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BC football notebook: Recruiting, coaching changes/additions, Zay Flowers

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There’s been some notable news in the past week that hasn’t had a spotlight due to the Bill O’Brien hiring, as here’s all the latest on Boston College football in the past week.

Here’s a recap of all the latest surrounding the program that’s not O’Brien-related.

D-Line coach Oghobaase following Hafley

Boston College defensive line coach Vince Oghobaase is following Jeff Hafley to Green Bay, as he’ll become the Packers’ new defensive line coach with Hafley at the helm of the defense.

Oghobaase originally followed Hafley to BC when Hafley first took over in 2020, though beforehand was the UCLA defensive line coach for two seasons (2018-2019) and a 49ers DL assistant coach for a pair of seasons (2016-2017). Prior to that, he spent time as both a graduate assistant coach at Duke and Ohio State after a standout playing career as a D-lineman for the Blue Devils (2006-2009).

Hafley and Oghobaase share an Ohio State coaching experience while they were also on the 49ers staff together for his Oghobaase’s two seasons in San Francisco (2016-2017) — with Hafley being there from 2016-2018 — so it certainly makes sense why Oghobaase is following him to Green Bay.

Late signing

The second national signing day took place Wednesday, with BC welcoming three-star linebacker Omar Thornton to the Class of 2024. The 6-foot, 195-pounder out of Fort Lauderdale, FL had a big senior year and as it appears BC seems to be his only Power 5 offer.

His 247 Sports page reads: Sun Sentinel Broward 2M-1M Defensive Player of the Year. Transferred into American Heritage from Western for senior season. Totaled 81 tackles (14 TFL), 8 sacks, 2 INT and a FF. Led the Patriots with 7.4 tacklers per game, helping them reach the semifinals of Florida’s 2M playoffs.

Thornton ranks as the 150th linebacker nationally and the 216th best player in the state of Florida. He joins the class of just 13 high school names in BC’s C/O 2024 and is the only linebacker in the class, which includes the 10 names the Eagles have added in the transfer portal.

Flowers under assault investigations

As positive of a time this is for BC football, 2023 first-round pick Zay Flowers who’s coming off of a huge rookie year and a near Super Bowl appearance is currently being investigated for a domestic assualt.

Via NBC’s Pro Football Talk:

The Baltimore County police told the online site it was made aware of an alleged assault in the Owings Mills area on Jan. 21 and the matter is pending.

The investigation of Flowers includes the police department in Acton, Massachusetts, which confirmed to the Banner a domestic violence incident report related to an incident in Baltimore County last month. The Acton police department would not release the report to the Banner, citing state laws of confidentiality between victims and police in cases of domestic violence

Police have not charged Flowers with a crime.”

O’Brien’s first addition to staff

O’Brien’s first addition to BC football’s 2024 coaching staff has reportedly been made, as the Eagles are hiring Flroida Strength coach Craig Fitzgerald. It was first reported by Florida’s On3 affiliate site.

Fitzgerald has plenty of experience with O’Brien, working under him at Penn State before joining him with the Texans from 2014-2017. He then worked for both Tennesee and the Giants before recently taking a short-lived tenure at Florida as the Performance Director.

2020-23: New York Giants (Director of Strength and Performance)
2018-19: University of Tennessee (Director of Football Sports Performance)
2014-17: Houston Texans (Strength and Conditioning)
2012-13: Penn State University (Director of Strength and Conditioning)
2009-11: University of South Carolina (Director of Strength and Conditioning)
2005-09: Harvard University (Director of Strength and Conditioning)
2000-05: University of Maryland (Asst. Director of Strength and Conditioning)
1999: Arizona State University (Graduate Assistant Strength/Conditioning)
1997-99: Catholic University (Director of Strength and Conditioning)

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Boston College lineman Kyle Hergel selected 3rd overall in CFL draft

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The former Eagles guard was not selected in last week’s NFL draft, but quickly heard his name yesterday in the 2024 CFL draft, going 3rd overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Hergel, who spent one year at Boston College after transferring from Texas State. The guard was a huge success in helping transform the offensive line play in 2023, gaining the best PFF pass block grade at Boston College (86.6) with no sacks allowed and two quarterback hits on 402 dropbacks. This was good enough to earn All-ACC honorable mention and a trip to the East-West shrine game.

Recently signing with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2024 NFL draft, Hergel will seemingly look to catch on in the NFL this summer before trekking north of the boarder to play for the Roughriders.

John Pupel gets Patriots rookie camp invite

The former safety will travel to nearby Foxboro, Ma as an invite to Patriots rookie camp. After beginning his college career at Dartmouth, Pupel joined the Eagles in 2022. Starting 11 games last year with 81 tackles, a pack break up and a forced fumble.

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Boston College’s Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany drafted, others signed: Eagles Draft Weekend Recap

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It was a rather successful weekend for Boston College in the NFL Draft, as both Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany were taken while guard Kyle Hergel inked a UDFA deal. In addition, longtime and former BC notables Jaelen Gill and Josh DeBerry have received UDFA deals.

