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Sports

April 25, 2013

Big year for Ivy League in draft with 3 prospects

BOSTON — The Ivy League is a rich breeding ground for doctors, lawyers and economists.

Football players, not so much.

The universities that educated more than a dozen U.S. presidents have produced just seven players who were drafted by the NFL in the past 10 years. And only one of them was picked earlier than the sixth round.

“If you go to the Ivy League, that’s not your most important issue,” agent Joe Linta said. “If it were, you’d be going somewhere else.”

But the current crop of potential draftees from the conference is the best in years. Fullback-tight end Kyle Juszczyk of Harvard could go as high as the third round in the three-day draft starting tonight. Defensive end Mike Catapano of Princeton and offensive linemen J.C. Tretter of Cornell are projected as late-round selections.

Not bad for a league that had just three players drafted in the past six years.

“Almost every team I talked to, one of the first things they mentioned is what an up year it was for Ivy League players,” said Juszczyk, who is represented by Linta. “They all mention Mike and J.C. as well. It’s really cool to have the talent recognized in our league.”

More Ivy Leaguers may be on NFL teams’ draft boards, but that doesn’t make them household names — even among pro personnel people.

“There’s a good defensive end at Princeton. His name escapes me. And a fullback whose name I can’t pronounce at Harvard,” Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. “So there are some really good players coming out of the Ivy League. You have to look everywhere.”

The comprehensive scouting systems of NFL teams find talented players regardless of their schools.

It may be more of a coincidence than a trend that this is one of the better years for Ivy talent. Even some coaches in the conference aren’t prepared to say the league will become a steady pipeline of draftable players.

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