120 Players To Know - BC's Mark Herzlich
Boston College LB Mark Herzlich
Boston College LB Mark Herzlich
Posted Mar 11, 2009

Who are the players you need to know about? Maybe they've been under the radar, or maybe they're the future NFL stars who'll be a really big deal next April. Get to know the stars of 2009 as CFN profiles 120 Players You Need To Know over 120 days (one for each team) continuing with Boston College LB Mark Herlzich.

120 Players You Need To Know

Boston College LB Mark Herzlich

By Richard Cirminiello

Who is Mark Herzlich? … Steadily climbing up the ranks over the last three years, Herzlich will begin the 2009 season as one of the most decorated defensive players in the country. Yet, he almost didn’t make it to this point. He flirted with the concept of leaving early for the NFL Draft, but only if he was graded as a likely first-round selection. Privately, Herzlich always wanted to return to Chestnut Hill for one more season. And why not? He’s thrilled that former defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani is now the head coach, loves playing in Boston, and is wildly popular among the fan base. As close to an ideal outside linebacker as you’ll find this season, he’s outstanding in run defense and picked off a team-high six passes as a junior. In terms of intangibles, he’s just as valuable, brimming with intelligence, leadership, and dedication on the practice field and in the weight room. Almost four years ago, Herzlich committed to Virginia, but something just didn’t feel right, so he went with his gut and reversed fields. Boston College has been benefiting from that change of heart ever since.  

Herzlich’s best game so far was … last Nov. 22 at Wake Forest. Herzlich was at his disruptive best in Winston-Salem last fall, helping lead the Eagles to a narrow win with nine tackles and a couple of picks, the first one going 34 yards for a touchdown. On a day when the offense managed a season-low 234 yards, his efforts were especially instrumental to the outcome.

Why you should care about Herzlich? … He’s the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a leading candidate for individual honors, ranging from All-America teams to the Bednarik and Butkus Awards. Herzlich is the physical and emotional leader of the Boston College defense, and one of those players who’ll whip a home crowd into a frenzy. From an NFL perspective, he’ll spend this season trying to solidify early projections that have him going on the opening round of the 2010 draft.

Positives about Herzlich … From a very young age, Herzlich always had tremendous coordination and athletic ability. Even as he grew into the 6-4, 238-pounder he is today, he didn’t lose that speed, athleticism, or agility that allows him to patrol such a large chunk of the field. He also has a tremendous acumen for the linebacker position, understanding where he belongs and recognizing plays before they develop.

Negatives about Herzlich …With one final year left on the Heights, Herzlich plans to work on improving his pass-rushing technique, such as using his hands better to get to the quarterback. In three years of action, he’s had just 5.5 sacks, so there’s an opportunity to have an even greater impact on a defense that’s losing DT B.J. Raji, its best penetrator of 2008.

A cool thing about Mark Herzlich you probably didn’t know … Herzlich gets much of his athletic ability from his mom, Barb, who was a three-sport All-American at Wesleyan University. In fact, when she was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame, Bill Belichick was a part of the same class.

Career Statistics
2007: 97 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries
2008: 110 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three sacks, eight pass breakups, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two touchdowns

Statistics, information and photo provided by the Boston College sports information department