Boston College RB A.J. Dillon forgoing senior season to enter NFL draft

Boston College running back AJ Dillon (2) is heading to the NFL early and as the school's all-time leading rusher. (AP)
Boston College running back AJ Dillon (2) is heading to the NFL early and as the school's all-time leading rusher. (AP)

Boston College tailback A.J. Dillon will be skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft, he told Yahoo Sports. Dillon also said he’ll be skipping BC’s bowl game, the Birmingham Bowl against Cincinnati, on Jan. 2.

Dillon will leave Boston College as the school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,382 yards. He finishes with a stellar junior season that has him No. 4 nationally with 1,685 rushing yards, which helped him earn All-ACC honors.

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“At this point in my career, I’ve done everything I set out to do,” Dillon told Yahoo Sports. “I had a chance after the Pitt game to talk with my family. We came to the conclusion, it’s time to take the next step.”

Dillon should fit the mold of the versatile modern tailback, as he’s developed into a dynamic all-around back under the tutelage of running back coach Brian White. Dillon caught 13 balls this season for 195 yards, jumping from zero catches as a true freshman. Along with averaging 5.3 yards per carry this year, Dillon evolved as a pass blocker.

Dillon is both rugged and explosive at 6-foot, 251 pounds, and he wowed BC coaches by posting a 39-inch vertical jump in the offseason. He’s explosive enough that he’s expected to run in the 4.4-range at the NFL combine, but powerful enough that he posterized numerous defenders by delivering hits and stiff-arms on the second level.

“BC is near and dear to my heart,” Dillon said. “My coaches have helped me out tremendously, especially Coach White. He’s a second father to me. He’s helped me a lot on and off the field. That’s someone who I’ll carry with me.”

Dillon’s ascension to a three-and-done NFL player has been assumed since his breakout freshman season in 2017. That year, he finished with 1,589 yards, won ACC Rookie of the Year and earned the preseason ACC Player of the Year award for 2018. Injuries curtailed Dillon’s production as a sophomore, as he missed two full games but still managed 1,108 yards rushing and earned All-ACC honors.

Dillon will go down as one of the elite offensive talents in Boston College history. He finished his career with 40 touchdowns, ahead of stars like Troy Stradford, William Green, Mike Cloud and Andre Williams.

His signature performances include rushing for 242 yards and three touchdowns in a blowout win at Syracuse this season and running for 272 yards and four touchdowns against Louisville as a freshman.

Dillon was a highly regarded four-star prospect out of Lawrence (Massachusetts) Academy, as the Connecticut native chose Boston College over a host of big-brand schools like Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

He turned down the brighter lights and bigger stadiums for a chance to carve his own legacy close to home. “I definitely feel like I made the right choice,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets or wouldn’t change anything. I couldn’t have had a better experience.”

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