Boston College exceeded expectations once again in Year 2 under Steve Addazio as the Eagles rode a potent rushing attack and a hard-nosed defense to a bowl performance. There will be a lot of turnover on offense, though, which means there is ample opportunity for a receiver to emerge.
Position to improve: Wide receiver.
Why it was a problem: There were not many receptions among the receivers last season, but that’s not a product of the receiving unit having played poorly. With Tyler Murphy and a stable of talented running backs, Addazio, the former offensive line coach, was intent on utilizing his team’s strength. The Eagles just didn’t throw the ball often. When they did throw, the Eagles weren’t overly explosive in the passing game. Shakim Phillips had an impressive 21.7 yards per catch, but it comes on only 13 receptions. Josh Bordner, who led the team with 27 catches, averaged 12.81 yards per reception, which ranked 19th in the ACC. Bordner and Phillips will not return in 2015, though. The receivers had a letdown in the loss to Clemson, too, as the Eagles dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass.
How it can be fixed: The Eagles are not going to become a team predicated on the downfield pass, so it’s not as if there needs to be an overhaul at the position. It would obviously help open up running lanes and ease the pressure on quarterback Darius Wade if he can find a receiving security blanket and a consistent deep threat. Rising sophomore Sherman Alston already provides a nice spark, although he stands only 5-foot-6. A look at the receivers Addazio has recruited shows there is no set model; he recruits shorter, shiftier receivers and physical, bigger-bodied players. Any are capable of stepping up into a highlighted role.
Early 2015 outlook: Alston is a big catch waiting to happen, and he has already made quite the name for himself by making a handful of special plays. Dan Crimmins finished second on the team with 25 catches, and the 6-5, 237-pound rising senior has the frame to be a go-to option when the Eagles are in need of a first down. Charlie Callinan showed flashes of being a solid receiver in the Clemson loss. Addazio has done a very good job recruiting and putting together a complete team, so there should be reason for optimism.