With Boston College set to take on Virginia Tech in just a little under three weeks it's time to take a step at some preseason accolades. These are based off conversations with coaches, press conference and coaching interviews, and just my intuition. As the season progresses, BC Maven will check back to see how our predictions ended up.
Breakout Eagle: Anthony Brown. How does one improve on one of the best statistical years a quarterback has had since Matt Ryan? For Anthony Brown there are some key areas that could make him a legitimate ACC top tier QB, most notably accuracy. During media days Mike Bajakian talked about working on this, and reports from the first scrimmage sound like he was able to fit some passes into tight spots. If Brown can become a consistent passer, BC's offense could become not only good but incredibly dangerous. If you want to see what Brown was able to do last season check out my Anthony Brown Highlight Reel I created on WePlayed.
Comeback Kid: Richard Yeargin III. Only two years removed from a horrific car accident that threatened not only his football career, but his life, Yeargin has made his way back on the field, this time for the BC Eagles. BC is in DIRE need for a defensive end to step up and fill the huge shoes of Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray, and what would be a better story than Yeargin? Reports from scrimmage is that he is suited up and playing, Addazio talked about him at length. Yeargin will be a story all BC fans will be following, and a player we all will be rooting for in 2019.
Rising Star: Tyler Vrabel. The son of former New England Patriot and now Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel, this offensive tackle has really opened eyes in Chestnut Hill. In over a year he has gone from around 270 pounds to over 300, and Addazio has already named him the starting left tackle for the upcoming season. According to the coach, he predicts Vrabel will be playing on Sundays in a few years, if Addazio is correct this could be the year that story begins.
Don't Forget About: John Phillips. Not a name that many BC fans may be familiar with, Phillips will be by the end of 2019. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the highest ACC offensive lineman on passing downs, and he will provide veteran leadership to a younger offensive line. Addazio loves the way he plays, and after we see him make some big plays as well, we will too.
Needs To Rebound: CJ Lewis. 2018 was not a great season for the young Lewis, who had a few drops in big spots. But the tall receiver has shown glimpses of what he could be, including this summer when he made a huge catch in traffic for a touchdown on an Anthony Brown pass during the first scrimmage. He is the perfect target BC needs for long passes, especially when coverages may focus more on Kobay White. Talking to wide receiver coach Richie Gunnell this past week and the coach talked about Lewis making plays this summer.
Darkhorse MVP: Brandon Sebastian. It was a brutal start of 2018 for Sebastian as the redshirt freshman was given the starting role right out of the gate. He struggled against good competition, but by the end of the season he was starting to look like a CB1 on any ACC team. With a young cast around him including Mike Palmer, Tate Haynes along with under-utilized Mehdi El-Attrach, it could be Sebastian that becomes the anchor on defense, making plays and causing turnovers.
Under the Radar: Joe Sparacio. While Isaiah McDuffie's health remains in jeopardy, the name that continues to pop up during summer camp has been redshirt freshman Joe Sparacio. BC's football blog has mentioned on numerous occasions that Sparacio has been making big plays, including making a huge hit during specialty drills during the scrimmage. If McDuffie can't go immediately, it will most likely be Max Richardson, John Lamot and Sparacio manning the linebacking group. If you want to see a glimpse of what he is able to do check out his highlight reel from high school. It shows him as a linebacker, but also on offense.
MVP Not Named AJ Dillon: Ben Petrula. All the talk in 2018 was around the play of Chris Lindstrom on the offensive line. But don't sleep on the play of Petrula, who had a monster year, especially for just a sophomore. His ability, especially on some of the run plays, to blast defenders off the ball, and take them out of the play was extraordinary. I started to evaluate some of his highlights on WePlayed, and selected some highlights. I recommend checking them out, because what you will see is a player who at times could be completely dominant. This may be putting the cart in front of the horse, but he may be the next 1st round offensive lineman coming out of Boston College, and certainly will be a name that everyone will be talking about at the end of this season.
Freshman To Watch: Zay Flowers. I wrote about Flowers yesterday, but he is a player with a specific skill set that BC desperately needs this season. With Jeff Smith and Michael Walker graduating, BC needs someone to fill the role of Smith, running reverses, jet sweeps etc. Flowers fits that roll perfectly. If another player fills that role (Ben Glines, Travis Levy etc.), he could be a kick/punt returner. As I mentioned yesterday, Addazio will find a way to get him on the field.