Rising senior Chris Cane (6-4, 236) is next in line but he will be challenged by junior dual threat QB Codi Boek (6-3, 220), who transferred to Chestnut Hill from Idaho State via American River College in California.
Also, redshirt freshman Dominique Davis (6-4, 190) is expected to compete for playing time as well.
Whoever claims the starting position will have big shoes to fill, both from a talent and leadership standpoint. All Ryan did last year was lead B.C. to 11 wins and the ACC's Atlantic Division Championship while throwing for 323 yards per game, good for sixth best in the nation.
He also is expected to be selected among the top three picks in next month's NFL Draft.
"We've got to see what our guys can do," said head coach Jeff Jagodzinski, now in his second year with the Eagles. "Chris (Crane) is just an unknown quantity right now because I don't know what he can do. He's never had to do it. But I think from watching some of the cut-ups from last spring and fall, he's going to be fine. It's just, what are his strengths? What can he do best to help us put points the board?"
Boston College will also have questions at running back, where they will be without the services of Andre Callendar and L.V. Whitworth for the first time in four years after both have moved on.
Freshman Josh Haden, a four-star back as rated by Scout.com in the class of 2008, is expected to claim the starting spot. Interestingly enough, Haden's brother, Joe Jr., is expected to compete as a starting cornerback next season for the Florida Gators.
Three starters return on the offensive line, including C Matt Tennant, sophomore RT Anthony Castonzo and senior RG Clif Ramsey. Wide receivers Brandon Robinson and Rich Gunnell are also back as both try to increase their production to make up for the loss of Kevin Challenger.
First-team All-ACC performer Ryan Purvis is also back as a senior after catching 54 passes last season.
Defensively, the Eagles sustained losses at several positions including linebacker, cornerback and safety where Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Dejuan Tribble and Jamie Silva are all expected to be drafted next month.
That should make it somewhat difficult to duplicate last year's production as B.C. finished No. 2 in the nation in rushing defense and No. 19 overall.
The massive B.J. Raji, the anchor of the line, returns at defensive tackle. Raji, however, will miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery this offseason.
Junior Mark Herzlich leads a stout group of linebackers, who will also welcome back senior Brian Toal. Toal, who scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime against Clemson in 2005 as a fullback, will is back after a year off to rehab his surgically repaired shoulder.
DeLeon Gause and Roderick Rollins return in the secondary, which will be very inexperienced with the loss of its two stars from a year ago.
2008 OUTLOOK: Boston College will experience some drop off next season, but not as bad as most are expecting. In fact, the Eagles starting lineup will have a sprinkling of NFL talent on both sides of the ball despite the loss of Ryan, Tribble, Silva and others. There is still plenty of talent on defense, led by Raji and Toal, but the explosive passing attack is gone. Expect the Eagles to contend once again for the ACC's Atlantic Division, but it will be the defense, not the offense paving the way.
ACC Spring Update: Boston College
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