One of the final pieces of Boston College’s 2017 recruiting puzzle was a running back – A.J. Dillon. The Eagles pulled a key switch, compelling Dillon to decommit from Michigan. Dillon turned out to be the ACC’s Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-ACC player after rushing for over 1,400 yards this past fall.
This winter, the Eagles have once again used one of their final scholarships on a running back – a running back with a famous last name. Javian Dayne, son of former Wisconsin and NFL star Ron Dayne, announced in late January he would be making his way to Chestnut Hill.
Although he flew under the radar as a recruit for much of his high school career, Dayne put up some monster numbers at Milwaukee prep powerhouse Waunakee High School. Dayne had committed to Northwest Missouri State, but changed his mind when the Eagles came calling.
Dayne is an ideal running back prospect for the Eagles. He’s big – 6-3, 230 pounds – and is capable of being an every-down option in time. He played in both a multiple Pro-I and spread offense during his time at Waunakee High, shining in both schemes.
Dayne was a first-team All-State selection in Wisconsin in 2017 after rushing for 2,263 yards and 33 touchdowns. He rushed for over a hundred yards with two fourth quarter touchdowns in Waunakee’s state title game victory in December at UW’s Camp Randall Stadium. Over three prep varsity seasons, Dayne ran for over 4,200 rushing yards and 56 touchdowns on the ground.
With Jon Hilliman’s decision to spend the 2018 season as a graduate transfer at Rutgers, BC needed another capable rusher heading into next season. Dillon returns as a preseason All-American candidate. But there would have only been one viable backup behind Dillon had the Eagles not signed Dayne.
In the mix for #2
Travis Levy played in all 13 games last fall for the Eagles as a true freshman, rushing for 54 yards on 21 carries. Levy, however, was most effective in the passing game, catching 15 passes for 153 yards, and even throwing a touchdown pass.
Levy and Dayne will compete this summer in training camp to be Dillon’s primary backup. But it’s feasible, given BC’s propensity to run the ball, that both Levy and Dayne can be utilized at times, taking advantage of their differing skill sets.
Dayne’s father was the Heisman Trophy winner in 1999, and remains major college football’s all-time leading ground gainer. Although it’s wishful thinking to believe that Javian Dayne will come anywhere close to the numbers his dad put up in college, he could emerge into a nice compliment to Dillon and Levy as a situational back in 2018 and 2019.
With his size, Dayne could be especially helpful to BC in goal line, third down, and short-yardage situations. Dayne will then be positioned well to potentially replace Dillon as BC’s lead back a couple years down the line.