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Opportunity knocks for WR Crimmins

The stats don’t hint at stardom, or anything close to it.

Dan Crimmins is a sophomore wide receiver for Boston College. In 12 career games, he has one catch for 15 yards and two special-teams tackles. The catch came in the 2013 opener against Villanova and the tackles came during his freshman year in 2012.

But Crimmins has that most tantalizing of football packages: height, speed and a decent pair of hands.

The Closter, N.J., native and Demarest High School product stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 222 pounds. As a senior at Demarest, he had 55 receptions for 1,249 yards and 18 touchdowns and was named first-team all-state by the Newark Star-Ledger.

Because Bobby Swigert is out for the year recuperating from a knee injury and Johnathan Coleman decided not to return for his fifth year, the BC wideout corps consists of Biletnikoff Award watch list member Alex Amidon (78 catches for 1,210 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2012) and little else.

BC coach Steve Addazio has called depth a real issue and said this week that to have success the Eagles really need more playmakers to emerge.

“We're trying to develop some young guys to create some balance in our throw game, for sure,” he said on his weekly ACC conference call with reporters. “For me to tell you we have proven guys, that's not the case. 'Proven' means it's been done over and over again in the ACC. We're striving for that.”

Crimmins has all the tools to be a contributor.

“We think that Danny is a guy that we’ve signs of that happening,” Addazio said, “and we’re hoping that he’s gonna start to really emerge as a guy who can make those plays. He’s done it in practice, he’s gotta do it in the game.”

The wideout said he left some plays out on the field against Villanova.

“I definitely had some jitters,” he said after practice in Alumni Stadium on Tuesday. “But we practice really hard so the games will come easy. It was just the first couple plays. I remember had a slant and I knew the ball was gonna come my way and I dropped it.”

That first target came on third-and-4 from the BC 31-yard line in the first quarter. The Eagles had to punt when the ball fell incomplete.

When his second target came, on a third-and-12 from the BC 15 in the second quarter, Crimmins was ready and pulled in a 15-yard reception for a first down.

“It felt great, but at the time I wasn’t really thinking about that, I was just thinking about winning,” he said.

Both Addazio and Rettig pointed to Crimmins as a standout from camp, and as the season progresses the Eagles will need more from him and the other members of the wide receiver corps. Amidon had 13 catches for 146 yards and a score in the opener, but the rest of the BC offense combined had just 10 catches for 139 yards and a score.

And of that total, only two catches and 24 yards were to wideouts (Crimmins’ one catch for 15 yards and one catch by Spiffy Evans for 9 yards).

“I mean, I felt like I could’ve done a lot of things better,” Crimmins said of his performance against Villanova. “Like getting open and stuff like that. There were definitely things we could’ve taken advantage of. I think we should’ve scored a lot more points on that team, but I think that’s just the jitters or Week 1 and being rusty.

“They were not a bad team by any means, but definitely we should’ve put more points up.”

This week’s opponent, Wake Forest, will present a much sterner test. After a shaky opening drive in which Presbyterian tore off a 66-yard run and scored a TD three plays later, the Demon Deacons allowed only one first down the rest of the game.

“They’re a smart group of guys,” Rettig said of Wake Forest. “They’re pretty physical. We’re gonna have to play a really good football game.”

“They’re good,” Crimmins said of the Demon Deacons. “They play a 3-4, they’re athletic. Their DBs are experienced. They’ve got some good speed back there. We’ve just gotta make plays. We’ve just gotta play our game. If we just play our game we’ll be fine. That’s the key.”

The key for Addazio and offensive coordinator Ryan Day is finding someone who can get open if defenses blanket Amidon and bear down on Andre Williams and the run game.

It may take time for young players like Crimmins to develop, but because of the circumstances improvement will have to be via on-the-job training.

“He doesn’t have everything down,” Addazio said of Crimmins. “He’s a young, inexperienced guy. He’s got a great work ethic, he’s tough but he’s a young guy. Young guys have a tendency to make a lot of mistakes.

“There’s potential. Potential’s a dangerous word, though, man. You know what I mean? There’s a lot that goes into the throw game, now it’s gotta be precision, it’s gotta be right. He’s got a big body and he’s gotta be able to make those catches right there and extend his hands and make [catches] away from [his body].”

While far from a finished product, Crimmins feels he’s developed a good rapport with Rettig and is ready to go for career catch No. 2 against Wake Forest on Friday night (8 ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN).

“I know how he throws the ball,” Crimmins said. “I know where he wants to get it, and I know how I gotta get there. He’s a real good quarterback and it’s my job to make plays for him.”

It’s Crimmins’ job to turn potential into actual production.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.