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Boston College Football: Steve Addazio's National Signing Day Press Conference

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With 2015 firmly behind him, the head coach of the Eagles talks about the future through the lens of his 2016 class of commits.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Statement ...
"I appreciate you being here. It was a great day for Boston College. We had a chance to sign a great class, which we are excited about. Here is overview of the 2016 class: 21 total signees, three mid-year enrollees, 16 student-athletes signed [National Letters of Intent] and three fifth-year transfers: Patrick Towles from the University of Kentucky, Jimmy Lowery from Eastern Illinois and Satchel Ziffer from Old Dominion as our kicker.

"I thought that was a good opportunity for us to gain a little bit of experience. Geographically, 13 states are represented in the 2016 class. Eight of the 21 student athletes are from a five-hour radius. Two are from Massachusetts, two from New Jersey and four from New York. Two are from Georgia, one from North Carolina, two from Texas, one from Ohio, one from Michigan, two from Pennsylvania, one from Florida and one from Illinois. One is from Maryland and one is from Kentucky. Elevent out of the 21 incoming student-athletes are from private or Catholic schools. Fourteen of the 21 incoming student-athletes were team captains. Ten were at the BC football camp. This is the breakdown on offense: two quarterbacks, two wide receivers, two tight ends and five offensive linemen; and on defense: three defensive linemen, three linebackers, two defensive backs and two punters. Fifteen of the 18 eligible players were first team all-state and two players participated in major postseason all-star games.

"I think you have a broad selection of guys here. You have them from our footprint beyond the five-hour radius. You see where we attacked our needs and where we wanted to build our program. This is really our third class. The first class when I came here was a very small class. It was a class that was recruited and one that we could not affect one way or another. The senior class this year is about eight guys. Our first class was that next year and we continue to grow from there. That's the reason why one year ago, we had a 27-player void and nine offensive line player void.

"That is just the facts. We were able to do a great job coming in here and winning the first couple of years. We've been able to supplement with the fifth-year players at some critical positions. The unanticipated part of that was that we had multiple injuries at multiple positions. Now, our roster is full. We still face a very young, developmental football program given the fact that the bulk of our class is first- and second-year players. They are talented and we are excited about our team right now.

"We came out of a 5:30 a.m. mat drill workout this morning and I am as excited as I have ever been in my coaching career about a group of guys and their mentality and their work ethic. I love them. We're still young and immature. The development will be steady. We are still young upfront and we are still working through the quarterback opportunities that we have. Darius [Wade] and John [Fadule] are getting healthy. We're young, but we're an exciting young. We are a talented young. And we just have to work like heck to get there.

"The talent is there. We have a bunch of great people there too. We have some new coaches in here. I am excited about the continuation of the winter program and I am excited about the start of spring football and all that is going to go into the development of this program. This recruiting class adds numbers and depth and I am excited about getting them here."

On the void of running backs in the 2016 signing class ...
"We really have some talented running backs on the team now. We didn't want to stack up a bunch of numbers at that position. There is only one ball. There are a couple of positions where that gets to be a problem. We have a lot of experience in the back field right now. We thought where we were with our backfield situation right now was right."

On if it was difficult to recruit after the 2015 season ...
"No. First of all, our record wasn't healthy but our program was really healthy. We lost five games by less than three points. Players know how hard we play. Players know of our youth and injury situations last season. Sometimes fans don't know that but people who know football know that. We had our best practices at the end of the year. That tells you all you need to know. It's healthy inside out. The players and the coaches are really excited about Boston College because they can see the trajectory that we are on."

On the coaching changes ...
"When you hire good coaches, there are opportunities [to leave]. Isn't that what you want? You want to hire a good staff that is marketable. It means they're good. That's life and the way it is. We will continue to do that. I've done that everywhere I've been. I did it when I was the head coach at Florida for Coach Meyer on an interim basis. I hired that staff. I hired them here [at Boston College[. That's the nature of the business. We were very sustainable here for a few years and then a great opportunity came for Don [Brown]. I have always had the philosophy that I always appreciate everything that everyone puts in to make our program a better program. I wish them the best opportunity, just like people did for me. That is the way that goes. It's all positive. People don't leave here for negative reasons. They leave here because the opportunities were greater. No one left here because they were not happy. Quite the contrary. We had a great chemistry on our staff and we will have a great chemistry moving forward."

