Fresh off their first bowl berth in three years, the BC Eagles have loaded up in coach Steve Addazio’s first full recruiting class.
“I felt like we had a really good year from a position standpoint, a talent standpoint, a numbers standpoint and our footprint standpoint,” the coach said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon to announce the Class of 2014. “Really excited about our class. I really feel like we filled some real needs. And just a great group of guys. A class that’s really tightly knit together, the parents are close, the kids are close.
“They understand Boston College, they’re guys who want to get an elite degree and play major college football and be a part of a championship team. I really couldn’t be happier.”
The breakdown looks like this: 30 commits, including two graduate transfers, one ESPN300 member (RB Jonathan Hilliman), three four-star recruits and 19 three-star recruits. The recruits come from 12 different states, led by seven from Massachusetts, six from New Jersey and four from Florida.
BC added 16 offensive players and 14 defensive players.
Just based on the numbers, it’s a big step forward for BC. Consider that the 2013 class had just 17 commitments and included only nine three-star recruits and no four-star recruits. And the year before that, in Frank Spaziani’s final full class, the numbers were 17 commits and 12 three-star prospects.
BC hadn’t corralled a four-star prospect since Al Louis-Jean committed in 2011.
Since Addazio took the job in December 2012, he had only a few months to work on the Class of 2013. That means this year’s edition is more representative of what he’s looking for.
“Last year we were able to bring in a couple guys, and I didn’t really know those guys very well. And to tell you the truth, we’re fortunate that a handful of those guys, I think, are gonna be really, really good players. And we’re lucky,” he said. “But this class is a class that we put a full year into, and we know them very well. And any time you sign 30, that’s a large number, you need to know them well, because the more guys you sign, the higher rate there [is] for some misses.
“But we feel great about this class. There’s some real high-end players in this group right now. So we’re gonna be able to really build off of this. ... We’re gonna be a very young football team next year, we’re gonna play a lot of young players, and that’s a good thing. And we’ll build for the future that way.”
With Heisman finalist Andre Williams graduating, the Eagles are loading up in the backfield. Hilliman is the big get, a four-star recruit from St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) who had been committed to Rutgers before flipping to BC in December.
“I think we’re talking about two big-time backs,” Addazio said, when asked about Hilliman and Outlow. “I anticipate them playing right away. My mindset is to play this class. Does that mean every one of them is gonna play right away? No. But my mindset is to play this class. We’re gonna get them all on the field and play ‘em and get ‘em experienced and get ‘em going and build for the future.”
Addazio & Co. also have to replace outgoing senior QB Chase Rettig, and to that end the Eagles are adding Darius Wade (Middletown, Del./Middletown High School) -- the No. 21 dual-threat QB in the country, according to ESPN RecruitingNation -- and local star Troy Flutie (Natick, Mass./Natick High School), nephew of BC great Doug Flutie.
The former Florida coach has also drawn on his Gators connections to attract QB Tyler Murphy and O-lineman Ian Silberman as graduate transfers, following on the heels of Matt Patchan’s successful one-year stint on BC’s O-line in 2013.
“I’m just telling you, these guys are all talented guys,” Addazio said of Flutie, Murphy and Wade. “They’re very, very talented. And they all can run. And they all have got some real magic to ‘em.
“So I’m really, really excited about it. I’ve gotta tell ya. It’s always good when you have a really good older guy in there that can help mentor [guys about] a lot of things, how to handle yourself, how to act, how to prepare, just all those things. I think it’s a really great mix.”
Don Brown will also have a few new weapons on defense, led by two four-star recruits in marquee defensive end Harold Landry (Spring Lake, N.C./Pine Hills High School) and linebacker Connor Strachan (Wellesley, Mass./St. Sebastian’s School).
BC had planned to host a news conference and run a live Web broadcast for signing day, with Jon Meterparel -- the voice of the Eagles -- announcing signings as they rolled over the fax lines. But the latest winter storm snowed under those plans.
The piles of precipitation didn’t put any sort of damper on Addazio’s fire, though, which was crystal clear.
Asked if he believes this year’s haul will work as a springboard for the Class of 2015, Addazio said yes.
“This is a really strong class,” he said. “I don’t know where we’re rated, or anything like that, I don’t really follow that real heavily, but this is a class full of guys that are really gonna be good for our football team from an ability standpoint on the field and from a chemistry standpoint. Any time you have that kind of chemistry and that kind of glue, it helps you moving forward.
“Because the closer knit your team is, the better the chemistry on your team, the better it is for your recruit.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.