Boston College running back AJ Dillon was one of six Eagles named to the Athlon Magazine preseason All-ACC team this past week, making it a good time to look back at his past two seasons at Chestnut Hill.
Dillon, who was also named to Athlon’s preseason All-American third team, has been a high impact player since arriving at BC and has climbed up the school rushing record list after only his second season. Dillon, who has rushed for 2697 yards in only two seasons, is on pace to break the school rushing record currently held by former Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams. Dillon currently sits ninth on the rushing list, as well as on the school’s all-time rushing touchdown list, with 24 in his career.
While he took a step back last season, largely due to injury, Dillon’s freshman season on the Heights was one of the best seasons by a running back in BC history. Dillon’s 1589 rushing yards in 2017 were the fourth most in a single season by any Eagles running back, and his 14 touchdowns that year were the sixth most in one year.
His freshman year accolades earned him the title of 2018 preseason ACC player of the year, with the postseason honor going to Clemson running back Travis Etienne. Health, or a lack of it, played a large part in Dillon’s statistical struggles last season, with the star running back missing two full games and playing injured in at least two more. Despite the struggles, Dillon still managed to rush for more than 1000 yards, the first BC player ever to do so in each of his first two seasons.
This upcoming season is going to be a make-or-break year for Dillon, who will likely enter the NFL Draft once he is eligible after his junior year. The running back will be back to full health, but that may not be enough to allow the Eagles to be successful. BC lost some high-quality offensive starters to the NFL, such as offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom and tight end Tommy Sweeney. Lindstrom, who went 14th overall to the Falcons, was both a fantastic run and pass blocker, and his senior presence on the offensive will surely be missed.
Additionally, Dillon has been let down by poor offensive scheming and, at times, inadequate quarterback play, especially this past year. Head coach Steve Addazio, who just signed a two-year extension to remain the Eagles’ coach until 2022, has been maligned for running a predictable offense, with the “run-run-pass-punt” drive sequence becoming all too familiar. Additionally, last season’s quarterback Anthony Brown was inconsistent at times. Three-star recruit quarterback Sam Johnson will be coming to BC for the 2019 season, so a change at the position may be best for Dillon and the struggling Eagles offense.
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