On new defensive coordinator Jim Reid ....
"Jim Reid is awesome. He is one of the best developers of young men that I've ever been around. His energy is intoxicating. His experience level is unbelievable."

On new defensive backs coach Anthony Campanile ...
"Anthony Campanile has come into our football program. Get around that dude for five minutes and you tell me. He is an unbelievable recruiter. He has a passion and energy that is relentless and I love it."

On new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler ...
"I have coached with him before. I have been into battles with him at the University of Florida. I've been into battles with him when we won nine games and won the first bowl game in 30 years at Temple. He had a chance to move on and go to Auburn. He had a chance to go on and be at Virginia Tech. Now we have a chance to be back together again. I love it. It's exciting because I know that he is probably one of the best quarterback developers I've ever been around. He has coached Tom Brady, Chad Henne and Tim Tebow. He has been around some great players, so it's exciting."

On the tight end position ...
"We will grow it. Scot [Loeffler] has a great background utilizing 12 or 13 personnel. We have the advent of Charlie Callinan and Chris Garrison; I call them hybrids. They are big receivers who have enough to them that they can get near the box a little bit. We have guys who can help you in the throw game and who can help you in the run game. That is a direction that we are heavily looking into, driving towards and that is reflective on our recruiting. It is a direction I want to take advantage of. "

On recruiting the New England area ...
"We're strong in the local area and we work very hard in the local area. We're not going to win everyone. I think it's the same approach. We build a fence around Massachusetts and work inside out. That is what we did. We are expanding nationally in the Catholic leagues into Texas, New Orleans and California. We did California a year ago and got Ray Smith. That was a great get for us. We were able to go in and get Christian McStravick out of Texas, which was a good get for us. Grant Carlson out of Texas was another good get for us. We dipped down into the fifth-year market with Patrick [Towles]. We have always been in the Catholic leagues in Ohio and Indianapolis, which has always been strong for us, but we want to continue to grow that. Our brand is strong nationally to the right market."

On former BC linebacker Luke Kuechly playing in the Super Bowl ...
"Luke Kuechly is a great representative of Boston College. He is as good of person as you possibly can be around. He is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL right now. Here he is a BC player playing in the Super Bowl. What an opportunity for us to have one of our guys. Who more would you want to be out front as a representation of the BC football program and the university as a whole? What a great role model and representative he is for us. He has such an unbelievable name recognition and is incredibly important to us. We are very proud of him and what he has accomplished. "


On the quarterback situation heading into the spring ...
"There'll be competition, which is a beautiful thing. We're excited about these guys. Darius [Wade] is getting healthy. Patrick [Towles] has come in here and is working hard. It's unbelievable how fast Jeff [Smith] is physically and emotionally maturing. John Fadule and Troy [Flutie] are also there. We've just got a bunch of guys."

On recruiting tactics ...
"I think I had a pretty good handle on recruiting. At Boston College, it's all about identification, evaluation and targeting. You've got to have a good feel for the academic makeup and you've got to get guys on campus so they can feel how beautiful this place is. Our camp is a great tool for us because we've got to be great evaluators.

"It's critical that you evaluate properly, get kids on campus and build strong relationships. When you do that, you have a really good chance at being successful recruiting. It's all about the people. That relationship as a coach that you build with a young man and his family, it's critical. The sincerity of your approach is critical. We're going to be attractive to a kid who is high on education. We're going to be attractive to begin with. At Boston College it's not about, 'Hey, I want to get to the league.' Here it's about, 'I want to get a good degree and get to the league.'

