John Fadule was a fourth-string quarterback for the Boston College Eagles last month. Two weeks ago he was leading the scout team. Last Saturday against ACC rival Virginia Tech, the walk-on freshman from Wellesley, Mass. completed eight of 20 passes for 143 yards. He also ran for 53 yards after taking over for redshirt freshman and native of Natick, Mass. Troy Flutie.
Fadule, who was a slot receiver until moving to quarterback his senior year of high school in 2013, spent a post-grad year at Choate Academy in Connecticut. While a member of the Wild Boars, Fadule led the team to an undefeated season and a New England Championship. Fadule earned All-New England honors, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 36 touchdowns.
The quarteback had a scholarship offer from Harvard University, but decided to walk-on at Boston college because he wanted to play Power Five football. Fadule's father, Jim, and cousin both played football at Harvard, and Jack, his cousin, was drafted by the Pittsburg Steelers in 2003.
Despite Fadule's strong ties to one of the most elite universities in America, Fadule decided to play football outside of Boston in Chestnut Hill, and he made the most of it.
Addazio already had three quarterbacks on scholarship in Darius Wade, Flutie, and Jeff Smith. Fadule was willing to walk-on, which impressed Eagles' head coach Steve Addazio:
"All he wanted was a fair shot to earn a scholarship," Addazio said in his weekly press conference. "I think that tells you a lot about a guy. I had great appreciation for that. He came in here, kept his mouth shut and went about his business... But little by little, we built up a bank of watching him. I think what caught my attention was against our defense he was making plays without much in front of him. After that we started filtering him in on 7-on-7's and different things. He made all the throws and we kept increasing his reps little by little."
Addazio is impressed with Fadule's mechanics, citing a tight spiral, strong arm, and pretty quick release. The third-year head coach said this week though that the freshman needs to work on staying in the pocket more, but as far as Fadule's ability to make plays down the field and find open receivers, "He can do all that," Addazio said.
But Fadule's journey up the depth chart wasn't just because of injuries to the top two quarterbacks, according to Addazio:
"One day, a month ago maybe, I grabbed him and said, 'I'm not sure that you can't play here.' That emotionally touched him and you could tell how much that meant to the guy. That impacted me. I was like, 'Wow, there's something to this here.' Then I wanted him to start taking some reps."
Despite Fadule's strong play last weekend, he has yet to secure the starting job, as Smith, who has started multiple games for the Eagles this season, has been cleared to play as of last Friday. But Fadule's energy and toughness should bode well for the young quarterback.
And as for Fadule's scholarship, Addazio said that it will be addressed at the end of the season.
"There's a lot to all of that in terms of NCAA regulations and numbers-wise" Addazio says. "But my philosophy is real easy here. If you go do it on the field and you earn it on the field, then you get a scholarship. That's the way I look at it. I like to see guys earn it and get it. That's the way I look at it. I like to see guys earn it and get it. Sometimes in Division I football, you start to think [having a scholarship] is a right and not a privilege... So it's refreshing sometimes to see someone who expects nothing and gives everything. It's good to see guys walk-on and earn it."