Well it makes sense that the Boston College special teams will be kicking off our position group previews for 2023. Be sure to be checking BCI all the way up til September as we break down the entire 2023 BC football roster, position by position.
Boston College’s primary kicker Connor Lytton will be entering his third season in 2023. Lytton was fantastic as a freshman in 2021, kicking 100% on PATs and missing just one field goal all season, but he regressed as a sophomore. Lytton was once again perfect on PATs in 2022 but made only 9 of 17 field goal attempts, finishing second-to-last for all qualifying FBS kickers. That included plenty of misses from under 40 yards, so it didn’t seem to be a distance issue. Lytton has shown in the past that he’s a capable kicker, and he is at least hitting PATs consistently, so Eagles fans can hope that he shakes off that sophomore slump and starts hitting more kicks in 2023.
There’s a bit of a change at punter this year. Longtime Eagle Danny Longman has played his final game in a Boston College uniform and is turning over his punting duties to sophomore Sam Candotti. Candotti got about a dozen punting tries last season as the back-up and seemed to perform well, averaging his punts just a few yards shorter than Longman’s. The thing BC fans really won’t miss are Longman’s kickoffs. Longman was notorious for booting kickoffs out of bounds and giving opponents excellent starting field position with his penalties. Sophomore Liam Connor split kickoffs with Longman last season and will likely be taking over lead duties in 2023.
Who will return kicks for Boston College in 2023? Both of the Eagles’ leading returners from last season, Jaelen Gill and Zay Flowers, are no longer with the program. BC is now likely left with incoming UCF transfer Ryan O’Keefe for kickoffs. O’Keefe returned 22 kickoffs for the Golden Knights in 2022 and did a fine job, averaging just over 20 yards per return, no touchdowns. They could also look to junior Jaden Williams, who returned a few kicks for BC last season and looked promising.
As for punt returns, it’s anyone’s guess. Ryan O’Keefe has never returned a punt in a game and neither has anyone else on BC’s current roster as far as I can find. BC has tested out players like Xavier Coleman, Taji Johnson, and Jaden Williams on kickoffs and could turn to one of them for punts, as well as O’Keefe. Incoming freshmen Jaedn Skeete and Nate Johnson also could be options. Johnson especially has the toolset to be a great returner, standing at 5’ 9”, 165 lbs., and having lots of speed.