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Matt Tennant Overview

Posted Apr 24, 2010

Background on Saints' 5th-round pick from Boston College

MATT TENNANT

Offensive Center/Guard

Boston College Eagles

#65

6:04.4-290

Cincinnati, Ohio

Archbishop Moeller High School

OVERVIEW

Comparing Tennant to active National Football League centers, professional scouts see in this athlete the intelligence of Matt Birk (Baltimore), the tenaciousness of Olin Kreutz (Chicago), the trap blocking ability of Brad Meester (Jacksonville) and the consistent effort of Jeff Saturday (Indianapolis) as some of the traits the Eagles offensive lineman displays.

“Old Time” scouts also see the aggressive and combative nature of Tim Grunhard (ex-Kansas City), the explosiveness off the snap of Dwight Stephenson (ex-Miami), the field vision of Jim Langer (ex-Miami) and the hand placement ability of Jay Hilgenberg (ex-Chicago) as other areas of his game that Tennant displays. With all of those skills combined into one player, it is no small wonder than many talent evaluators regard the Boston College blocker as the elite prospect at his position heading into the 2010 NFL Draft.

Since taking over the center position as a sophomore, what once was a revolving door for defensive linemen to get to BC quarterbacks (from 2002-06, Eagles centers had allowed a total of 34 sacks) has all but shut down, as Tennant has had just 1.5 quarterback sacks and two pressures registered against him in his last two seasons. To further impress upon his importance to the Eagles’ offensive success, during those last 27 contests, his fellow line-mates have given up 41 sacks along with 36 pressures.

Tennant was a highly regarded prospect during his playing days at powerhouse Archbishop Moeller High School. The Super Prep All-American added All-State honors from the Associated Press as a senior in 2004. He was also named to the All-Southwest Ohio, All-District and All-City first-team squads.

Rated one of the nation’s top 55 offensive guard prospects by Rivals.com (also received a three-star rating from that recruiting service), the 250-pounder was also selected the 2004 Greater Catholic South League’s Lineman of the Year. The senior team captain started in each of his final three seasons and was chosen to play in the 48th annual Big 33 Football Classic. Tennant also displayed his athletic skills for the school’s wrestling and track teams.

Tennant decided to enroll at Boston College in 2004, turning down scholarship offers from Purdue and Penn State. He spent his first season on campus performing on the scout team, retaining freshman eligibility. In 2005, Tennant had bulked up from 250 pounds to 278. He appeared briefly as a reserve offensive guard in the Brigham Young, North Carolina State, Maine, Buffalo and Duke contests.

Continued hard work in the training room saw Tennant increase his bulk to 285 pounds during the 2007 preseason. That added power and stellar play in August camp saw the sophomore beat out senior Kevin Sheridan for the starting job at center. A guard through-out his prep career, Tennant was asked by the Eagles' staff to switch to center during fall drills.

That process for change actually began earlier that summer during practices, which are organized by the players. Tennant was approached by quarterback Matt Ryan. "He came up to me and said, `All right, let's get this over with,” he recalled. "I was like `oh no, I'm going to snap and break his fingers.” Ryan took his position in the shotgun formation some five yards behind Tennant. The snap was clean and a center was created. In fact, Tennant proved to be so good that he won the job in preseason camp and went on to start 41 consecutive games.

Some may think that switching from guard to center is no big deal, but there's more to it than meets the average fan's eye. "There's a huge difference," Tennant said. "The biggest one is you're snapping the ball so you're not able to get your hands on the defensive lineman quite as quick. The other thing is you sort of set the offense. You direct the offensive line as to who they're going to be targeting when they're blocking, so you need to have a better understanding of the offense."

In his first season playing in the pivot, Tennant registered 92 knockdowns/key blocks and had touchdown-resulting blocks on twelve of the team’s 48 offensive touchdowns. He finished second on the team with a blocking consistency grade of 82.64%, as just two of the 22 quarterback sacks allowed by the front wall came over the middle of the line.

Tennant was chosen All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team by The NFL Draft Report and received honorable mention from the league’s coaches and media in 2008. Starting all fourteen games, he had the second-highest blocking consistency grade (86.38) of any major college center, delivering eleven touchdown-resulting blocks.

The center allowed just two quarterback pressures and an assisted sack, as he paced the Eagles’ down linemen with 98 key blocks/knockdowns, despite missing three quarters of the Music City Bowl with a left elbow injury that would require ulnar collateral ligament reconstructive (Tommy John) surgery in January.

