With the football season creeping up on the horizon, we turn our attention to the other half of the BC passing attack as we preview the Eagles’ wide receiver core. This is group that has BC fans excited, especially when paired with a QB like Phil Jurkovec, as it brings both experience, depth, and explosiveness.
During his freshman year BC fans saw flashes of Zay Flowers’ big play potential and in 2020 it was on full display. Flowers went from catching 22 passes for 341 yards and 3 TDs in 2019 to catching 56 passes for 892 yards and 9 TDs in a shortened 2020 season. He was also the first BC wide receiver to be named First Team All-ACC since Alex Amidon in 2012 (the only other BC receiver to earn that honor). Flowers will be one of, if not the, premier playmaker for the BC offense this coming season.
Certainly Flowers will draw a lot of attention from opposing defenses and in that case BC does have options that can take advantage of the free space. Kobay White is one such weapon. White missed the 2020 season when he injured his ACL in the offseason but still decided to return for a fifth year as a graduate student. Before his injury, White was perhaps BC’s top pass catcher averaging 32 catches for 470 yards over the previous three seasons of his BC career. If Kobay can bounce from his injury and return to his 2019 form it will be a big boost for a BC offense that already has a lot of potential. He’ll also provide a veteran target for Jurkovec.
There is also the player who had to stepped up when White went down, CJ Lewis. With White out for the year and Flowers promoted to the number one option, BC needed another threat to offset Flowers and that turned out to be the then redshirt junior (now redshirt senior), CJ Lewis. The Hamden, Connecticut prospect had a breakout season catching 28 passes for 460 yards and 5 TDs more than his previous 3 years combined. One of those TDs was the circus grab at the end of the half versus Clemson, one of the top highlights of the season. In a crowded receiver room, Lewis’s size at 6-3, 216 lbs will be his biggest asset. With Kobay White returning and Jaelen Gill also coming off a productive season, Lewis’s production will dip but he will still be a red zone threat with his size and hands.
Part of that crowded receiver room is redshirt junior Jaelen Gill. In high school Gill was listed a RB/Ath and a consensus Top 50 prospect and the number 2 player in Ohio> He was originally committed to Ohio State. After playing two games his freshman season at Ohio State he was redshirted, then proceeded to catch only 6 passes for 51 yards and 1 TD his redshirt sophomore season, after which he transferred to BC. In his first season on the Heights, Gill took advantage of his larger role, increasing his numbers to 29 receptions, 435 yards, and 1 TD. It will be interesting to see how the competition for the #2 receiving spot will play out between Gill, Lewis, and White. Kobay has the experience but is coming off an injury, CJ Lewis has the production and the size, while Gill is the better athlete. Even if he isn’t the number 2 option it would be hard to imagine we won’t be seeing a lot of Jaelen Gill this coming season.
After the top 4, the rest of BC’s wideout are mostly an unproven bunch. Jehlani Galloway, a redshirt-junior, has the most game experience and production with 15 receptions for 197 yards and two receiving touchdowns over 11 games in 2020.
Galloway may have some competition for playing time in the form of sophomore Taji Johnson who was a three star and top 125 recruit out of Georgia. While as a freshman he primarily played special teams, he did earn playing time at wideout. Johnson is an underdog candidate for a breakout season because of his 6-3, 212 lb, frame. However, while Taji may have the size, redshirt sophomore Ethon Williams has more game experience. Williams saw limited time as a freshman only catching 3 passes for 56 yards before, after just 2 games, missing the rest of the 2020 season with a knee injury. These two may be players to keep an eye on in terms of potential standouts for the Eagles in future seasons.
A standout two sport athlete in high school, Ezechiel Tieide is a redshirt junior who began his career as a defensive back, redshirted, and did not play in 2019 but did appear in nine games in 2020. Tielde offers good size at 6-2, 200 lbs, and could see some time on the field in a reserve role or in clean-up time at the end of games. Tielde likely needs to learn the wide receiver position a little more but perhaps he could be a third option for the Eagles in future seasons.
Freshman Lewis Bond was rated as the No. 20 player in Illinois by 247 Sports and the state’s top-ranked all-purpose back while ESPN ranked him as the 29th in Illinois and the state’s fourth-best running. Bond is joined on the Heights by his high school teammate Dante Reynolds who is a freshman and was ranked as the No. 23 player in the state of Illinois by ESPN and No. 46 by 247 Sports, while being rated the fourth-best wide receiver in Illinois according to ESPN. With the talent in front of them it is hard to imagine Bond and Reynolds seeing the field beyond special teams.
Redshirt Freshmen Jacob Kraft and Will Prouty, while both two-sport athletes in high school, will need a few seasons of development before they see the field.