Stealing a page from the playbook of my illustrious colleagues over at the Pac-12 blog, we're kicking off a series of our own here. Each weekday, we'll take a look at the most important player on each team, starting in alphabetical order.
Away we go ...
Boston College: Linebacker Steele Divitto
2011 stats: Divitto was third on the team with 72 tackles, and he also recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and five pass breakups.
What he means to the Eagles: Despite a 4-8 campaign last season, BC made significant strides down the stretch, winning two of its final three games. That started with the defense, which held each of its last three opponents to fewer than 20 points. (Its one loss, at three-touchdown favorite Notre Dame, was by a 16-14 margin.) The departure of record-setter Luke Kuechly for the NFL draft obviously presents a significant hole in production to account for, but the Eagles are looking to build off last year's strong finish by having multiple linebackers up their production. At the head of that position is Divitto, who came from an intense environment at national power Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) three years ago and carried that mentality through spring ball and in offseason drills. With the Eagles' season over while other schools went on bowl trips, the junior-to-be took a trip of his own last year: to Athletes' Performance in Phoenix, where he trained for two weeks with NFL draft prospects. That's the kind of mentality BC needs to carry a unit that finished last season 43rd in the nation in scoring defense.