Jones – The first Eagle off the board this year, Jones went 90th overall in the third round to the Arizona Cardinals. He missed the final three games of the season for undisclosed reasons but had a big year that shot up his draft stock with a conference-best five interceptions while also defending 13 passes. As a member of the 2018 recruiting class, the corner tallied 60 games at BC and racked up a First-team All-ACC selection this past year.

Jones’ 86.9 defensive PFF grade was the sixth-best in the draft class out of corners and he was the 11th cornerback off the board for the Eagles.

Mahogany – Mahogany sat out of the bowl game and had some noticeable buzz surrounding his name entering the draft, but the guard fell to the sixth round to the Detroit Lions. Mahogany missed most of the 2022 season after an ACL injury but came back fully healthy for 2023, posting the 16th-best total PFF grade out of guards in the draft class.

Mahogany fell further than many, with many projections putting him as a Day 2 pick, but given he’s 24 and his scouting reports present some clear downside, it’s not all that shocking that he fell all the way to the sixth round.

Hergel – Hergel didn’t exactly have any buzz surrounding his name but he managed to grab a UDFA deal with the Saints. He was a four-year starter between North Dakota and Texas State before he was a fifth-year transfer to BC, and he put up a solid enough season to get signed.

DeBerry – DeBerry signed on with the Cowboys, as he transferred to Texas A&M for his fifth year after four seasons with the Eagles. He was a big loss for BC’s secondary, as he started seven games this year for the Aggies and grabbed two interceptions.

Gill – Gill put up huge numbers for Fresno State this past year after three seasons with BC. After an initial start to his career at Ohio State, he transferred to the Eagles ahead of the 2020 season and through three years he put up 1,092 yards. He put up basically half of that in just one year with the Bulldogs, tallying 516 yards on 49 catches and six touchdowns.

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DiMauro: The buzzkillers who run Boston College

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My favorite English professor at Boston College, the late, great Dr. John J. Fitzgerald, loved the writings of Alexander Pope, poet and satirist during the Enlightenment Era. I shall now take pleasure in taking what I learned in class at BC to deliver an overdue lecture to university leadership, badly in need of its own Enlightenment Era.

What transpired this past Saturday, during an otherwise anticipated and eventful day on campus, illustrated BC leadership’s dizzying levels of obtuseness. Instead of celebrating the spring football game (with actual buzz because of new coach Bill O’Brien), baseball game against a nationally ranked opponent, national championship hockey game and the ALC Showdown, celebrating BC’s 17 different dance teams, BC students were issued a missive:

“Good evening Mod residents,” wrote Mike Sanzio, Interim Resident Director of the Mods, “as you saw earlier today from the Dean of Students Office, our men’s ice hockey team will be competing in the national championship game Saturday night. 

“This will be a busy weekend, filled with events such as the ALC showdown and spring football game. This is an exciting time for your community and I wanted to remind you of Mod-specific policies so we can appropriately celebrate these occasions. No outside gatherings are permitted in the Mods. Alcohol is not permitted outside your Mod.”

Some attendees of the spring game saw several “alcohol compliance supervisor” jackets from the commandos hired to patrol the parking lots. 

Sanzio got thrown down a flight of stairs by BC loyalists on X (formerly known as Twitter). I’m guessing Sanzio was just doing his job, carrying out orders from above. You’ve heard the “towers on the Heights reach the Heav’ns own blue?” This was from the ivory towers on the Heights. 

BC’s buzzkill rules and regulations hearken a line once written by Raymond Chandler: “The tragedy of life is not that things die. The tragedy is that they grow old and mean.” That’s the tenor of BC right now: old and mean. 

Can someone explain why Mods dwellers – most of whom are 21, by the way – were issued something so puritanical on what should have been a fun day? Do the people who run BC understand the power of sports on campus? This just in: Kids derive strength and appreciation for their school through campus events designed to cultivate pride and senses of “we” and “us.” It’s more important than ever today in a society too busy texting to notice anything or anyone else.

The Mods are a campus institution. The last time ESPN’s College GameDay was on campus, Lee Corso uttered the now classic, “party in the Modes!” line, mistaking “Mods” for “Modes.” It’s unlikely he came with that on his own. Somebody probably whispered in his ear at some point that the Mods are central to the BC student experience.

And then we get “no outside gatherings” and “alcohol compliance supervisors.” Overkill, anyone? If a kid gets caught hiding a Heineken, what’s the penalty these days? Firing squad at dawn?

And to think that O’Brien spent ample time last week trying to fire up the students to attend the spring game. Then the administration betrays him by issuing antisocial missives during what should be the most social day of the year on campus.

Is there a good reason – Puritanism aside – that tailgating isn’t allowed for the spring game? Someone tell the BC administration that Ohio State drew 80,000 for its spring game. Imagine passing the edict out there that Buckeye fans couldn’t tailgate?

I get that the missions of BC and Ohio State aren’t the same. But then, they are both in power conferences. It’s just that only one acts that way.

The worst thing that happened Saturday at BC was not that the hockey team lost. The worst thing was O’Brien learning what life is really like at The University of Austerity: A spring game with buzz. A national championship game at night. And an administration petrified of its own success.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at m.dimauro@theday.com or @BCgenius on X.

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