With All-ACC tight end Tommy Sweeney drafted by the Bills, Frank Leonard’s group will need to replace some high-end production this season. Luckily, this is arguably the deepest and most talented group on the team, full of dudes capable of both pass-catching and blocking. Coach Addazio loves employing 12-personnel groupings (one running back, two tight ends) to play with tempo and make for a more dynamic running game, so plenty of these guys will see solid playing time and together should be quite successful.
Two Eagles were named to the the John Mackey Award Watch List, given each year to the nation’s top tight end. Only 60 tight ends were named, and BC was one of two schools (Washington) with two representatives.
Jake Burt — Graduate Student
Burt was named to the preseason Mackey Award Watch List alongside sophomore Hunter Long. Burt hauled in six receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown in 10 games last season. He hadn’t had much production prior to last season, but clearly caught some eyes and could be in for a bigger season. The St. John’s Prep product played eight games his freshman year and even started one, only to miss all of the 2016 season with a knee injury, forcing him to redshirt. He played in nine games the following season, but surely was still trying to fully recover. Burt is an excellent blocker and will hopefully will continue to see increased work in the passing game.
Danny Dalton — Graduate Student
One-time Boston College commit and now Penn State transfer, Dalton will look to complete his last two years of eligibility on the heights. Dalton was the number one player in Massachusetts coming out of high school and the number 20 tight end in the 2016 class. The 6’4’’, 250 pound Marshfield native didn’t see much action at Penn State, only playing three games and recording three receptions. One of those games was against Rutgers though, and the Scarlet Knights just happen to be on the schedule this season. No coincidence there. He should see plenty of opportunity to make a name for himself.
Chris Garrison — Graduate Student
Starting eight games and appearing in 11, Garrison had five receptions for 55 yards last season. This was a big drop off from his previous season when he started all 13 games and went 15 for 152 yards. With Sweeney gone, Garrison should have as a good a chance as any to compete for more playing time despite the crowded room. He’ll surely see time in most every game and will see every opportunity to replicate production from the 2017 season.
Korab Idrizi — Senior
Idrizi returns as probably the best receiving tight end, or at least the one with the highest production from last season. He posted 13 receptions, 158 yards, and a touchdown in only four starts while appearing in all 12 games. Idrizi had solid playing time in his previous two seasons, but his junior year was a breakout campaign. Expect the Bergen Catholic star to improve upon his performance last season and maybe even become a consistent starter.
Hunter Long — Redshirt Sophomore
Hunter Long might be the guy to fill Sweeney’s shoes most of all. He was named to the Mackey Award Watch List alongside Jake Burt. As a redshirt freshman, he nabbed four receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and appeared in at all 12 games. Half of this production was made against the likes of UMass and Holy Cross, yes, but he still showed a lot of promise. At 6’5’’ 255, he’s even the closest thing build to Sweeney. Long could be in for a breakout season.
Ray Marten — Senior
Marten recorded five receptions for 74 yards and a score last season. He’s a good blocker and saw action in most every game these past three seasons. He’s consistent and plays with intelligence, as Coach Leonard described him, and plays the position similarly to Garrison.
After redshirting last year, Brendan Smith and Tito Pasqualoni will hope to get on the field this season. Smith led the team in receptions during the BC Spring Game with four receptions and 31 yards. Pasqualoni is of course the son of former BC defensive assistant and current Detroit Lions Defensive Coordinator, Paul Pasqualoni. Keith Ridley and Spencer Witter round out the roster, but as freshman will likely redshirt. Ridley was actually a quarterback in high school and Witter was a three-star prospect out of Connecticut.