Top 10 returning players at Boston College headlined by Zay Flowers and Phil Jurkovec

The top 10 returning players for the Boston College Eagles are headlined by star WR Zay Flowers and QB Phil Jurkovec.

The top 10 returning players at Boston College would certainly look a bit different had offensive guard Christian Mahogany not suffered an unfortunate injury that will sideline him all season long. Mahogany, a potential Day 2 NFL Draft pick, was slated to be the lone returning starter from a dominant offensive line last year. Now, the pressure is on QB Phil Jurkovec and his cast of playmakers to keep the offense afloat in 2022.

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Top 10 returning players at Boston College

We’re counting down all the top 10 players returning to action on every team — we’ll deal with transfers later — from Air Force to Wyoming, from Miami to Hawaii, and all in between. Here are the top returning players to Boston College.

10) Cam Horsley, DT

With terrific quickness, Cam Horsley is a force on the inside. He has the size but presents a unique challenge for the more sluggish interior lineman to attempt to stop as he fires off the ball among the fastest in the country. Horsley is difficult to contain in both run defense and when he rushes the passer, the latter clearly his best as his only tackles behind the line of scrimmage came as sacks last year. That’s pretty impactful stuff.

9) Jason Maitre, S

Despite losing their mainstay at cornerback (Brandon Sebastian), the Eagles return some talented players in the secondary. Jason Maitre played in just eight games a season ago but has been a steady contributor at free safety over the past four years. Maitre has terrific ball skills and makes multiple plays on passes that aren’t even thrown to his receiver. He moves well and closes space when coming downhill in run defense.

8) Elijah Jones, CB

Starting all 12 games outside, Elijah Jones is made like the new-age prototype at cornerback. Jones is 6’2″ and presents a unique challenge to throw on with his length and speed combination. He’ll burst to the football in coverage while also presenting a strong, physical presence at the catch point or after the catch where very little gets by him.

7) Shitta Sillah, EDGE

In what was a heavy defensive rotation on the front lines, Shitta Sillah was impressive a season ago. He broke through for multiple pressures and finished with four total tackles for loss despite that heavy rotation. Sillah has terrific size at 6’4″ and 240 pounds, moving well when tasked with rushing the passer from any number of alignments.

6) Marcus Valdez, EDGE

The team leader in sacks from a season ago, Marcus Valdez returns to anchor the defensive line for one final season. Though a bit undersized as a traditional edge rusher, Valdez understands how to utilize his leverage and has a great amount of lower body strength to push blockers off their marks. If Valdez doesn’t get home with a sack, he’s more than capable of disrupting passing lanes or even stuffing rushing lanes with his strength.

5) Kam Arnold, LB

A monster in the middle, Kam Arnold excels in every facet. Whether covering underneath passing routes or stuffing running backs at the line of scrimmage, Arnold was terrific in 2021. He returns after leading the team with 61 total tackles and chipping in with two pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for loss. Arnold flies all over the field with what could be called calculated aggression.

4) Jaiden Woodbey, S

Jaiden ‘The Realtor’ Woodbey earned his nickname by claiming plots of land left and right in 2021. In his first season with Boston College, the Florida State transfer was dominant across all levels of the field.

Woodbey was terrific against the run, shutting down rushing lanes at or around the line of scrimmage regularly. When it came to coverage, he was dominant against tight ends, running backs, or slot receivers all the same. Very few were able to make anything happen against Woodbey, and if there was a catch allowed, the yards after the catch came far and few between.

3) Josh DeBerry, CB

Box defenders shouldn’t be able to do what Josh DeBerry does. On many occasions last year, DeBerry was in the backfield securing running backs or bringing the quarterback pressure. DeBerry was sound in coverage, finishing with two interceptions and a handful of pass breakups, and he led the team with eight tackles for loss. His ability to instinctually find the weak spot on any given play was uncanny and can be counted on as a sustainable way to influence his defense in 2022.

2) Phil Jurkovec, QB

Returning to action in 2022, Phil Jurkovec re-entered the lineup in 2021 after missing a heavy chunk of the season with an injury. The toughness and leadership skills shown by Jurkovec only pale in comparison to his arm talent.

Jurkovec can hit every level of the field with ease and has terrific maneuverability in the pocket to continue buying time. What makes him special is his ability to throw equally well from any platform and inside or outside of the offense’s structure.

1) Zay Flowers, WR

The top player returning to Chestnut Hill is longtime receiver Zay Flowers. Let it be known, that there’s a reason Flowers reportedly didn’t take large NIL deals to transfer, as he should go down as one of the best receivers in school history.

Cementing a legacy as far more than a slot receiver, Flowers has shown time and time again that he’s an incredibly well-rounded pass catcher. Flowers can make contested catches, but he doesn’t rely on them. He separates both at the catch point and all along his routes with speediness and craftiness. Flowers is truly a special WR talent and a teammate anyone would be grateful to have.

Honorable mention players returning to BC in 2022

  • Donovan Ezeiruaku, EDGE
  • Jaelen Gill, WR
  • Vinny DePalma, LB
  • Joey Luchetti, TE
  • Jack Conley, OT
  • Jaden Williams, WR

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