Last year one of the big talking points was that due to attrition and injury, Boston College football was down to just 71 scholarship players. Let's take a look at Addazio's efforts to get the program back up to the 85 scholarship limit.
Note: Since student records are private, the public may never know which players are on scholarship and which ones are not. However, a few educated guesses mixed with some speculation may shed light on Addazio's number crunch.
|Joel Karim Zoungrana||DB||Transfer|
- A bunch of these players weren't on scholarship, but still gives you a better sense of what BC has to replace in 2015. The offensive line and the secondary are hit the hardest with graduation.
- Will Mahar is not listed on the spring roster. As a freshman last season, he joined the team as a walk-on but did not see any game action.
- Bobby Vardaro is still listed on the Eagles' 2015 spring roster but this has to be a typo as the left guard is all out of eligibility.
Rising Contributing Grad Students (3)
Along with the rising seniors (see below), next year's leadership core:
- Both Abdesmad and Williams are expected to return after receiving medical redshirts for last season.
- In addition to the 25 high school recruits added to this year's class, the program has picked up Richmond graduate transfer Evan Kelly. The former Spider should be able to plug into the defensive line right away to address some of the depth issues.
Rising Contributing Seniors (17)
- The following seniors on the roster are excluded / assumed non-scholarship players: FB Sean Burke, K Jake Wilhelm, LS Leonard Skubal, LS Michael Fischer, LB Frank Radici and LB A.J. Caruso
- I've never gotten an answer on whether Louie Addazio needs a scholarship and/or whether that scholarship counts against the 85 limit. For now, I'll leave him in for this exercise.
Rising Contributing Juniors (7)
Expected contributors to 2015.
- I can't believe these guys are already juniors.
- Excluded: DB E.J. Fortenberry, TE Cameron Croteau
- This is where Spaz's final recruiting class—ranked #88 nationally!—is really going to haunt BC for a few years. Four of the 15 players in the 2013 class have left the program: LB Marquis Little (injury), QB Mackay Lowrie (transfer), DT Tevin Montgomery (left program) and QB James Walsh (joined BC baseball team)
Rising Redshirt Sophomores (1)
Rising True Sophomores (30)
- I don't think all these players played as true freshmen in 2014, so the classes seem off on a few. Still, shows just how dependent Boston College is going to be on Addazio's first full recruiting class.
- Excluded: LB Hunter Forte, TE Austin Chapman, LB Noah Penders, DL Jack Kenny
Early Enrollees / Incoming Freshmen (4)
- These four players enrolled early and are already with the program for spring ball.
Incoming Freshmen (21)
|66||Mehdi El Attrach||ATH|
Barring any unforeseen events, the above mentioned players total out at 83 scholarship players, two short of the 85 max (and 82 if Addazio doesn't count). The following section is purely speculation on my part.
Next Season's Fifth-Years (7)
No college athlete is "owed" a fifth year of eligibility, but Addazio can elect to bring a player back for a fifth season if they've only played three years and have a year of eligibility remaining. Looking at this year's rising seniors, here are the candidates to bring back for the 2016 season:
- Harrison Jackson has only played two years and, assuming he returns to form this year, should be back in 2016. The redshirt junior tallied five receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown in 2013 and showed some promise. Could add some much needed depth to the Eagles receiving corps.
- Mike Strizak redshirted as a freshman during the 2012 season and will almost certainly return for a fifth year in 2016. Should provide some senior leadership to a linebacking corps that needs to replace Josh Keyes this year and Steven Daniels next.
- Tim Joy was lost for the year before the 2014 season even began. Assuming he returns to form this year, he should be a contributor at linebacker over the next two seasons.
- Bobby Wolford redshirted in 2012 and will likely return in 2016 as the team's starting fullback.
- Frank Taylor was an all-state offensive lineman in both his junior and senior seasons at Archbishop Wood High School in Pennsylvania, but has only been used sparingly—mostly on special teams—over the last two years. Given all the turnover on the Eagles' offensive line, have to think the program will bring Taylor back as a grad student in 2016.
- Jim Cashman is in the same position as Frank Taylor after redshirting during the 2012 season.
- Malachi Moore played as a true freshman, but missed the entire 2013 season due to injury. The defensive end from New Jersey should be in line to come back in 2016.
The program doesn't really have the luxury of being picky about fifth years at this point. As such, I'd anticipate all seven players back in 2016.
While there's bound to be some attrition, that leaves BC with 70 scholarship players to start 2016 (7 grad students + 7 seniors + 31 juniors + 25 sophomores). This suggests Addazio may take a smaller class in 2016, assuming only 15 slots available. Still, there's enough wiggle room here that BC should be back to a full 85 scholarships next season.