Even though O'Brien and Co. did a nice job of bringing in numbers, there is an evident drop-off in the talent level of these two classes versus BC recruiting classes of the past. In recent years, Boston College recruited and developed a number of great defensive players. From Will Blackmon, to Mathias Kiwanuka, to Brian Toal, Coach O'Brien has brought in some solid talent. However there are no Kiwanukas, Blackmons, or Toals in the 2005 & 2006 recruiting classes. This is not to say that these players are devoid of talent, just that there are no "sure things" amongst them. In many cases, the Eagles have brought in "hardworking" and "relentless" players who possess the heart, but maybe not the talent. This could be the saving grace for Coach O'Brien. He does appear to have brought in players who have the hunger to improve. This fact could help the Eagles compete with teams that may appear to have an advantage in talent. The following is a quick look at each defensive player that committed to play for Boston College in 2005 & 2006.
Brendan Deska – 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, 4.8 40-yard dash. Deska was a two-star Scout.com prospect out of Orlando, Fla.. He came to Boston College over offers from Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Central Florida, and Wake Forest. In the end, Deska chose the Eagles because he thought at BC he would have the best chance to play early in his career. He played mainly strong side defensive end in high school. Deska is a hardworking player with great height and decent speed. He's got a great frame, but he'll need to get stronger and bigger if he is to make an impact in college. Deska did not play as a freshman.
Allan Smith – 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, 4.5 40-yard dash. Smith was a three-star Scout.com prospect and the 52nd ranked defensive end in the country. In addition to BC, Smith received offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, and Missouri. The Rockhurst High School alumnus from Kansas City, Mo. was a teammate of current Notre Dame receiver D.J. Hord. Smith knew he needed to gain weight if he was ever going to make an impact. By the end of his freshman season, Smith had his weight up to 210 pounds. This is a good start for a player who weighed under 200 during his senior year of high school. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine a player of his size ending up along the defensive line; his future could be at outside linebacker. Smith did not play as a freshman.
Josh Williams – 6-foot-3, 275 pounds, 4.85 40-yard dash. Williams was a two–star defensive tackle who committed to BC, but never signed a letter-of-intent. He had offers Connecticut and Syracuse, but committed to the Eagles shortly after being offered a scholarship in June of 2004. There is no record of why he did not sign or whether he decided to attend a junior college or prep school.
Damik Scafe – 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, 5.0 40-yard dash. The Windsor, Conn. native was a three-star Scout.com prospect and the 66th ranked DT in the country. His only other scholarship offer came from Michigan State. Scafe has great size for a DT just finishing high school. Scouting reports indicate that he excels at stopping the run, but needs to develop his pass rushing skills. Scafe has a great motor and work ethic, but like many defensive tackles, he'll need a year to get stronger and adjust to the college game.
Thomas Claiborne – 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, 5.4 40-yard dash. Along with Scafe, Claiborne gives BC another big body along the defensive line. Despite his great size, Claiborne did not receive a scholarship offer from any other school. However he did receive interest from Connecticut, Maryland & Syracuse. The Wellesley, Massachusetts product can play DT or OG, but prefers to play defense. During his senior season, he had 35 tackles and 4 sacks. Film analysis shows a player with outstanding size who clogs the line of scrimmage, but he needs to use his size better. He should have been more adept at getting around much smaller competition. He'll need to use his size more efficiently in college.
Alex Albright – 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, 4.6 40-yard dash. Attending St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Albright played for one of the best programs in the state of Ohio. Albright was rated as a three-star Scout.com prospect and the 46th best defensive end in the country. He picked BC over Minnesota, Ohio State, Bowling Green, Ohio, East Carolina, and Louisville. He committed shortly after an unofficial visit last summer. Albright played linebacker until his senior year when he switched to defensive end. He is part of the recent trend of taking linebackers and converting them to defensive end. He'll need to gain some weight to play the college game, but if he keeps his speed, he could be a good one.
