ACC gets boost of star power with Harold Landry returning to Boston College
Amid a flood of star players leaving the ACC, the conference got a boost Monday with Boston College's All-American defensive end Harold Landry announcing he's returning for his senior year.
The nation's leader with 16 1/2 sacks and seven forced fumbles, Landry had been projected as a first-round pick, going 26th in Yahoo! Sports' latest mock. Instead, he'll be back as one of seven returns from an Eagles defense that ranked ninth in FBS.
"It was important for me to finish what I started at Boston College -- to prove that I have the talent and drive to be a first-round draft pick and to earn my degree from one of the nation's premier academic institutions," Landry in a statement released by Boston College. "Our team has a special chemistry and I am so excited to know I will have one more season to play with my teammates. I really believe in what Coach (Steve) Addazio is building here and look forward to help this team compete for a championship."
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound North Carolina native totaled 51 tackles this season, including 22 for loss -- fifth-best in the country -- and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's top defensive end.
He and the Eagles defense were second in the ACC, giving up 314.2 yards per game, and seventh vs. the rush, yielding 108.5 per. Now they'll return their star, along with nose tackle Noa Merritt, linebackers Connor Strachan, Ty Schwab and Isaac Yiadom and defensive backs William Harris and Kamrin Moore.
"We are so excited to have Harold back for his senior season and know that he will be able to leave BC with an outstanding degree," said Addazio. "Harold is a tremendous leader with his senior class that came to BC to help us compete for a championship. We look forward to see him continue to grow and develop as he works himself into a potential first-round draft pick in 2018. The sky is the limit with his potential."
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney and Facebook. His books, 'Tales from the Atlanta Braves Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Braves Stories Ever Told,' and 'The Heisman Trophy: The Story of an American Icon and Its Winners.' are now available.