The Rimington Trophy Watch List member (given to the nation’s best center) showed no ill effects from his elbow surgery during the 2009 campaign. He would become just the second player in school history to be named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to college football’s top center. He also added All-American third-team and All-Atlantic Coast first-team honors, as he collected 80 knockdowns with thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks.

Boston College’s new head coach, Frank Spaziani, who has spent most of his career coaching the defensive side of the ball, appreciates what Tennant has accomplished. "You have to be athletic to be a center," Spaziani said. "You've got to get the ball up and then you've got to move, you're playing somebody right on your head most of the time, you make all the calls, get the line calls straightened out, the pass protection. You've got to be smart, athletic - you have to be a very good player."

CAREER NOTES

Tennant has started the last 41 games at center for Boston College and has yielded just an assisted quarterback sack in his last 27 appearances…During his time as a starter, he posted a blocking consistency grade of 82.75%, fourth among college football’s active centers…Over 2,787 offensive snaps, Tennant registered 270 knockdowns/key blocks that featured 35 touchdown-resulting blocks and thirteen blocks down field…Charged with just 3.5 quarterback sacks and two pressures, he also recorded a pair of solo tackles (one each vs. Georgia Tech and Clemson in 2008) and recovered one fumble (vs. Georgia Tech in 2007)…In 2009, Tennant joined Dan Koppen (2002) as the only Boston College players to be named as a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation’s top center.

2009 SEASON

All-American third-team selection by The NFL Draft Report…All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team choice…Became just the second Boston College Player to be named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy…Also a member of the Lombardi Award Watch List…Started all thirteen games at center…Was named one of the team’s captains prior to the season opener…Tennant posted a blocking consistency grade of 83.15%, as he registered 80 key blocks/knockdowns that included thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks and three blocks down field, as he spent the campaign mentoring an inexperienced offensive unit that averaged just 323.92 yards per game in total offense…Allowed just one quarterback sack, as he produced two performances with grades of 90% or better.

2008 SEASON

Earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team accolades from The NFL Draft Report and honorable mention from the league’s coaches and media…Started all fourteen games at center, but was forced out of the lineup early in the second quarter of the Music City Bowl vs. Vanderbilt after suffering a left elbow injury that would require Tommy John surgery (reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament) in January…Led the team and ranked second in the nation among centers with a blocking consistency grade of 86.38%...Part of a front wall that helped the team average 142.86 yards per game on the ground, as tailback Montel Harris set the school season-records for freshman with 900 rushing yards and five 100-yard performances...The center collected 98 knockdowns/key blocks to go with ten touchdown-resulting blocks and six down field blocks…Allowed two QB pressures and a half sack on 892 offensive plays and recorded a pair of tackles, including one vs. Georgia Tech after a BC interception and another vs. Clemson after an Eagles turnover via a fumble.

2007 SEASON

Tennant did not switch to center until summer camp, yet he still beat out senior Kevin Sheridan for the starting job…Behind the first-year starter’s stellar pass protection, All-American quarterback Matt Ryan set the school season-record with 4,507 aerial yards and the offense generated 5,924 yards in total offense…Behind Tennant’s dominance in the trenches, the team produced 50 offensive touchdowns, as the center was credited with 92 key blocks/knockdowns, twelve touchdown-resulting blocks and four down field blocks to finish with an 82.64% blocking consistency grade…Recorded three games with blocking grades of 90% or higher and also recovered a fumble in the Virginia Tech clash.

2006 SEASON

Tennant was utilized as an offensive guard during his first varsity season…Saw action in each of the Brigham Young, North Carolina State, Maine, Buffalo and Duke contests.

2005 SEASON

Redshirted as a freshman.

CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS

5.06 in the 40-yard dash…1.75 10-yard dash…2.93 20-yard dash…4.57 20-yard shuttle… 7.62 three-cone drill…28.5-inch vertical jump…8’4” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times…32 ¼-inch arm length…9 3/8-inch hands.

HIGH SCHOOL

Attended Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Oh.), starting at offensive guard during his final three seasons for head coach Bob Crable…Super Prep All-American and Associated Press All-State selection as a senior in 2004…Named to the All-Southwest Ohio, All-District and All-City first-team squads…Rated one of the nation’s top 55 offensive guard prospects by Rivals.com, as he also received a three-star rating from that recruiting service…Selected the 2004 Greater Catholic South League’s Lineman of the Year…Chosen to play in the 48th annual Big 33 Football Classic…Also lettered in wrestling and track…Graduated with a 2.7 grade point average.

PERSONAL

Enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences…One of two children (sister, Abigail) of Pam and Kurt Tennant…Born Matthew H. Tennant on 3/19/87...Resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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