Birk was playing high school football in St. Paul, Minn., when he became part of Murphy’s first recruiting class.
“What I tell kids is, ‘if you come to Harvard, you’re going to have a great overall collegiate experience. You’ll get a world-class education. You’ll have a great social experience,’” said Murphy, the Crimson coach for the past 19 seasons. “If you’re fortunate enough to get to the NFL, that’s something we can’t count on.”
At least they’re getting noticed.
“Teams are spending more resources trying to find these diamonds in the rough,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. “Our scouts do a good job of finding these guys.”
But, Surace said, “I think sometimes scouts come in thinking the guys are going to be sitting around with glasses on, legs crossed, and with books, but I think they see when the kids are on the field that these guys are football players.”
Pro teams look beyond the stigma of playing in the Ivy League.
“You try to look at each guy individually,” Cleveland chief executive officer Joe Banner said. “You try not to label him a small school guy or a big school guy. You really try to be objective.”
Juszczyk visited 12 NFL teams and his versatility as a fullback, tight end and H-back, is an attraction. He’s considered by some to be the top fullback in the draft after a strong showing during Senior Bowl week.
“I really didn’t know what to expect just because I had never really been around that level of talent, but I was confident in what I could do there,” he said. “I knew from the first hit on the first day of practice that I belonged there.”
Catapano developed improved pass rushing moves as a senior and would be the first Princeton player drafted in 12 years. Tretter missed the Senior Bowl after breaking his nose but would be the second Cornell player drafted in 16 years.