football Edit

BC Keeps Making Lone Star State Push in Hafley Era

Photo: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

While Florida fosters more elite prospects nationally, Texas is still the pinnacle of high school football.

The Lone Star State has been producing high-end college football players in significant quantity for decades. The sheer size of Texas alone casts a wide net, however, the talent never disappoints.

Sure, Texas can claim nine Heisman Trophy winners—the latest being Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield—but it also consistently churns out Rivals100 prospects. Last year, there were 12. This time around, in the Class of 2023, there are 19.

It's a gold mine for scholarship players.

And, since Jeff Hafley took over as BC's head coach in December 2019, the Eagles have started to dip their foot into the hot spring that is Texas' plentiful pool.

John Tyler wide receiver Montrell Wade's commitment Tuesday afternoon marked the fifth player from Texas in the Hafley recruiting era (2021-present) to either sign with or pledge (Class of 2023) to the Eagles. That matches the five total signees from Texas during the Steve Addazio recruiting era (2014-20).

Wade is the 14th BC commit in BC's 2023 class, and the Eagles' second from Texas. The first was fellow three-star, quarterback Jacobe Robinson—a 6-foot-4 signal caller from Henderson.

Like Robinson, Wade boasts a 5.7 Rivals Rating (RR), which is the highest possible rating a three-star prospect can earn. BC has six Class of 2023 commits with a 5.7 RR. to put that in perspective, that's one more than the Eagles had in their 2022 class, which clocked out 38th nationally.

Right now, BC's 2023 class is 16th nationally and 3rd in the ACC. Of course, that ranking will likely dip as several of the highest-rated prospects hold out their decisions for later in the cycle. Still, the uptick in higher-rated three stars for BC is notable.

As is BC's continued expansion of its geographic footprint. Despite the first staff turnover of Hafley's stay in Chestnut Hill, the Eagles remain hot on the trail, furthering their blossoming national brand.

The 6-foot-3, 183-pound Wade visited BC this past weekend. He had 15 total offers, with schools like Oklahoma State and Texas Tech inquiring. But he chose BC.

Robinson, on the other hand, was flying under the radar when new Eagles offensive coordinator John McNulty helped secure his commitment. In fact, Robinson didn't have a RR back then but was BC's first out-of-state commit in the 2023 class.

As a sophomore at Henderson, Robinson completed 126-of-204 pass attempts for 2,123 yards, 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Additionally, he rushed for 280 yards and three scores on a mere 26 carries.

Manvel defensive end Kivon Wright was BC's lone Texas signee in 2022. He packs a punch, though.

Standing 6-foot-4, Wright has a good bit of range. Although he was limited with a finger injury this past season, he still piled up seven tackles for loss and is prepared to join a BC defensive line that's in need of more pressure-generating ends.

The Eagles' 2021 class included a pair of Texas products, both of whom have a need for speed: Hendrickson wide receiver Jaden Williams and South Grand Prairie cornerback Jalon Williams.

Jaden was BC's diamond in the rough that cycle. The two-star prospect had just seven offers, only one of which was from a Power Five program. That, of course, was BC.

Jaden immediately impressed when he arrived on campus and, similar to Zay Flowers in 2019, made an impact right away, scoring three touchdowns in his first four games. His production waned as the season wore on—granted, that was an offense-wide problem for the Eagles—yet he still finished fourth on the team with 212 receiving yards.

Jalon didn't play nearly as much. He logged just 13 snaps for BC last season: seven versus Colgate and six against Georgia Tech. But he was slated to see more action in the Military Bowl before it was canceled because of COVID-19 complications and opt-outs within BC's program.

He chose BC over 22 other schools, including the likes of Utah, Texas, Oregon State, Northwestern and Mississippi State. Jalon doubles as a track and field athlete, and he set the BC record in the 60 meter dash during the indoor season, in addition to qualifying for the ACC Championships.

So, while BC isn't reeling in Rivals100 prospects from Texas at the moment, the Eagles are convincing skilled players from the state to take a chance in the Northeast.

That's a testament to the facilities BC has built in the last half decade. But it also wouldn't be possible without Hafley and his staff.

It's a persistent effort to compete nationally. Even in Texas, a high school football hotbed that is about 2,000 miles away from Chestnut Hill.