“I’m not sure,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “I think you need to do a great job of your evaluation of personnel coming out of high school to be a program that might be able to develop kids to the next level.”
But Ivy Leaguers must overcome different hurdles than players at other schools.
They haven’t proven themselves against top competition. And, Princeton coach Bob Surace said, they must show they really want to play a game where injury is a constant threat rather than sit in an office wearing a suit and tie and earning a big salary.
“I majored in economics,” Juszczyk said, “but by the time I had declared my major, I knew that I wanted to be a professional football player and put all my focus into that.”
Before going to Princeton in 2010, Surace was on the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff for eight years. He worked out players before the draft, including Jeff Hatch from Pennsylvania and Kevin Boothe from Cornell. Both offensive linemen were drafted — Hatch by the New York Giants in the third round in 2002 and Boothe by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round in 2006. Last season, Boothe started all 16 games for the Giants.
“I’m sure when pro scouts are looking at a school like Princeton, they’re saying, ‘When it’s the middle of training camp and he’s tired, is he going to tap out and say ‘I can go get a million-dollar job on Wall Street. I don’t need this,’” Surace said. “Or is he going to say, ‘I just absolutely love being part of this team and I’m going to commit myself to winning a Super Bowl.’”
That’s what Matt Birk, Harvard ’98, did.
He was drafted in the sixth round by Minnesota, signed as a free agent with Baltimore in 2009 and won the Super Bowl last season with the Ravens. Then, at age 36, he retired after a career that included six Pro Bowls at center.