"So we've got to be chasing guys who all of [what Boston College has to offer] matters, because if you're just chasing stars, you're going to struggle. It's not going to work out real good for you. But we don't want that to be our deal. We want guys like Mark Colombo and Dan Koppen. I recruited those guys and have a good feel for that. Those guys were all developmental guys. "

On how much weight is put on the higher starred recruits ...
"The facts of the matter are we've got to do a great job developing players. That's not to say there aren't a lot of great four- or five-star players. Someone can give you the percentage of how many of those players go onto the NFL and that number is going to be high. But there's enough great players out there that weren't ranked that high that you can get into and bring up."

On playing in a tough conference ...
"We play in the most competitive division of the ACC. We're not like some of the other schools like Duke, North Carolina and Virginia. They don't play Florida State, Clemson and Louisville every year. We play in the most competitive division of a conference that is the most competitive right now than it's been in the history of the ACC.

"There's a lot of talent in the ACC right now. And in terms of leagues that filter players into the NFL, yes, it starts with the SEC. But after that, it's the ACC. I think the ACC and SEC are neck and neck. The next league close to it is the Big Ten and it's a huge drop-off. It's been that way for the last four or five years.

"We play in an extremely talented league with a lot of four- and five-star recruits and a lot of grandiose facilities. Ten years ago, we were in the Big East conference with its built-in five wins. I know because I was there at Syracuse. And during the infancy of the ACC, Florida State and Clemson were both down. Even Notre Dame was down. The landscape is different now. It's much more competitive.

"So what's our niche? I'll tell you what our niche is. We've got to do a great job in development, get high character guys and go after being a very tough and physical football team. We have to be that way and we have to be kind of different than the rest of the teams. That's why we want to have a power attack."

"We could easily go to a spread attack. I was involved with that in the infancy of that offense. But that's a skill-skill game. That takes away from the defensive line. That's a hard game for us. I tell our kids all the time, 'There are a lot of great players out there, but not a lot of great teams out there.' We've got to be this close-knit team that is really highly accountable of each other and that can play without making too many mistakes.

"We didn't do that last year. We were so young and made so many mistakes on offense that there was a complete lack of consistency. We had more age on defense and were able to play cleaner. So that's our niche.

"Clearly, we've got to have a niche at Boston College. I think a great example of that is the Stanford team. They play with multiple tight ends, they have a power run game and they have these bigger, hybrid-style receivers and I think that's where when I came here three years ago is where I ultimately would like to be. It's a work in the process and I also said when I got here that it would take five years to get there. So I think we need to have a real plan on offense, a real plan on defense and really execute."

On the 2016 signing class ...
"I was talking to another head coach this morning. You don't really know what you've got until you get going. There's going to be some surprises. For example, my first class was really small. But in that nucleus, there were six or seven players that were really good. If you asked me in hindsight to grade last year's class and the one before that, I'd say we were right on. We have a lot of talented players. Were there some mistakes and misses? Yeah and there's going to be every year, especially when you're signing over 30 guys. This year, I feel great about it and feel like it'll be just like the last two years. I think we will be pretty on. I'm very excited [about the class].

"I just want to make this clear that we have great guys - just high-end people. I get a chance to look inside of these players homes and visit with their families and see their character. Will I be 100 percent right? Nobody is."


On what was upgraded in this class ...
"If you look at our team, in the back end and in the secondary, we're legitimately upgraded. In our secondary, we added a lot of speed and athleticism. And how about our linebackers? Our linebackers can run like heck. They're good football players. We've also upgraded our pass rush and completely restocked our offensive line. There'll come a day, in the next few years, where we will have the most dominant line in the ACC. Everyone will talk about this great offensive line at Boston College. Maybe not today, and it wasn't last year, but it will happen. You'll see."

On the group of wide receivers ...
"I think this group of wide receivers here are talented. And that's one thing I've been talking about since I got here that hasn't come to fruition yet. I really want to see that happen. Alex Amidon was a good football player, but right now I'm excited about the likes of Thadd Smith, Elijiah Robinson, Ben Glines and Michael Walker. We still have to develop them, but they're wired right. We just need to get someone who can get the ball to them in a high and accurate manner. And I think Scot Loeffler is really going to help us in that regard."