Seth Betancourt enjoyed a high school career full of accolades at St. Joseph's Prep as a multitalented offensive tackle. He could have had his choice of any top college football program in the country and decided on Boston College.
But life moves in mysterious ways, and Betancourt went through some strange experiences, not the least of which was the fact that he got caught up in a numbers crunch. He did not start his first game in a B.C. uniform until the 2014 season opener.
In the meantime, the Eagles went 4-8 and 2-10 in his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons. Now a fifth-year senior, Betancourt has played for four offensive coordinators and three offensive line coaches.
However, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound resident of Riverside, N.J., didn't pout or consider finding another spot to play football.
"Not really," he said during a break in preparations for Boston College's date Saturday against Penn State in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. "When things get hard, you have days where you're just like: 'I'm tired of this. What am I doing?' You just keep going and you get through it. But never did I really consider quitting.
"I've always been pretty patient. I always had enough confidence in myself to know that when I wanted to do something, I'm going to get it done. I knew I had to keep working. I wasn't going to give up because that wasn't how I was raised.
"So I kept working and good things happened. When it does come, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world knowing that your hard work finally paid off."
Betancourt, who received his degree in applied psychology and human development last May, is part of a starting offensive line that features five graduate students. The unit has done a stellar job blocking for one of the nation's best rushing attacks, which ranks 14th in FBS and has allowed just 20 sacks in 12 games.
He insists that he has benefited from having all those coaches while at Boston College, particularly second-year head coach Steve Addazio, the former Florida offensive coordinator who tried to recruit him for the Gators until he decided on B.C. late in his junior year.
"It's tough, but it prepares you for anything," Betancourt said. "You're constantly learning offenses and picking up new schemes. I feel like that has helped me . . . It gave me confidence to learn those calls and different terms.
"Coach Addazio has been great. The two years I've been with him, I've learned so much. You understand where he's coming from and what you need to do. He knows so much about the offensive line."
Betancourt, a two-time Inquirer all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection at the Prep and second-team all-state as a senior, blocks for senior Tyler Murphy, one of the nation's top rushing quarterbacks, who has picked up 1,079 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in his first and only season with the Eagles.
"When he first came in, he was a great guy, very polite and just quiet about his business," he said of Murphy. "We welcomed him immediately. He fit right in with us. It barely took any time at all for him to be joking with us, hanging out with us and stuff. He's a special guy."
Betancourt has made his final year at Boston College a meaningful one on the field. The Eagles (7-5) have made it to back-to-back bowls and he and his linemates have been a big part of it.
"We've always been close," he said. "Just over the years and times we grew better after everything we've been through. That's helped us out a lot getting closer and what we've been able to accomplish and everything."