Hunter Long was the lone Boston College player to travel to Mobile, Alabama, for last year’s Senior Bowl. The year before that, the Eagles didn’t have anyone participate in the pre-draft all-star game. With a 2021 roster loaded with experience, however, BC is primed to once again make its mark at the annual prospect fest next January.
Four Eagles were named to the 2022 Senior Bowl watch list Thursday morning: tight end Trae Barry, center Alec Lindstrom, guard Zion Johnson and tackle Ben Petrula.
Granted it’s a pretty inclusive list—523 players from a total of 252 programs (including 33 non-FBS programs) made it—but BC could very well have more seniors surface on the Senior Bowl radar as the season progresses. Since the event’s inception, 56 BC players have attended.
Recently, underappreciated Eagles have used the week in Mobile to vault their draft stock. In 2019, Chris Lindstrom showed out in the trenches, solidifying him as BC’s first opening-round NFL Draft selection since Luke Kuechly in 2012. Last year, Long, despite not playing in the actual game, was named the National team’s top tight end at the practice player-of-the-week awards ceremony. Long was working with BC alum Brian Flores and his coaching staff from the Miami Dolphins, who ended up taking Long in the third round of the 2021 Draft.
Notably, two former BC quarterbacks also made this year’s Senior Bowl watch list: Anthony Brown Jr., who is slated to start for Oregon, and his old backup, EJ Perry, who led the FCS in total offense (367.8 yards per game) in his first year under center for his uncle’s program.
As far as BC’s current nominees are concerned, the group is headlined by three offensive linemen. The trio has combined for 110 career starts up front. Last season, Alec Lindstrom became the program’s first center to receive All-ACC first-team honors since Andy Gallik in 2014. Zion Johnson, who actually accepted a Senior Bowl invite in 2020 before announcing his return to BC, was ranked by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. as the seventh-best guard prospect for last year’s draft. Petrula is on the verge of breaking the school record for most starts. He’s started completely or practically full seasons at center, guard and tackle.
Barry, on the other hand, is a newcomer. The 6-foot-6, 244-pound tight end was an FCS juggernaut, piling up 100 receptions, 1,610 yards and six touchdowns in four years with the Gamecocks. Last year, he reeled in 33 passes for 534 yards and a score.
Barry, Lindstrom, Johnson and Petrula aren’t the only Eagles with 2022 NFL Draft prospects, but they’re already in the running to improve their respective draft grades in Mobile this winter.