Returners: Jon Baker (Gr.), Nate Emer (RFr.), Eddy Fish (RSo.), Elijah Johnson (RSo.), Wyatt Knopfke (RJr.), Adam Korutz(RSo.), Alec Lindstrom (RFr.), Chris Lindstrom (Sr.), Aaron Monteiro (Sr.), Anthony Palazzolo (RJr.), Ben Petrula (So.), John Phillips (RJr.), Sean Ragan (RSo.), Sam Schmal (Gr.)
Newcomers: Finn Dirstine (Fr.), Cam Reddy (Fr.), Thomas Shelmire (Fr.), Tyler Vrabel (Fr.)
The Boston College offensive line is one of 18 schools nationally that returns all five starters for 2018. Entering his senior year at right guard, Lindstrom has started a team-leading 35 games; all consecutively. Overall, seven BC offensive linemen have started 10 or more games in their career, including Monteiro, the BC left tackle, who has 29 career starts.
The unit features a level of experience, depth, and flexibility that few teams in the country possess. Now a graduate student, Baker went down with a torn ACL in the fourth quarter of the 2017 opener of his senior season. He started all 25 games the two previous seasons and is in line to return to his spot as BC’s starting center. Alec, the younger Lindstrom brother, redshirted a season ago and has taken first-team reps at center throughout camp. Petrula, who had not previously played center, moved over the ball to fill in for Baker last season. He went on to start 12 games, but this preseason he is making the shift to tackle.
#55 Knopfke, Wyatt: 4/0
#56 Korutz, Adam: 2/0
#64 Petrula, Ben: 12/12
#66 Palazzolo, Anthony: 15/0
#67 Monteiro, Aaron: 31/29
#70 Phillips, John: 24/12
#73 Schmal, Sam: 30/13
#75 Lindstrom, Chris: 38/35
#76 Johnson, Elijah: 12/10
#77 Baker, Jon: 36/27
Schmal brings a wealth of experience to the o-line after redshirting 2014 and serving two seasons as a reserve lineman. He has since made 24 starts, primarily at left guard. Adding to the squad’s experience are Phillips and Johnson, who continues to work back from a knee injury. Phillips came off the bench 11 games in 2016 and after playing as a reserve in last year’s opener, he went on to start each of the next 12 games. Johnson has not seen game action since 2016 when he appeared in 12 games and made 10 starts at left guard as a true freshman.
Additional linemen vying for time with the first unit include Knopfke, Korutz, and Palazzolo. Palazzolo has the most game experience of the group; having played in 15 games over the last two years. Knopfke, who appeared in two games each of the last two seasons, has gotten reps at center throughout the preseason.
DEEP IN THE TRENCHES
An impressive 6-foot-5, 340-pound prospect out of Acton, Mass., Dirstine was the No. 1 rated player in the state and 12th best offensive guard in the country by 247Sports last year… expected to redshirt this season, he blocked for AJ Dillon at Lawrence Academy… Emer redshirted his initial season at BC a year ago as he made the transition from the defensive line… recorded 75 tackles, 17 TLFs, and 8.5 sacks as a senior at Iroquois (N.Y.) High School… Fish transferred to BC from Illinois in the spring of 2017 and had to sit out last fall due to NCAA transfer rules… previously redshirted at Illinois in 2016 after being the No. 3 ranked recruit out of Massachusetts by Rivals… Ragan redshirted in 2016 and did not see game action in 2017… named to the USA Today All-USA Massachusetts first-team in both 2014 and 2015… Reddy, originally a tight end and defensive lineman, has begun to make the transition to center since the second week of training camp… played three years at Londonderry (N.H.) before finishing his prep career at Lawrence (Mass.) Academy… Shelmire arrived at BC from Dallas, Texas, where he was listed as the No. 38 guard in the country by ESPN.com… Texas Class 5A All-State first-team selection as a junior… Vrabel is the son of former New England Patriots linebacker and current Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel… All-State first-team selection at Saint Pius X as a senior.
QUOTES FROM THE STAFF
“Chris [Lindstrom] is developing into being an elite offensive lineman. Honestly, he’s as good as there is in the conference right now. I think that will show to be true at the end. He’s very competitive, very tough guy. What a tremendous representation of Boston College. He just comes in here, kind of guy that stands for all the right things. His whole family. His brother Alec is a young guy here, following exactly in the same course as Chris. Chris will have a great opportunity to go on and play at the next level, have great things ahead of him. I wish I had 20 of him. He’s a great guy, really, truthfully.” – Head Coach Steve Addazio
“Chris Lindstrom is a heck of a football player. He’s out starting right guard right now. But we’ve got other guys on the offensive line that are playing at a high level as well. Ben [Petrula] is playing at a high level, Jon Baker, et cetera, et cetera.” – Addazio
“You can’t substitute experience. Right now, we feel we have six, seven, eight guys that have experience. We’re older, stronger, more mature. We understand exactly what we want to do. It’s always great whenever you have a veteran, older offensive line. That’s the way we feel about our offense in general. Are there a few young guys still out there? Yes, there are. That’s college football. For the most part, we’re older, smarter, strong, faster. I think everyone has a really great appreciation of what we’re trying to accomplish on offense.” – Deputy Head Coach Offense/Offensive Coordinator Scot Loeffler