Boston College football plays its Spring Game this Saturday, April 15th at 11am in Alumni Stadium, which will be open to the public with free admission to give us Eagles fans a glimpse at all of the important playmakers for the upcoming 2023 season. Let’s take a look at who you should be paying attention to on offense:
Possibly the biggest name to watch on Saturday will be redshirt sophomore QB Emmett Morehead. Morehead took the starting QB reins last season when Phil Jurkovec went down and didn’t look back. He definitely had some ups and downs throughout those 4.5 games, but he showed a lot of promise and threw some good-looking footballs. One of his biggest issues was that he struggled under pressure, something that was not helped by the Eagles’ struggling offensive line. Fans should be watching him closely on Saturday to see if he’s improved with some of that composure under pressure. It will also be important for fans to get a general feel on how BC’s likely starting QB has progressed since being thrust into that starting role in the middle of the season last year. With more time this offseason to learn the offense and get first team reps, Morehead should hopefully be progressing nicely to be BC’s QB of the future.
Another name to keep an eye on is redshirt freshman QB Peter Delaportas. After sitting out last season, the 3-star recruit out of New Jersey will be fighting Morehead for that starting spot under center. He’s a pro-style QB that has shown himself to throw a good ball, have an ability to extend plays with his feet, and has been adept at reading defenses pre-snap. His major issues coming into BC were his arm strength and his post-snap reads, so fans should be watching how he performs in those facets of the game. If he looks impressive, there may be a QB battle on our hands. But for now, the assumption is that Morehead has the job.
The third QB to keep an eye on will be true freshman Jacobe Robinson. A 3-star recruit out of Texas, Robinson has had some good spring practices and will look to show off his skills on Saturday. It’s likely that he could be redshirted in 2023, but he will be an important asset for BC down the line as a potential future starter.
Boston College has a slew of talented RBs on its roster and it’s tough to know who will see the field the most in 2023. Redshirt senior Pat Garwo III is the biggest name returning from last season. He’s proven himself to be a very capable back and earned himself a 1,000+ yard rushing campaign back in 2021. But last season saw Boston College field the worst rushing attack in all of FBS football, something largely to blame on the offensive line, but Garwo was the face of the rushing game nonetheless. There could be an opportunity for players like Alex Broome to take his spot. Broome was BC’s RB2 last season and racked up a full 1.5 more yards per rush than Garwo in 2022, getting 4.5 yards per carry compared to Garwo’s 3.0 yards. Broome is a true sophomore and could see his role expand even further now that he’s got some experience under his belt. Both players were pretty effective in the pass game as well, so lead back duties could end up going to either guy. Most likely, they’ll be splitting their snaps anyway.
Some other names to watch are sophomore Cam Barfield and redshirt sophomore Xavier Coleman, who each got limited playing time last season but could definitely handle a larger role. It’s opportunities like these when we can see which depth players may be taking leaps forward. Coleman could also see his role in kick returns expand this season now that Zay Flowers is off to the NFL.
The other important aspect of the running game is of course the offensive line. Christian Mahogany returns this year after suffering a season-ending ACL injury in 2022’s preseason. Other important players to watch include Drew Kendall, Jack Conley, Ozzy Trapilo, Kevin Cline, and transfers Kyle Hergel and Logan Taylor. With those transfers coming in, you could see Jeff Hafley’s staff make any number of moves or try out several different sets with this line. Hergel and Taylor look to be good additions for an OL that desperately needs it, so some improvement should be expected overall. You can read more about these new linemen here and here.
Finally, BC will need to fill its massive Zay Flowers-sized hole. Flowers racked up 1,077 receiving yards and 12 TDs last season, leading BC’s pass catchers by a wide margin. Jaelen Gill, who also has departed the program, was second-place. TE George Takacs was their third-best receiver statistically with his 256 yards and 1 TD. So BC is left with a massive production gap to fill in 2023.
The big name on the Heights this season is likely to be UCF transfer WR Ryan O’Keefe. O’Keefe is a terrific talent and has been a bonafide top option at UCF for two seasons now. He played in all 26 games these past two seasons and led the Knights in receiving yards in his junior season (2021) and then finished 2nd on the team this past season. Look for his speed and experience to be the closest match to what Zay Flowers gave the Eagles last year.
Joseph Griffin Jr. is the player that may have the most raw potential on BC’s roster, though. As a true freshman, he caught the game-winning TD last season to upset NC State and get BC its first ranked win in nearly a decade. His emergence at the tail end of 2022 coincided with Emmett Morehead’s rise at QB, so the connection between those two could be something special. He’s a 6’4” beast who can bully defensive backs to go up and grab passes almost like a tight end, while his excellent speed makes him a threat anywhere on the field. Jaden Williams is another important guy to watch, as he’s a returning veteran WR who has put in the work over the course of a few seasons and should see his role increase. Any one of O’Keefe, Griffin, or Williams could end up being BC’s best WR this season. With any luck, they’ll all pan out well.
Some more fringe names to watch at the wideout position include Dino Tomlin, Lewis Bond, Ismael Zamor, and Taji Johnson. Tomlin is another receiver who started to look better towards the end of 2022 and could see that development continue into the spring. Zamor is a 3-star recruit out of Everett, MA who should be getting his first real playing time this season after redshirting last season.
George Takacs should continue to slot in as a great veteran presence at the tight end position. He looked great last season and made some very impressive catches as a safety valve for the often pressured QBs and could even find his way downfield occasionally. Back-up TEs like Jeremiah Franklin and 3-star recruit Matt Ragan will be worth watching as well, but it’s tough to know what they (or others) will bring to the table.