Boston College football coach Tom O'Brien yesterday unveiled his 2006 class of recruits, a group of 20 prospects who seemed to satisfy several needs, namely size and speed. The class also struck an interesting balance between 10 players from New England (including seven from Massachusetts) and 10 from seven other states.
''You have to give our assistant coaches a lot of credit," said O'Brien, who got commitments from 17 of the 20 signees before the start of BC's 8-3 campaign. ''We identified a lot of kids early last year and went after a lot, and actually got a lot of kids committed, especially the local kids."
Among the 10 New Englanders the Eagles landed were five Globe All-Scholastics: Xaverian wideout/defensive back Chris Fox, the 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound son of former Patriot safety Tim Fox and the Globe's Division 1 Player of the Year; Natick wideout/defensive back Reshaude Goodwyn, a 5-11, 175-pounder from Roslindale, with 4.45 speed in the 40; Billerica linebacker James McCluskey, a 6-2, 240-pounder, who recorded 108 tackles last season; Silver Lake Regional running back Jeff Smith, a 5-8, 184-pounder from Plympton, with 4.39 speed; and Wellesley defensive lineman Thomas Claiborne, a mammoth 6-3, 340-pounder.
The other New England recruits were: Natick quarterback Billy Flutie, the 6-2, 176-pound nephew of Darren and Doug Flutie; Justin Jarvis, a 6-4, 190-pound wideout from Bloomfield, Conn., and Avon Old Farms; Damik Scafe, a 6-2, 290-pound defensive lineman from Windsor, Conn.; New Hampton (N.H.) Prep wideout Warren Wilson, a 6-0, 170-pounder from Lawrence; and Richard Lapham, a 6-8, 315-pound offensive lineman from Amherst, N.H., who was one of two four-star prospects the Eagles landed.
''What stands out to us is that there's speed in this class, not only at the normal skill positions, but there's speed at all positions," O'Brien said. ''We think we've upgraded ourselves. Also there's size in the class and not just in your ordinary line spots where you think of size. A lot of the skill kids, the receivers and secondary kids, are taller kids."
O'Brien also cited the fact ''it's a more national class than we have had in the past," he said.
BC recruiters were able to mine talent from its traditional bases in New Jersey (Queen of Peace linebacker Darius Bagan from Wallingford, and Don Bosco Prep wide receiver Ryan Lindsey from Ramsey), Ohio (St. Xavier linebacker Alex Albright from Cincinnati), and Pennsylvania (North Penn defensive end Josh Neubert from Lansdale and Conestoga High linebacker Mark Herzlich from Wayne).
But the Eagles also made inroads into Texas (Dallas Skyline defensive back Roderick Rollins; Dallas Jesuit long snapper Jack Geiser), Georgia (Marietta Walton quarterback Ross Applegate), California (Steele Canyon High safety Wesley Davis of El Cajon), and Minnesota (Breck School tight end Jordan McMichael of Minneapolis).
''I think overall, it's an excellent class and it'll be an exciting class," O'Brien said.
Southern exposureO'Brien on having to play at Miami in the finale of BC's 12-game season on Thanksgiving: ''I don't think it's fair to either football team. I think they have to play at Virginia and then travel home and we have to play here against Maryland, so we're both playing key ACC games and go and play 3-4 days later. It's always been tougher for us to go down South and play in November, because of the change in the weather. We'll see how good the ACC is if they send Florida State and Miami back here next year in November to make it right, but I'm not going to hold my breath."
BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo said yesterday he was looking at scheduling Central Michigan as a possible replacement for Ohio University, which balked at hosting the Eagles in the Aug. 31 season opener . . . O'Brien reported that quarterback Karim El Nokali, defensive end Jake Ottolini, defensive tackle Robert Ziminski, wideout Jason Lilly, and defensive end Jeff Burns, who was stopped for DUI on the eve of BC's charter flight to Boise for the MPC Computers Bowl, all decided not to return for their fifth year of eligibility . . . BC will begin spring workouts March 18 and host its annual Jay McGillis Memorial Spring Game April 22.