon when the defense is focused on the Eagles’ backfield.

David Bailey – Sophomore

Perhaps the heir-apparent after Dillon, Bailey has already showed promise in his first year at BC. On only 57 carries, Bailey averaged 4.4 yards per attempt, rushing for two touchdowns. His high school numbers at North Carolina High School show Bailey’s capabilities; he scored thirty-five touchdowns his senior-year despite only playing the first half in many of his games. At 6’1” 240 lbs, Bailey is a big back but demonstrates not only the ability to run through contact with decent lateral quickness in the hole. According to reports from BC’s Spring game (see https://bceagles.com/news/2019/4/6/football-offense-captures-71-55-spring-game-victory-over-the-defense.aspx and https://bceagles.com/news/2019/4/6/eagles-unlimited-four-downs-jay-mcgillis-spring-game.aspx), Bailey played well, rushing for 91 yards on 12 carries and is not only faster but leaner and quicker. It would be great to see him get a few more carries this year in relief of Dillon in order to gauge his true potential.

Javian Dayne – Redshirt Freshman

Dayne’s name, for football fans, is the first thing that jumps off the page. As the son of 1999 Heisman Trophy Ron Dayne, Javian comes from a strong running back pedigree. At six foot, 235 pounds, Dayne has the size BC wants, and his high school highlights show good speed and quickness but it has yet to be seen if they are up to college speed. Dayne only appeared in two games for the Eagles this past season with limited opportunities (only 8 attempts). Yet in this year’s spring game Dayne recorded 102 yards rushing on 21 carries, (see https://bceagles.com/news/2019/4/6/football-offense-captures-71-55-spring-game-victory-over-the-defense.aspx and https://bceagles.com/news/2019/4/6/eagles-unlimited-four-downs-jay-mcgillis-spring-game.aspx), showing the potential for even greater production. At Waunakee High School, Dayne put up good numbers averaging around 152 yards over his twenty-eight career games, more proof of his potential. Dayne’s strong performance in the spring could set him up to compete with Bailey for the second string role behind Dillon.

Peter Stehr – Redshirt Freshman

Stehr hailing from Orinda, California, has yet to appear in game for Boston College but during BC’s Spring Game recorded 71 yards on 23 carries and added two receptions for 22 yards (see https://bceagles.com/news/2019/4/6/football-offense-captures-71-55-spring-game-victory-over-the-defense.aspx). His respectable showing running the ball and two 10 yard-plus reception speak of a versatile running back who could potentially function much like Travis Levy in the offense. Stehr’s high school highlights show a back who can accelerate quickly through the hole, breaking through some arm tackles, with noticeable agility. It has yet to be seen as to whether this speed can transfer to the college level. Like Levy, we may see Stehr work with the special teams unit for now, but he could be a promising back in third down or passing situations in the future.

Andrew Strader – Redshirt Junior

It may be easy to overlook Strader as just a return man who only appeared in two games for the Eagles and returned two punts for a total of thirty-six yards, and a long of twenty-one. But that would be ignoring the role Ben Glines played in the offense last season. With Glines set to graduate soon, it may be that Strader could be that next flex player. Strader’s background as a wide-receiver and returner at California powerhouse Mater Dei High School, where he hauled in 24 receptions for 312 yards, would make him a naturally fit to fill that role. Strader’s performance in the Spring Game where he hauled three receptions for thirty yards shows that he can be an effective pass catcher out of the backfield see https://bceagles.com/news/2019/4/6/football-offense-captures-71-55-spring-game-victory-over-the-defense.aspx).