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Haden, Tuggle are leaving BC

Running back, QB to transfer

It went downhill for Justin Tuggle after two early wins. It went downhill for Justin Tuggle after two early wins. (Winslow Townson/For The Globe
)
By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / October 28, 2009

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It apparently was a matter of playing time - or lack of it.

For Boston College running back Josh Haden and quarterback Justin Tuggle, it also was time to go somewhere else. Both have told coach Frank Spaziani they are leaving the program and transferring.

“The timing is tough,’’ said Spaziani yesterday when asked about the moves, which appear to be triggered by both players wanting to transfer by January. “As to what was on their minds, I don’t know. Who can figure out what is in the minds of 19- or 20-year-olds sometimes.’’

In one sense, Tuggle’s move should not have been a surprise. He came to BC with high expectations that never panned out. He redshirted last season but seem primed to take over as the starter after Dominique Davis left school for academic reasons.

Through the early part of summer training camp, Tuggle seemed to have found his game. He worked his way to the top of the depth chart and started the first two games, which the Eagles won with relative ease.

But in a 25-7 loss to Clemson Sept. 19, Tuggle at times seemed overmatched, completing 4 of 20 passes for 23 yards. He was intercepted three times and sacked three times.

He slipped on the depth chart to No. 2 and then No. 3. With Dave Shinskie and Mike Marscovetra ahead of him, and two blue-chip quarterbacks committed to BC next season, Tuggle’s fate seemed clear.

With Haden, it was less clear.

The 5-foot-8 inch, 182-pound sophomore, whose older brother Joe is a starting cornerback for the No. 1-ranked Florida Gators, arrived at BC last season with a little bit of fanfare as an all-purpose back. He started 13 games at tailback, gaining 479 yards, and he and Montel Harris were developing into a solid backfield tandem.

But in the past three weeks, Harris made a quantum leap forward, notably with a 264-yard, five-touchdown effort in a 52-20 win over North Carolina State Oct. 17.

Haden also was set back by an ankle injury; he did not play in a 20-16 loss to Notre Dame last Saturday.

Whether it was lack of playing time or some other reason, Haden decided it was time to continue his collegiate career at someplace other than BC.

The move leaves BC thin at running back and on some special teams duties on returns with Chris Fox already out for the season with an injury.

Spaziani made it clear he was already moving on.

“We want players who want to be here,’’ said Spaziani, who will move true freshman Rolandan Finch into the backup role behind Harris as the Eagles prepare for their meeting with Central Michigan Saturday.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.