The decision to make the leap to the NFL or return to Boston College for his senior season had lingered around Boston College defensive end Harold Landry all season. He sat down with Eagles coach Steve Addazio to talk about his future before the Eagles’ victory over Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl the day after Christmas, and a few days ago, they talked again.
But the conversation didn’t center on football.
“It was really a talk just about life,” Landry said. “The situation I’m in. Everything that I’m going through.”
Landry had adult decisions to make.
He was engaged to his longtime girlfriend Danielle Rios-Roberts. The couple just found out that they’re expecting a son. Landry had more factors to weigh than just making a future for himself in the NFL. He also had to think about making a life for his family.
“It definitely affected my decision,” he said. “I can’t think like a careless kid anymore. I can’t think about just myself.”
Addazio told Landry that he had the school’s full support no matter what he chose.
“He just let me know that whatever decision I decide, he has my back and the BC family supports me not matter what,” Landry said.
Landry’s family reminded him that the decision was important and the opportunity was valuable.
They told him, “You’ve only got one shot at this so you should make the best of it.”
The more he thought about it, the clearer his motivations became. He wanted to prove that he was worthy of being a first-round pick. He also wanted to make sure his family was secure.
The decision to return to BC for another year accomplished both of those things in his mind.
“I thought about it for a while with my family and my fiancée and I just think it’s best for me to return,” he said. “I think I have a great chance at being a top 15 pick next year. God willing, I stay healthy. I know how strongly I believe in my work ethic and what I can do on the field and I’m only going to get better. So I feel I can definitely raise my draft status next season. And I only have two more semesters in school, so I think it’ll also be a bonus to leave BC with a degree right now, in case something was to happen. So, I think that benefits my future in a huge way.”
Landry had a breakout season for the Eagles as a junior. He led the country and set the school’s single-season record with 16.5 sacks. He earned second-team Associated Press All-America honors.
In the pre-draft evaluations, he learned where he stood among NFL scouts. He was projected as a second- or third-round pick. Teams that played 3-4 defenses were high on him, grading him out as a first- or second-round selection. Teams in 4-3 defenses had him pegged as a second- or third-rounder.
“I just wanted to prove to every single defense that I can play any defensive front,” he said. “I think coming back, it’ll help me prove that. I want to be more dominant from snap to snap and just prove that I can play a 4-3 and 3-4 outside linebacker on any team.”
There’s also the dangling carrot of BC’s all-time sack record as incentive. Landry needs 18 sacks to catch Mathias Kiwanuka for the school record.
“Oh, yeah. Since I made the decision to come back, I most definitely want to be the all-time sack leader here at BC,” Landry said. “Definitely.”Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.