This is the third in our annual "Impact Player" series, taking a closer look at some of the state's top players as we draw closer to the start of MIAA football season. To see past Impact Players, CLICK HERE. As always, the names of opposing high school coaches commenting are withheld.
There's lots of creative adjectives that tend to accompany Shepherd Hill offensive guard Chris Lindstrom. But however you want to dress him up -- wiry strong, country strong -- the operative theme with him is raw power.
The son of one NFL veteran and Boston University Hall of Famer, and nephew of another, Lindstrom was the first in-state offensive lineman to commit to Boston College's 2015 recruiting class last March. He's coming off a brilliant junior season last fall in which he was a finalist for ESPN Boston's Lineman of the Year award, and was named to its annual All-State Team, as the Rams earned a top seed in MIAA Division 4 Central.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder's ability can be summed up in one play:
Add 30-40 pounds to that frame, without compromising mobility, and you can understand why BC might be excited about his potential.
Athletically, Lindstrom is a unique breed. It's not uncommon for offensive linemen to dabble in basketball during the winter -- most coaches consider it resourceful for footwork development -- and Lindstrom excelled as a power forward this winter for the Rams, who reached the Division 2 West Final in March. But it's rare for said linemen to take up tennis during the spring (just envision a 300-pound high school kid lumbering back and forth on a cross-court volley).
Scariest of all, Lindstrom could end up being the lightest player this year on an offensive line that's expected to average around 270 pounds across. That, combined with the impressive speed of dual-threat quarterback Drew Jean-Guillaume, has many pegging the Rams as a favorite across the state for Division 4. There's a mound of hype behind these guys this fall, a spot they're not accustomed to, but so far Lindstrom and Co. appear to be handling it well.
Player: Chris Lindstrom
School: Shepherd Hill Regional High School
Hometown: Dudley, Mass.
Listed Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 240 pounds
Scouts Inc. Grade: 3 stars (74 overall)
Scouts Inc. Rank: 6 - Mass.
College: Boston College
Key 2013 stat: Behind Lindstrom, Rams ballcarriers averaged 6.4 yards per carry and totaled 38 rushing touchdowns.
Workout stat: Recorded a 4.68-second 20-yard shuttle.
Opposing Coaches: "Chris I have known forever. Not only is he a great player now, but he has the upside that could lead to playing on Sundays. Not many linemen have the athletic ability to play basketball and tennis while lifting weights at the same time. He has studied the game and blocking schemes to the point where he is a coach on the field. Chris is also a very, very nice young man who BC will love having on campus. . . If you look at his technique, it’s nearly flawless for our level, and he generates a lot of power because of it. He’s not as big as Ron Brace [Burncoat High alum and former New England Patriots defensive tackle] was at the same age, but he has that same athletic ability. Combined with his size, it’s a force. . . He is a bruising run blocker with great footwork. He literally pancaked at least six or seven of our front seven players over the course of the game. Tough, tough kid, but if there was one thing he has to improve, it’s blocking in space."
Scouts Inc.: "Developmental prospect physically with very good height, but lacking in ideal bulk at this stage and will need to add more mass to his frame though does have room to support additional size. Displays adequate playing strength which should continue to improve as he physically develops. . . . Flashes ability to come off low and deliver an adequate pop and roll hips at contact and generate some movement. Doesn't consistently roll hips and can get top heavy and can fall off blocks. Can wash defenders when asked to block down. Displays adequate pull/trap ability and displays good awareness and can get a hat on second-level targets with good angles. . . . Looks to give good effort to get job done and stay with blocks and displays a physical and aggressive nature. . . . Lindstrom is a developmental prospect who needs to continue to fill out his frame as well as develop and round out his game. He will likely need at least a red-shirt and will need to work to maintain mobility as he adds needed size, but displays some tools to work with. Could be developed at multiple spots along the line, though remaining as an interior player likely his best fit."
Bottom Line: As intimidating and violent on the gridiron as he is polite and articulate off of it, you can make a good case for Lindstrom as the state's most athletic lineman. Considering the depth of this year's line class -- five Bay State linemen currently hold FBS offers or are committed -- that should say something. Lindstrom has reportedly bulked up since the end of basketball season, when he dropped down to 230, so it will be interesting to see how he looks this fall. Under head coach Chris Lindstrom Sr., the Rams have been one of the most prominent Double Wing offenses. This year, they'll have the added pleasure of a target on their back, though it's easy to see why.