Infield? Outfield? It didn’t matter. David Dudeck was a five-tool player on his high school baseball team at The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., who batted and threw righthanded. So it was never an issue where he was penciled into the lineup, because all he wanted was a chance to contribute.
“I played all over,’’ said Dudeck, now a 5-foot-11-inch, 190-pound utilityman on Boston College’s football team. “I was getting recruited as an infielder and as an outfielder by certain schools. I mean, it’s just fun. You’ve got to be able to be an athlete to be able to do different things.’’
Dudeck’s athleticism proved invaluable when he arrived at Chestnut Hill last season after being recruited as an “athlete.’’
Initially targeted for the defensive backfield, Dudeck wound up switching to offense last season to shore up the depth in the backfield, and he ranked third on the team in rushing with 111 yards and recorded 21 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown.
In preseason camp, Dudeck earned raves from first-year coach Steve Addazio, who marveled at the sophomore’s appetite for work. Dudeck handled the bulk of the carries in practices and scrimmages to minimize the contact on senior workhorse Andre Williams.
“I’m telling you, that kid took about every snap in preseason camp,’’ Addazio said. “It was unbelievable sometimes the licking he would take. That gave Andre an opportunity to keep his body intact and fresh. That is a huge factor.
“It’s one of those unknown little things that people take for granted. But we don’t here.”
Williams, in fact, rushed for 172 yards in last Saturday’s 34-10 setback at North Carolina to break the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Williams now has 1,010 yards on the season.
Dudeck laughed and deflected any credit when it was suggested he was partially responsible for helping Williams achieve his milestone.
“Andre’s awesome, man,’’ Dudeck said. “He’s a very hard worker. I give him so much credit for going out there every day and working his tail off. Every yard and every inch that he gets when he’s out there, he deserves every bit of it because he’s one of the hardest-working guys on the team.”
Now, with junior receiver and punt returner Spiffy Evans out for the season with a fractured clavicle, the Eagles again will turn to their utilityman as they prepare to host Virginia Tech Saturday at noon at Alumni Stadium.
It will be all hands on deck for BC’s receiving corps against the Hokies’ third-ranked defense, which is also the nation’s second-best passing defense (157.8 yards per game).
And even though he pounded the ball into the teeth of BC’s defense during preseason camp, Dudeck kept his receiving skills sharp by doing extra work after practice. He will line up at receiver and have the punt-return duties on his plate as well. On Thursday, he was working on fielding punts in rainy and cold conditions at Alumni Stadium.
“It’s only going to help, practicing in this kind of weather,’’ Dudeck surmised. “It’s really a lot of practice and repetition, catching a ton of punts, and getting a feel for it and getting a feel for the spin of the ball and when it’s coming down at a certain angle and knowing where it’s going to go and dealing with the wind at the same time.’’
But Dudeck knows his primary function will be to help senior wideout Alex Amidon win the battles against the tight man coverage they are likely to encounter against the Hokies’ secondary, which has a nation-leading 17 interceptions this season.
“Just as we were talking about Andre, Alex is the same way,’’ Dudeck said. “He’s a guy who every day is going to give you 110 percent. He’s getting after it every single day. He’s doing an awesome job for us.
“I’m just going out there every day trying to get better and staying after practice and working on different things. If the chance comes my way where I can take some of the pressure off Alex, I’d love to do that.
“But I’m just doing whatever Coach is asking me to do right now, and I’ll go from there.’’
Dudeck’s approach already has won the respect and admiration of Addazio.
“That guy right there is an unselfish guy who lays it on the line every day,’’ Addazio said. “You could tell him to play D-tackle, he’d run in there and do it. Those guys are invaluable.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.