The easy part is over. Most of the thousands of players who officially signed letters of intent on Wednesday to play big time college football made their minds up weeks ago.
The suspense factor among the super blue chip and blue chip athletes was minimal.
So were the results. Alabama, for the third successive season, was proclaimed No. 1 in recruiting new talent.
The Southeastern Conference? Ranked NO. 1, 2, 5,6,7,8,9.
Only defending national champion Florida State (No. 3), Big Ten Champ Ohio State (4) and perennial national curiosity leader Notre Dame (10) cracked the Top 10.
Now comes the hard part. Developing the talent into winning programs, bowl eligible teams and contending for the national championship.
Make no mistake, there is caste system in college football. The Super (Talent) Rich, the Rich, the comfortable and the struggling.
Boston College never has been part of the Super Rich or Rich group.
But with the 30 players that BC coach Steve Addazio signed on Wednesday, and following a turnaround 7-6 (from 2-10) season, you could make an argument that the players that will be putting football uniforms on for BC next season could make the Eagles and Addazio comfortable.
The 30 players is over the NCAA yearly limit of 25, but since 7 players are early enrollees, they will count on the 2013 scholarship list, not 2014.
BC’s goals are different, although Stanford’s academic pedigree and athletic success in recent years suggests that competing for the national championship is realistic, with the right people doing the right things at the right time.
BC is not there, maybe never will be, in a conference which is filled with hungry sharks such as FSU, Miami and Clemson, all who have national championship trophies. BC has only a couple of 4-star recruits and was ranked as the 8th (of 14) recruiting class in the ACC.
Those numbers are now meaningless. It is time to develop the talent to see if a Matt Ryan or a Luke Kuechly emerges.
What Addazio wants to do is take small steps towards bigger goals.
Of the class of 30 players, 17 are within a five hour driving radius of the BC campus. Seven are from Massachusetts, which does not have a deep level of high school talent.
It doesn’t matter to Addazio. He wants to keep the Massachusetts talent at BC. “The goal remains the same,” said Addazio, “which is to build a fence around Massachusetts.
It is Addazio’s–who took over in December 2012–first full recruiting season. “This is our class,” he said. “We’ve got to build off of this.”
BC is not good enough to simply win by putting the players recruited on the field. Addazio has to be creative, try different things.
One experiment he suggested was to move 5th year QB Josh Bordner, who came to BC the same time as four year starter Chase Rettig, to wide receiver/running back/QB. “He wants to play,” said Addazio. “He wants to get on the field. We’re going to try and find a way to do that.”
Another interesting twist was in making it clear–at least at the start–that incoming freshman Troy Flutie was going to start his college career the same way he ended his career at Natick High School–as a QB.
Most early projections listed Flutie as a wide receiver/athlete rather than a QB.
He may be all of that, but Addazio says he will get a long look at QB when he arrives this summer.
The race may be over by then if Taylor Murphy, who was a sometime starter last season at the University of Florida, but transferred to BC this winter after picking up his undergraduate degree, adapts to his new surroundings quickly.
Fifth year QB who can start in the SEC generally can adjust to new surroundings quickly.
All that will unfold in the next several weeks as BC moves from recruiting to developing talent. Spring ball will start after spring break in March.
Addazio says he can’t wait. There are things to be done, such as finding a new starting QB, a new primary running back, a new kicker who is automatic on field goals from almost any range, a new “Go To” receiver for the new QB.
There is no great hurry because the opening game against UMass on August 30th is still 205 days away. But there is a sense of urgency that Addazio likes to promote
The countdown has begun. The 2013 season is now tucked away in the archives. Whether it will be a beginning of a string of success, such as the 12 consecutive winning (and bowl appearance) seasons the Eagles started under Tom O’Brien in 1999, remains uncertain.
It is not even mid-February, but the sounds of spring, summer and fall are already in the air.
© 2014, Mark. All rights reserved.