In our final unit preview, the 2014 Boston College special teams preview to be exact, there is a key player to replace.
By “key player,” we mean the guy who did the punting and kicking, Nate Freese. He is now with the Detroit Lions, but who will take on his old job for Boston College now?
The options are limited but good.
2014 Boston College Special Teams Preview: Losses
• Nate Freese (K/P), graduation
2014 Boston College Special Teams Preview: Gains
• Mike Knoll (K/P), freshman
• Will Mahar (K), freshman
2014 Boston College Special Teams Preview: So, Who’s The Punter?
This one probably comes down to two contenders, Alex Howell and Mike Knoll. Those are the two names that keep coming up.
Howell is entering his fourth season with Boston College, having redshirted in 2011 and backing up in 2012 and 2013. For some time, it appeared that this talented kicker from South Carolina would be the heir to Nate Freese.
Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the 2013 season. Boston College had an opening at punter when Gerald Levano graduated, and with Nate Freese handling the kicking duties, it seemed logical that Howell could step up in this role. Instead, Steve Addazio and his staff let Freese do both.
Howell has been passed over for the job twice before, but the third time could be the charm. Alex Howell was the backup to Nate Freese at both positions last season as well, but there were admittedly few options on the roster.
2014 Boston College Special Teams Preview: And Kicker?
Mike Knoll is a freshman newcomer, as well as a kicker and a punter. As a matter of fact, some of the recruiting services considered him amongst the best kickers in the nation for the 2014 signing class.
Becoming the Boston College placekicker seems to be a long-term appointment in recent years. Before Freese held the post for four seasons, Steve Aponavicius had it for four before that. Whether it’s Knoll, Howell, or some other contender, the new kicker will be only the fourth Boston College has used since the 2004 season. Clearly, not much turnover.
Knoll could be the next player to do the honors for a full four-year term of eligibility. He has the leg to pull it off.