Although Boston College doesn't have as fertile of a home recruiting ground as other Division I institutions, Steve Addazio has made it a point to "build the fence" around New England. While he's succeeded the last couple of years, it's worth sitting back and looking at some of the different storylines and recaps throughout BC's home area. If nothing else, it'll serve as a way for all of you to digest information on the latest crop of kids who may or may not be able to play at the FBS level.
While some of these kids may wind up on the BC recruiting radar, this is also a way to showcase the best and brightest football teams from our local backyards, even as a way to promote the game. The New England area has a football culture, one of which BC sits at the top of the non-professional perch. Being able to promote the game and showcase that culture will hopefully showcase some of the positives of the local scene.
Participating in the recruitment or encouraging a kid to visit or join Boston College is considered an NCAA violation so we are in no way, shape, or form trying to encourage these kids to come to The Heights.
With high school football kicking off in earnest soon enough, let's take a look at a couple of things, shall we?
Super Bowl Redux
Last December, Xaverian and Everett played an absolute classic of a game at Gillette Stadium in the Division I Super Bowl. The top two ranked teams in Massachusetts, #1 Xaverian defeated #2 Everett, 38-29, behind 187 yards and four touchdowns by Noah Sorrento. It was a game where Xaverian broke open a 31-14 lead at the half, only to watch Everett come raging back in the third quarter. It was one of those games where you just kept waiting for the Crimson Tide to wake up, and when they did, things got really interesting.
Now nine months later, ESPN Boston's #2 and #3 ranked teams in Massachusetts open the season exactly how they ended last year - against each other. Some of the faces will be different; Xaverian's Joe Gaziano graduated and is now at Northwestern, while Everett's Lukas Denis is at Boston College. But the majority of the players are back, and it should be an absolute battle between two great Massachusetts programs.
I know I take some heat for beating an Everett fan of sorts; having grown up in the Greater Boston League, I've seen the growth and construction of a true dynasty of a program. I can't help but feel proud of my home region, especially since gritty cities like Malden, Everett, Revere, and Chelsea could use some good news every and now and then. But when you strip that away, you can see a really good high school program that's worth taking a look at if you're interested in the local radar. Pitting that against the defending undefeated state champions (who beat them in the Super Bowl) will make for a great atmosphere.
More than likely, you've never heard of Nauset High School. The tiny, regional school sits out by the eastern edge of Cape Cod, and they only won three games last year.
But they bring in a new head coach this year - former Green Bay Packers head coach and general manager Mike Sherman. Sherman, a vacation resident of the Cape, settled down and put down roots in taking the job. Although there really hasn't been much to speak of in terms of the Warriors program, bringing that kind of star power to the region is something that can't be overlooked.
Whether he can have success at Nauset remains to be seen (Hall of Fame offensive lineman John Hannah once went 0-fer coaching Somerville High School), but it's at least something great for Massachusetts to have a guy like Sherman prowling the sidelines on Friday nights.
If you've never followed high school football, the one Connecticut school to familiarize yourself with is Southington High School. For the past two years, the Blue Knights dominated, winning back-to-back state championships and 20 straight games along the way. Coming into the season as the top ranked team in the Constitution State, they'll look to become the first three-peat champion since Cheshire from 1993-1995.
The QB of the Blue Knights is a young man named Jasen Rose. ESPN lists him as a recruited Tight End that's currently undeclared but holding offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, NC State, and West Virginia. At 6'4", he's a big presence, and it'll be interesting to see how he carries the team this year. According to GametimeCT's preview of the team, 43 of his 47 touchdown passes from last season graduated.
For what it's worth, if they want to get to the state championship, there will be a bit of irony in the road along the way. Southington plays their Thanksgiving Day game at...Cheshire.
Top Recruits Hit The Gridiron
I'll unquestionably discuss the Massachusetts prospects over the course of the year, but there's a ton of Division I talent in Connecticut that will hit the field over the next couple of weeks. The #2 prospect, Scooter Harrington, is already committed to Boston College, but three of the top 10 kids in the state are currently undeclared.
Among them is Lucas Niang, a 6'6", 295-pound offensive tackle holding a three-star rating from 247sports. Niang, a New Canaan native, holds an offer from BC (according to ESPN) along with other schools, including Miami, UConn, and more.
The other two prospects undecalred are the aforementioned Rose and quarterback Jacob Hallenbeck (Avon, CT). Hallenbeck is a big, pro-style QB currently holding only an offer from North Carolina but considering several schools, including ACC members Clemson, Duke, NC State, Pitt, Syracuse, and Wake Forest.