Josh Neubert – 6-foot-3.5, 245 pounds, 4.75 40-yard dash. Neubert was a three-star defensive end and the 76th ranked defensive end according to Scout.com. Neubert has carried a 3.8 GPA at North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pa. When it came to his college decision, he wanted a school with a nice mix of football and academics. He picked BC over offers from Indiana, Duke, and Northwestern. Neubert is a versatile athlete who also played tight end in high school.
Mike McLaughlin – 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, 4.8 40-yard dash. McLaughlin was a three-star Scout.com prospect. Hailing from Woburn, Mass., he chose to stay close to home for college. In addition to BC, McLaughlin received offers from Bowling Green, Maryland, Iowa, Purdue, and Syracuse. When he announced his commitment on May 18th, 2004, he became the first commitment of the 2005 recruiting campaign. McLaughlin is most known for his great intensity, which has been compared to former NFL linebacker, Bill Romanowski. During his senior season he had 75 tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 interception. McLaughlin did not play as a freshman.
Brady Smith – 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, 4.7 40-yard dash. Smith was a two-star Scout.com prospect from Baltimore, Md. He picked BC over Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and Temple. Smith is a smart player, but lacks elite speed. During his freshman year, he was switched to defensive end. During the season he gained 15 pounds. At 6-foot-1, he lacks ideal height to be an effective defensive end. Smith did not play as a freshman.
Mark Herzlich – 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, 4.7 40-yard dash. The Berwyn, Pennsylvania native was a three-star scout.com prospect. According to SuperPrep, Herzlich was the 20th best player in Pennsylvania. Herzlich is a versatile athlete who could play either defensive end or linebacker in college. In addition to Boston College, Mark had offers from Army, Duke, North Carolina, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Louisville. Mark originally committed to Virginia in June of 2005. However after his official visit to BC in December, he changed his mind. After the commitment, Herzlich said a big part of his decision was that he felt very comfortable with the BC coaching staff. During his senior season in 2005, Herzlich had 140 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles.
James McCluskey – 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, 4.7 40-yard dash. McCluskey, a three-star scout.com prospect, was rated as the 50th best linebacker in the country. The Billerica, Massachusetts native had no other scholarship offers, but did receive interest from Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Syracuse, Virginia, and Michigan. He committed shortly after receiving his offer in March of 2005. Scouting reports indicate that James has trouble squaring his shoulders before impact on running plays. As a result, he misses some tackles. However he does have good instincts possesses a play-making ability. He will need to continue to work on his technique before playing at the college level.
Darius Bagan – 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, 4.63 40-yard dash. The North Arlington, New Jersey product chose Boston College over Miami. Bagan's recruitment was slow at first because he played at a small school until his senior year. Bagan, a two-star scout.com prospect, committed to BC in September before he was offered by Miami. When he was eventually offered by the Hurricanes in December, Bagan wrestled with the decision until he finally chose BC on signing day. In the end, he picked Boston College because he really liked Coach O'Brien and his staff. As a senior, Bagan had 72 tackles, 7 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.
Paul Anderson – 6-foot-2, 217 pounds, 4.5 40-yard dash. Anderson was a three-star scout.com prospect from Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition to Boston College he also had scholarship offers from Duke, Indiana, Syracuse, and West Virginia. He was the fourth commitment of the 2005 recruiting campaign. He received an offer from BC during his junior season. Anderson was recruited as an athlete after having excelled at running back, receiver, linebacker, and safety in high school. During his senior season, Anderson had 69 tackles playing linebacker and safety. In addition to that, he had 20 total touchdowns on offense. Anderson's athletic ability allowed him to make an impact early during his freshman season in 2005. Coach O'Brien named him the back-up strong safety after an impressive showing in pre-season practices.
On the season, Anderson had 7 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 blocked punt. His best game was against Army where he had 5 tackles and recorded his 1 interception. With a year of college ball under his belt, Anderson will compete for even more playing time as a sophomore. Anderson made by far the most impact of any defensive player in the 2005 recruiting class.
