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Boston College Football: Steve Addazio Signing Day 2015 Press Conference Transcript

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"The lifeblood of our program exists through recruiting and the development of the student-athletes we already have."

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Opening statement...

It's exciting here, the first Wednesday of February to get a chance to see the culmination of all the hard work our coaching staff has put into recruiting. It's a year-long process, but it's really starting to be more than that these days. A lot of the time it's a two-year process. The lifeblood of our program exists through recruiting and the development of the student-athletes we already have. The recruiting process is critically imporrtant. Last year, we were playing with close to 72 scholarship players; we were closer to (FCS) rules than (FBS) rules. We have to really be able to load our team back up with a full roster of 85 scholarship players. We have to encourage and develop a larger walk-on population. When you have that, you're a healthier football team; you can practice at a higher level, and you become a much more fundamentally developed team.

This is our second real recruiting class; last year we had about 30 incoming players and ended up playing 17 or 18 of them. This year is a 26-person class. The goal is to fill positional needs. It's also to increase the athleticism and the team speed. Over the last two years, I think we have done that. You've seen evidence of that last year and I think you'll see evidence of that last year and I think you'll see more evidence of that this year with this recruiting class.

I think we've really increased our athleticism, our team speed, yet it all starts up front in the building of your offensive and defensive lines, and we certainly attacked those positional needs. You're talking about roughly 56 of our 85-man roster is now comprised in the last two recruiting classes, which is an awfully large chunk and a very young football team. They are the great building blocks for the future success of the program.

On the class breakdown...

Going down the class, we have 26 total signees, including four midyear enrollees: Chris Lindstrom, Jimmy Martin, Elijah Robinson, and Nolan Borgersen. Those four are all in school right now and they're all in the strength and conditioning program, which is a plus. Twenty-one student-athletes signing NLIs today, along with one fifth year transfer: Evan Kelly from the University of Richmond. He's from Seton LaSalle in Western Pennsylvania. He's a defensive lineman and will be joining our program as a guy who can come right in his fifth year ready to play immediately with some great experience.

On the geographic breakdown...

Geographically, we represent nine states. Fifteen of the 26 student-athletes are from within a five-hour radius, which is an area I said when I took this job was important to Boston College. Seven are from Massachusetts. Every year we are going to try and find the best players from the state of Massachusetts. Every year we are building our Massachuestts population. Four are from Connecticut, two are from New Jersey, two from New York, six from Florida, one from Virginia, two from Ohio, one from Pennsylvania, and one from California. Fifteen of the student-athletes are from private, Catholic schools. 19 were team captains and 19 were in our BC football camp.

On the commits' major awards and achievements...

23 of the 25 eligible players were named all-state, and five players won state championships; we have a Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year, Zach Allen; the Maxwell Football Club New Jersey Player of the Year, Elijah Robinson; MaxPreps First-Team All American, Nolan Borgersen; and the ESPN Boston Defensive Player of the Year, Lukas Denis. Two players participated in major postseason all-star games: Taj-Amir Torres in the Semper Phi All American Game and Ben Glines in the International Bowl.

On the offensive linemen coming to BC...

The large offensive line class is addressing the positional needs of our O-line. What we have is a void here. When I came in the numbers that we had, seven of those guys are no longer with the program. There were too many guys in one class. So we have to replace that with young players and develop them. I really like the talent level of the players that we have.

I judge [the players] by a lot of things: Are they qualified academically to do the work and receive a degree from Boston College, do they have high character, from a football standpoint, do I view them as potential NFL players? I think we've recruited an offensive line reminiscent of years past here: big, strong, physical offensive line. I've coached that position my whole career and I would tell you I'm excited about last year's and this year's O-line class. We have eight guys who are going to be a dominant front as the years go by. With a young offensive line, it's very difficult to get them ready to play immediately at a high level. That's certainly one of the tallest orders we have in front of us right now. In the future, we'll be dominant front.

On the importance of in-state recruiting...

You always want to build a fence around your school. Massachusetts has really good high school football, good coaches, and programs. These are kids that understand the Northeast. They understand the value of this kind of academic institution. Those transitions are good transitions. We signed the Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year, Zach Allen. Allen is a phenomenal football player. He is a big-time football player. That is one of the very finest players in the country. He's coming to BC from Connecticut. He's near his home; his family and coaches can come see him play. Those are all really key things.

Not everyone is going to be within the five-hour radius, but that's why it's so important to attract the very best players. We don't want to lose great players that can help us win at a high level within this area. You need to win on those guys. We didn't win on every one, but we won on a lot of them. That's critically important to do. If you don't do that, history really shows that you'll struggle.

On DB Lukas Dennis (Everett, MA)...

He's very athletic. And what really impresses me about Lukas is that he is a tremendous guy. He is a really high character guy who is very bright. When you get around him, he's all about the right stuff. He really overwhelmed me with who he was as a person. Yes, he's athletic. Yes, he's a great player, but who he is as a guy really impressed me a lot. He is real BC guy. He will do well here. That is important. He's coming here for the right reasons, and I like that because that means that you can really invest in his development because he's going to thrive here.

On graduate transfer DL Evan Kelly...

He's an interior defensive lineman; he's a big powerful strong guy who is very explosive. Obviously we had a chance to watch tape of him versus NC State. He really controlled the line of scrimmage and really got some great push back. I think he's an older guy coming from an academic school who has a fifth year and is very motivated. We're dealing with an experienced veteran. Everybody knows he's a plug-in-and-play guy. We don't have to worry about the maturation process here, which is something we've had great success with here in the last couple of years—those fifth-year guys you can plug in and play. It helps fill voids. You have a guy here who loves football and wants to play at the highest level and that's a great opportunity for us.

