Alex Amidon soon could find himself in rarefied air.
The 6-foot, 182-pound senior from Greenfield, Mass., enters Saturday’s game against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C., ranked fourth among Boston College’s leaders in career receptions and yardage with 152 grabs for 2,315 yards.
That total was improved when he earned ACC Receiver of the Week honors after making six catches for 121 yards and a 69-yard touchdown in BC’s 24-14 loss at third-ranked Clemson Oct. 12.
He is part of an illustrious list of elite Eagles receivers.
The select group includes Pete Mitchell, a hybrid tight end/H-back who from 1991-94 established himself as the school’s all-time leader in career receptions with 190, and Rich Gunnell, now a BC offensive graduate assistant on coach Steve Addazio’s staff. From 2006-09, Gunnell emerged as Matt Ryan’s favorite target and ended his career as BC’s all-time leader in receiving yardage with 2,459.
Statistically, Amidon is already rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mitchell and Gunnell.
If, as has been the case this season, Amidon has his number called early and often by senior quarterback Chase Rettig, it might not be long before he records the 145 yards he needs to supplant Gunnell and makes the 39 receptions he needs to surpass Mitchell.
Amidon said he and Gunnell have not had any long conversations about Gunnell’s tenuous hold on BC’s career record for receiving yards.
“No, no, I don’t talk about it at all with him,’’ Amidon said after Tuesday morning’s spirited practice at Alumni Stadium. “I mean, obviously, he said something about it a couple of days ago. But I don’t think about that.’’
Asked if Gunnell expressed any surprise that his receiving record now appeared to be within Amidon’s reach, the BC wideout replied, “He’s not all about numbers, either. So he doesn’t care about all that. We’ve both stayed pretty quiet about it, because it’s all about getting the wins around here.’’
That’s because the Eagles (3-3 overall, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) still have bowl eligibility within reach in the second half of the season. And, in Amidon’s world of arithmetic, six, the number of wins BC needs to run the table, is greater than 145, the yards Amidon needs to surpass Gunnell.
“I’m just excited about where we are as a team,’’ Amidon said. “We’ve just got to keep making strides every week as a team, which we are. I think we’re doing it. We just got to keep fighting and being the team we are and that’s a tough football team.’’
There is no understating Amidon’s importance to the Eagles’ passing game. Through six games, Amidon has 547 yards; no other receiver has more than 100. He has three touchdowns, compared with seven for the rest of the receiving corps, with tight end C.J. Parsons having caught two.
Addazio shuddered to think where BC’s offense would be right now without Amidon in the mix.
“We’d be less explosive than we are, which isn’t highly [explosive],’’ the coach said. “We have an explosive run game, but we’d be less explosive on the perimeter, for sure.’’
That much was evident in the third quarter against Clemson when quarterback Tajh Boyd rallied the Tigers from a 7-3 halftime deficit to a 10-7 lead when he found Sammy Watkins streaking up the sideline and delivered a 48-yard TD strike.
The Eagles, however, quickly responded with a stunning touchdown of their own.
“It just showed the persona of our team,’’ Amidon said. “They scored and people were like, ‘Oh, Clemson’s got it,’ but then we go right back and punch them right back in the face. And that’s how our team is — we never stop fighting.’’
Rettig dropped back to pass on first and 10 from the BC 31 and connected with Amidon, who defeated Clemson’s tight man coverage with a strong move at the line of scrimmage, on that 69-yard touchdown pass that enabled the Eagles to wrest the lead away, 14-10, after one play, one pass, and one stunning catch-and-run by Amidon.
“He’s a hard-working guy, a tough guy, and he’s got speed,’’ Addazio marveled. “He’s got great work habits. He’s one of those guys who’s kind of a gritty guy. He’s got legit speed, but he’s just a smaller guy. He’s just tough.’’
But, as Addazio noted, Amidon was just one guy. He invariably will need help from the rest of the BC’s receivers in the second half of the season if the Eagles intend to achieve bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010.
It explained why it was imperative for Amidon to continue to win his one-on-one battles against tight man coverage.
“If we could get one more guy to win, we’d be that much stronger,’’ Addazio said. “But we’ve got them all in that box, they’re all in there, so we’re really looking at different things we can do [to get Amdion free].’’
Of course, as Amidon pointed out, it helps to have a strong running game and the nation’s fifth-leading rusher in Andre Williams (139.7 yards per game), who has rushed 157 times for 838 yards and 7 touchdowns.
“Sometimes you see [double-team coverage], especially in the single-receiver sets where [the defense] kind of knows that I’m the only receiver out there on the field,’’ Amidon said. “With such a great run game, it really hasn’t been an issue. I think Andre really helps it out.’’
So, has Williams been a receiver’s best friend this season?
“Yeah, exactly,’’ Amidon said, chuckling. “He’s awesome.’’
The same could be said of Amidon, a 2013 Biletnikoff Award candidate who set BC records for receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,210) last season to earn All-ACC first-team honors. Now, he is on the threshold of cementing his legacy as perhaps the school’s greatest receiver.
“It would be great, but I think it’s something for after the season to think about,’’ Amidon said. “Honestly, my mom loves to talk about all that stuff, but I’m just trying to focus on our goals as a team. It would be awesome, but I’m just not going to think about any of that until after the season.’’Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.