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March 14, 2013
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Addazio was named the head coach of the ACC program on Dec. 4 following the dismissal of Frank Spaziani on Nov. 25. Spaziani had a four-year tenure that resulted in a 21-29 record that went on a consistently downward spiral from an apex of 11-3 in 2007 to the 2-10 campaign in 2012. The lone victories in 2012 were against Maine of the Football Championship Subdivision and a come-from-behind win against Maryland -- a game in which the Terrapins were forced to start their fourth-string, freshman quarterback because of injuries.
Recruiting at the school also sank. The class of 2013 was ranked No. 87 in the nation, behind second-year FBS program Texas State, a Colorado State program that had finished last in recruiting the year prior, and Addazio's former school -- Temple.
According to the 53-year-old native New Englander, the turnaround will require a massive overhaul.
"We have to change the culture," Addazio said. "Right now we are in the business of rebuilding a football program."
Addazio went through the staff with a ground-up mentality. Second-year coach Al Washington is the only holdover from the Spaziani era. Last season he coached the defensive line, and this year he is being moved to running backs. Kevin Lempa was welcomed back after being away the last seven years. He is a 13-year coaching veteran with multiple stops at Boston College. The other eight assistants are new to BC.
Addazio's next step will be to bring in new faces to fill the roster.
The class of 2013 was locked in when Addazio arrived, and his immediate focus was 2014.
"Part of the mandate when I was hired was to honor every commitment that had come in, so we had to work hard to keep those kids," Addazio said. "We had 17 players committed and only two went in a different direction, so that was a success for us.
"Once we got the staff in place, we formulated a plan and started recruiting for the next class. The response to Boston College has been outstanding, and we believe we will put together a class we will be very proud of."
The first commit in the class of 2014 would indicate a good start.
The 6-foot, 190-pound player told Rivals.com that Addazio addressed him as a person and a player, which helped to seal the deal.
"They're trying to make me better as a man, not only as a football player," he said. "Coming from Florida and being the offensive coordinator for Tim Tebow's championship team, that really showed me something. He made Temple very competitive.
"He expressed to me that he wanted to run the ball, and that was a big part (of my decision). He and the coaching staff want me to come in as a freshman and make an instant impact."
His time in the area figures to pay major dividends in recruiting.
"I have a pretty good reputation throughout this area," Addazio said. "It would be a lot more difficult coming into this job and having to build relationships with all the coaches, but I have them and those relationships will really be something we can lean on.
"Our recruiting footprint starts in Massachusetts -- and the rest of New England -- New York, Pennsylvania, Jersey, D.C. and Virginia. Being in the ACC, we can dip into Atlanta and Florida, too."
The early interest from players in that footprint indicates that Addazio is on the right path.
Players from all points will make unofficial visits to Boston College in March. Ray Raulerson from Tampa (Fla.) Plant, Isaac Yiadom of Worcester (Mass.) Doherty Memorial, Shamir Bearfield from Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep, Melvin Holland of Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods and Trey Klock from Hummelstown (Pa.) Lower Dauphin are on the docket to be in Boston.
Once players get onto campus, Addazio said, his job becomes easier.
"It is absolutely beautiful here," Addazio said. "When I was a student at Central Connecticut State, we would cab it here to watch the games and just be in Boston. The lifestyle that this city provides is unique and exceptional. We offer an elite education, and we are able to combine football traditions and our Catholic faith.
"Everything is right here personally, and then factor in what we have done in getting players into the first round of the NFL draft, Heisman winners and finalists, this is a place that can be a college football power."
To bring the program back to respectability, Addazio will have to rebuild the offensive line -- although the team did not sign a single player at the position in 2013 -- and most of the defense. Usually that combination for a first-year coach would be viewed as a problem, but Addazio sees opportunity.
"This is not just hot air," Addazio said. "There is no better job in America for Steve Addazio than this one.
"We will recruit it hard, and we will build something special here."