I'm just interested in the fact that he can play right now. He's tangible. I can see it. He can help us right now. Those are win-wins right there—which are hard to come by—especially when you have experience with depth problems. This helps you.

On Ben Glines (Cincinnati, OH) and his versatility...

He was a running back in high school. He can also play inside slot receiver. He can do a lot of things. We feel like he's a guy who can play inside slot, he can come back to the backfield, he can handle the ball, he can do a lot of different things. He's a heck of a football player; he's a really smart guy. He comes from one of the best high school football programs in America (St. Xavier). You watch him on tape against great competition and he's just a real talented guy; he's got a lot of ability. He's going to play that inside receiver for us, which can mean that he can not only operate as a receiver but he can probably operate as a hybrid kind of guy who can do a great job at catching bubbles and having great running skills.

On a new class of "dudes"...

I hope they're all "dudes." That's what we're going to find out. That's the goal right now. We think we got some dudes, but that remains to be seen.

On early enrollee OL Chris Lindstrom (Dudley, MA)...

He's an undersized guy right now who's going to grow up to be a giant of a guy. He's probably gained since he's been here. I think they've said he's already gained like 15 or 18 pounds. He's extremely athletic. He's tough. He reminds me of a young Matt Patchan. These guys who are young, they're little light in the tail, but he can run. He plays hard. He loves the game. He's just everything you want. His uncle and his dad were great players; they were pro players. He's just going to keep developing and become a heck of a football player. He's a high-energy guy.

On Lindstrom's toughness...

He's a guy who is going to fight you. He likes football. He was brought up tough and he's tough. And you can see it the way he's training in that weight room. He attacks every work out. I love those kinds of guys. They're ball guys. You can't coach them hard enough. You can't push them hard enough. They just keep coming back for more.

On addressing the pass rush...

One of the areas that we wanted to address in this class was pass rushing. It was really important for us to get a better four-man rush and not always have to create pressure through five- and six-man pressures. We feel that we've got the ability to play coverage and have a four-man rush. We're really excited about the pass rush right now of Wyatt Ray and Zach Allen. These are two young guys who are big-time pass rushers, so I am really excited about both these guys being on opposite sides and getting after the quarterback. They've got the speed, the size, and the athleticism to create havoc in the pass rush. We thought that was critically important in this class.

On early enrollee WR Nolan Borgerson (Westwood, NJ)...

He had a seamless transition in the winter workouts. He was completely unfazed by the intensity of the workouts, which is hard to do. He comes from a good high school program (Westwood Regional). He's a great guy. He's a tough guy. He's got bona fide speed. You're talking about a guy who came in camp and ran a 4.3. He's fast. We've seriously upgraded the speed on our team. We've got several guys who can flat run and he's one of them. He's probably the fastest.

On TE Jake Burt (Lynnfield, MA)...

I have great respect for (former St. John's Prep coach) Jim O'Leary and for (current SJP head coach) Brian (St. Pierre), as a former great NFL and BC player. Brian had really high recommendations, as did Coach O'Leary. You watch him on tape, he plays real hard. We had him in camp. We watched in basketball season. He's a great athlete; he's a real competitor. We really think there's great upside here. We feel like with his athleticism as a tight end and physical presence, he should have a great career.

On the maturation of the offense...

We had some guys who stretch the field this year. Thadd Smith is a fast dude. (The wide receivers) are just young. We were in a situation about winning football games. And the best way we felt we could win this year was utilizing Tyler (Murphy)'s speed. Obviously, as we're building this young receiver core with the speed, you've got Sherman Alston, who's extremely quick and fast. Thadd and Nat Dixon and Bobby Swigert coming back and all this influx of young talent. We're going to be fast and athletic now.

It's the gelling of that and the maturation of the quarterback. Darius Wade has got a great arm and he throws the ball extremely well. Troy Flutie is a great anticipator, which is a unique quality to have as a quarterback. He does a great job anticipating guys coming out of their breaks. He doesn't have to see them open. Some guys have to see them open. Troy doesn't need to see them open. He can anticipate that route. So both of those guys have unique tools and both are very athletic. The athletic part—the ability for the quarterback to extend plays in the pocket, whether it be in designed run plays or not—will continue to be part of our arsenal.

We absolutely are trying to expand our throwing game and that's why we're recruiting the way we're recruiting right now. I know people who just assume "just go out and throw 40 passes." I'm into finding a way to win. I want the team to complement each other and win with the existing talent that we have. But the ultimate goal to expand our throw game and I believe that we're starting to have the talent base to do that. It's just going to take some time to continue to develop that.

On winning games...

In two years here, we are dramatically different on offense. In both years, there was a heavy emphasis on running the football but really with two different styles. I think we've done the best job we could possibly do to take advantage of the talent that we have. Plain and simple. And that's what I'm going to do.

My job is to win football games. The best way to win football games is to utilize the talent that we have the best way we can. I'm hoping that we can become a more balanced team. Will we ever be a 50-50 team? I'm going to say probably not, but you never know. But we certainly are going to become more balanced than we already are. That comes with the talent level and then production. When you start getting people who can give you proven production, then that's when you go ahead and start expanding.

Football is a funny game. You don't look for that come game time. You look for that during the week. When you get that in practice then you're going to do that in the game. Things have to gel together. My first priority was to finish this recruiting class. My next priority is to gel the next pieces together. I'm in the middle of that process and I"m looking forward to the completion of that here, because we are going to start spring football in the last week of February, which is only a few weeks away. So get ready to roll.