Marcellus Bowman – 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, 4.5 40-yard dash. Bowman was a three-star Scout.com prospect and the 55th best DB in the country. The Youngstown, Ohio native chose the Eagles over Cincinnati, Indiana, Purdue, Syracuse, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh. He became the second member of the 2005 class when he committed in June of 2004. Bowman is a talented athlete with great size. He played both sides of the ball in high school, but projects to play safety in college. Bowman did not play as a freshman.
Andre Jones – 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, 4.5 40-yard dash. Jones was a two-star Scout.com prospect from Forestville, Md. He was rated as the 11th best player in the Maryland/DC area. He picked BC over Syracuse. However he never signed a letter of intent with the Eagles. It appears that he attended a prep school in Connecticut. Jones is not currently on the Boston College roster.
Razzie Smith – 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, 4.4 40-yard dash. Smith who hails from Winter Garden, Fla., chose BC over offers from Cincinnati, Toledo, Georgia Southern, and South Florida. In addition to being an all-star cornerback, Smith played running back, receiver, and even returned kicks in high school. With 4.4 speed, Smith has the talent to make an impact with the Eagles in the defensive backfield, and on special teams. He did not play as a freshman.
Wesley Davis – 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, 4.6-40 yard dash. Davis was a three-star Sout.com prospect and the 33rd ranked safety in the country. Hailing from Spring Valley, Calif., Davis is one of the few players to come to BC from the west coast. He decided to attend Boston College over offers from Colorado State, San Diego State, and UTEP. Davis is a physical player who loves to hit. His scouting reports indicate that he needs to improve his speed and agility before he will earn serious playing time. He committed to BC in September of 2005.
Chris Fox – 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, 4.42 40-yard dash. Fox was a two-star Scout.com prospect and ranked as the 99th best DB in the country. A native of Westwood, Mass. he did not originally plan to stay so close to home for college. However Coach O'Brien and his staff did a good job of making him feel like a priority. He committed in August to Boston College over offers from Colorado, Duke, and Oregon. Fox possess elite speed that could make him an asset to the BC secondary. He is projected to play safety at the college level.
Roderick Rollins – 6-foot-0, 160 pounds, 4.61 40-yard dash. Rollins was a three-star Scout.com prospect and the 53rd ranked safety in the country. Originally from Dallas, Texas, he chose the Eagles over offers from Arizona, Baylor, Kansas State, Minnesota, and Oklahoma State. Rollins picked Boston College because of the school's strong academics, as well as the opportunity to play early. He was also excited about playing in the recently strengthened ACC. Rollins has a good frame, but will need the redshirt year to bulk up. He does not have the speed to play cornerback. Scouting reports indicate that he projects best as a free safety.
Jeff Smith – 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, 4.4 40-yard dash. The two-star Scout.com prospect is from Kingston, Mass. While Smith did not receive any other scholarship offers, Connecticut, Maryland, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech all showed interest. While BC may be close to his home, the school's atmosphere is what attracted him to commit. He'll surely need a redshirt year to learn a new position, but Smith has the speed to make an impact before his career is over.
Reshaude Godwyn – 6-foot-0, 175 pounds, 4.45 40-yard dash. Godwyn, of Natick, Mass., committed shortly after a visit in August of 2005. His teammate, QB Bill Flutie is also a member of the 2006 recruiting class. Godwyn picked BC over Connecticut and New Hampshire. The two-star Scout.com prospect was recruited as a cornerback. Godwyn has the speed to play cornerback, but he'll need time to develop the size and the technique.
It is obvious that the 2005 & 2006 defensive recruiting classes do not represent the best in BC football history. However, a strong desire to win seems to be a common theme amongst many of the players in these two classes.
Regardless of this fact, Boston College has joined the ACC and helped to make it one of the deepest and strongest conferences in the country. As a result, it is going to take more than will and desire to win conference championships in the new ACC. Look for Coach O'Brien and the Boston College Eagles to struggle defensively until players like Toal, Blackmon, and Kiwanuka decide to return to Boston College.