Ivy Leaguers in the National Football League (Pages 68-71)
Portions courtesy of Cornell Athletic Communications, Harvard Athletic Communications and Princeton Athletic Communications
NEW YORK -- The Ivy League made its presence back in the Big Apple as a part of the National Football League Draft with Cornell's JC Tretter and Harvard's Kyle Juszczyk selected in the fourth round and Princeton's Mike Catapano chosen in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Player Selection Meeting.
Tretter was the 122nd pick (25th pick of the fourth round) by the Green Bay Packers, Juszczyk was the 130th pick (33rd pick of the fourth round) by the Baltimore Ravens and Catapano was the 207th pick (first pick of the seventh round) by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tretter, Juszczyk and Catapano become the Ivy League's first players drafted in two years, following Yale's Shane Bannon being selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the seventh round in 2011. The threesome become the first Ivy trio to be selected in the same draft since the League boasted consecutive seventh-round picks -- Princeton's Dennis Norman (222nd overall, Seattle Seahawks), Yale's Than Merrill (223rd overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and fellow Bulldog Eric Johnson (224th overall, San Francisco 49ers) -- in the 2001 NFL Draft.
The three selections also marked the first time the Ancient Eight has had multiple selections in the same draft in 10 years -- since Yale's Nate Lawrie (sixth round, 181st overall) and Dartmouth's Casey Cramer (seventh round, 228th overall) were both drafted by Tampa Bay in 2004.
Tretter is the first Big Red player draft since two-time Super Bowl winner Kevin Boothe was selected in the sixth round (176th overall) by the Oakland Raiders in 2006 and becomes the school's highest NFL draft pick since Seth Payne was chosen in the fourth round (114th overall) by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1997. That year marked the last time the Ancient Eight had two players drafted in the first four rounds of the same draft as Columbia's Marcellus Wiley went in the second round (52nd overall) to the Buffalo Bills.
Tretter was responsible for protecting record-breaking quarterback Jeff Mathews' blind side at left tackle and allowed the Big Red to set new Cornell and Ivy passing records in his two seasons in Ithaca. The Akron, N.Y., native capped his senior season being named a second-team All-America by the Associated Press and third-team All-America by The Sports Network and Beyond Sports College Network. He also earned invitations to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Juszczyk becomes the fourth player drafted under head coach Tim Murphy. He joins Matt Birk, who recently retired after winning the Super Bowl with the Ravens this past season, Isaiah Kacyvenski and Ryan Fitzpatrick as players who have heard their name called at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. Overall, he is the 20th Harvard player to get drafted and first since Fitzpatrick was picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round (250th overall) in 2005.
During his four years in Cambridge, Juszczyk established new school career records for tight end in receptions (125, sixth all-time), receiving yards (1,576, seventh all-time) and touchdown receptions (22, third all-time). The Medina, Ohio, native was a two-time All-America selection at tight end and H-Back for the Crimson and a three-time All-Ivy selection. Following his senior season, during which he led the Crimson in receptions (52), receiving yards (706) and receiving touchdowns (eight), he was invited to the Senior Bowl, where he carried the ball four times for nine yards, primarily being used as an H-Back.
Catapano is the first Tiger to be drafted since Norman in 2001 and the first for head coach Bob Surace, who has led Princeton for three seasons ans spent eight seasons as an NFL assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Catapano closed his time at Princeton with a number of honors, including All-America by the Associated Press, Beyond Sports and Phil Steele, Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous first-team All-Ivy. He was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. earlier this year.
Catapano led the League with 12 sacks and ended the regular season ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 1.2 sacks per game. He ranked second in the Ivy League in tackles for loss with 15.5, which was only a half tackle off the League lead, and ranked ninth nationally in that category. The Bayville, N.Y., native ended the season with 41 tackles, and he had five games with at least two tackles for loss, as well as five games with at least five tackles.
Shortly after the draft, the following Ivy Leaguers signed undrafted free agent deals: Columbia defensive end Josh Martin with Kansas City, Cornell wide receiver Luke Tasker with the San Diego Chargers and Penn defensive end Brandon Copeland with Baltimore. In addition, two former Ivies were invited to attend rookie mini-camps: Penn offensive lineman Joe Bonadies by the Minnesota Vikings and Princeton linebacker Andrew Starks by the Chicago Bears.
|IVY LEAGUERS IN THE NFL DRAFT (2004-Present)|
|2004||Nate Lawrie, Yale||6-181||Tampa Bay|
|Casey Cramer, Dartmouth||7-228||Tampa Bay|
|2005||Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard||7-250||St. Louis|
|2006||Kevin Boothe, Cornell||6-176||Oakland|
|2007||Zak DeOssie, Brown||4-116||New York Giants|
|2010||David Howard, Brown||7-241||Tennessee|
|2011||Shane Bannon, Yale||7-223||Kansas City|
|2013||JC Tretter, Cornell||4-122||Green Bay|
|Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard||4-130||Baltimore|
|Mike Catapano, Princeton||7-207||Kansas City|