Kam Arnold & Vinny DePalma
Kam Arnold is a Junior and the returning leading tackler for Boston College. Vinny DePalma is the veteran presence on the linebacker unit as the only Senior and the only other upperclassmen besides Arnold. They both were a new force up the middle for the Eagles last season after the team lost huge pieces in Max Richardson and Isaiah McDuffie. Neither Arnold nor DePalma had much of a role in 2020, as Arnold appeared in just a handful of games and DePalma had a season-ending Achilles injury before he could step on the field. They performed nobly in their new roles in 2021 and showed signs of what could turn them into great players, but it was also obvious at times that this was an inexperienced and thin group. BC’s rushing defense suffered as a result.
The hope for Arnold and DePalma is that they can use those experiences, and another year of development, and turn into the stalwarts that Boston College has seen before in their linebacking corps. And they’ll have a bit more support this time from the rest of the roster, too.
Bryce Steele is a sophomore and the only other returning veteran with any extensive game experience. He played in 11 games last season and racked up 27 tackles in somewhat limited playing time while backing up starters Arnold and DePalma. He was recruited as a 4-star player and the hope is that he’ll be able to develop further in his sophomore season to become a real contributor behind the line.
Jaylen Blackwell, Casey Phinney, Owen McGowan are all redshirt freshmen with a chance to make their first real impact on the roster this season as well. Each of them came in rated as a 3-star recruit and any of them could start to see playing time depending on how they perform in camp, practice, and games. Blackwell specifically has already shown some promise to head coach Jeff Hafley apparently, as he appeared in 3 games last year and recorded 2 tackles.