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BC reloads, putting an emphasis on linebackers

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / February 2, 2012
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Mark Herzlich is gone; he is with the New York Giants in Indianapolis, preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Patriots.

Luke Kuechly is gone; he is in Florida, preparing for the NFL combine later this month.

The absence of those two marquee linebackers is one reason that when Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani announced his 2012 recruiting class yesterday, four of the 16 players were linebackers.

And with his top prospect at the position, Steve Daniels, still dealing with academic issues that kept him out of last year’s recruiting class, Spaziani knows someone has to emerge as the leader of the pack.

In his two seasons at The Heights, Steele Divitto has been a work in progress at linebacker, going through on-the-job training next to Herzlich and Kuechly.

Now, with spring practice about to begin soon, Divitto has chosen a different way of preparing for the season.

During Christmas break, he flew to New Orleans and helped build houses, came home to Connecticut for a day, then flew to Arizona for a two-week training session at Athletes Performance in Phoenix.

“I wanted to get a different outlook on training,’’ said Divitto.

For two weeks, two sessions a day, Divitto worked out and followed a new nutritional plan, one designed to raise his performance level.

“Part of it was that I was frustrated that we didn’t make a bowl game,’’ he said. “I wanted to spend my time wisely.’’

Yesterday, of course, was national letter-of-intent day, and BC was not treated kindly by the recruiting gurus. According to scout.com, BC ranked last in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 72d in the country.

Spaziani, naturally, downplayed the “star’’ system of rating players. In addition to the four linebackers, his class included three offensive linemen, three wide receivers, three defensive backs, a pair of tight ends, and one defensive lineman.

Six of the kids are from New Jersey high schools and prep schools, three are from Massachusetts, and two are from Florida.

Of the group, Mike Giacone, a 6-foot-5-inch, 246-pound tight end from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, and Daniels are the highest-rated.

“An important day, a significant day,’’ said Spaziani. “We’ll find out in four or five years just how good it was.’’

Divitto, who expects to fill a leadership role now that Kuechly has passed up his senior season, will remain at strong-side linebacker, while sophomore Sean Duggan will move into Kuechly’s spot in the middle.

“I’m excited,’’ said Divitto. “There are no excuses. Either we do it or we don’t. Last year was definitely hard.

“One of the better things about what we learned was that everyone is going into this season ticked off about what happened last year.’’

After a 4-8 season, changes were made.

Spaziani brought in new offensive coaches, and yesterday he announced that Mike Poidomani, who was on the BC staff in 2002, was returning as strength and conditioning coach as a replacement for Jason Loscalzo, who went to Washington State.

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