BOSTON - With an air of uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff, the quarterback position, the kicking game, and replacement of defensive tackles Ron Brace and BJ Raji, Boston College head football coach Frank Spaziani announced his first class of recruits on Wednesday evening.
At the time of the news conference, Spaziani received letters of intent from 16 high school seniors to come to the Heights in the fall. None of them will be enrolling early for the spring semester.
The players are:
Keith Bourne¸OL, Fitchburg, MA
Johnathan Coleman, WR, Bronx, NY
Bryan Davis, DL, Lithia Springs, GA
Kasim Edebah, DE, Hamburg, Germany
Rolandan Finch, RB, New Albany, IN
Nate Freese, K, Strongville, OH
Luke Kuechly, LB, Cincinatti, OH
Andre Lawrence, LB, Hartford, CT
Michael Marscovetra, QB, Oakland, NJ
Mike Naples, TE, Somerville, NJ
Conor O'Neal, DT, Lithia, FL
Sterlin Phifer, RB, Virginia Beach, VA
Dillon Quinn, DT, Pawling, NY
Jake Sinkovec, LB, Mundelin, IL
John Wetzel, OL, Pittsburgh, PA
Ian White, OL, Conway, NH
Jim Noel, a cornerback from Everett, MA, had not yet signed his letter of intent as of 4 PM, but reports indicate that he will make up the 17th member of the recruiting class of 2009.
Spaziani said that while the coaching change scared off a few recruits who were on the fence between BC and other schools, "we kept all of the guys who had been committed to us."
"It goes back to the type of kid we're recruiting," Spaziani said. "What I'm most impressed with from this class is the sense I got going into their homes – I would walk out thinking ‘that's an impressive family.' They were BC people."
"Yes, there was [some uneasiness about the coaching situation], but I really don't think that it was an overwhelming problem," he continued.
After the coaching change, Spaziani and the staff hit the road to personally visit every player who committed to BC.
"Marriott called me today and wondered why I didn't have a reservation for tonight," he laughed. "We've been doing a lot of traveling."
The Eagles have a few glaring needs going into the 2009 season, and Spaziani seemed confident that he brought in players who could fill in some of the gaps.
"We've addressed some of our needs," he said. "We got four guys to replace our big d-linemen [Brace and Raji]… We needed some linebackers, and we got a few. And we also got some other players who are good at various positions."
The most highly regarded addition to the defensive line is Dillon Quinn, a 6'7'', 295 lb tackle rated 3 stars by Scout. Quinn had waivered a bit in his commitment to BC after the coaching change, taking a visit to Cincinatti, but he ultimately stayed with the Eagles.
Another area of concern for BC going into 2009 is under center. According to Spaziani, Michael Marscovetra, a two-star quarterback from Indian Hill High School in New Jersey, has a chance to compete right away for the starting job with sophomore Dominique Davis and redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle.
"Yeah, he will [compete for the starting job]," Spaziani said. "We have young quarterbacks without much experience. He's a young guy, but he's only three games behind the other guys when it comes to game experience."
Marscovetra, 6'3'', 185 lb., was rated as the #1 QB prospect in New Jersey by ESPN and according to BC, he chose the Eagles over Maryland and Pittsburgh.
The kicking game has been a concern for BC for four straight seasons, and the staff hopes that the signing of Nate Freese will help solidify the Eagles' special teams. The 1st team all-Ohio kicker, who hit a Strongville High School record 52 yard field goal, chose BC over Kansas and Toledo. Freese is expected to handle kickoff duties right away in 2009, a role occupied by Billy Bennett before his suspension from the team in 2008. Steve Aponavicius has struggled in that role since coming on board as a walk-on in 2006.
BC's incoming class is not rated highly by recruiting experts. Scout.com gives five of BC's recruits 3 stars, while the rest are rated as 2-star recruits. Still, Spaziani feels that BC's track record proves that this class will be a strong one despite its low ranking.
"History's on our side," he said. "I can go down the list of guys [who were not rated highly] – BJ Raji, Ron Brace, Matt Ryan."
Spaziani said the biggest difference for him as the head coach was being personally involved in the closing process.
"I forgot how much I enjoyed [recruiting]," he said. "I hadn't been doing it for a while… this time, I was out there. The last few years I was listening to everyone else… now I'm making my own calls."
Spaziani said the staff and players would now use this time to rest up before spring practice begins.
"Now, we'll take a rest and recharge our batteries. Then we'll solidify the staff, then get into our blueprint for next year's recruiting class, and spring ball."
Looking toward next year's recruiting class, Spaziani is optimistic that he can bring a strong class to BC.
"We've got a great place here that people want to be a part of," he said. "Once we get back on track [after the staff is in place], we'll be able to do some good things."
BC Football Announces 2009 Recruiting Class
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