Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 Opponent Previews: Harvard

Justice Shelton-Mosley schools half of the Yale defense 

Writing the season preview for Harvard always seems like a bit of a waste of time. The Crimson have been the most consistently dominant team in the Ivies for 20 years now, and it’s probably just safer and easier to assume Harvard will go 10-0 or 9-1 and just call it a day. That’s true despite the unusually large number of All Ivy players from last season who have graduated.

But for the sake of fan education, I will simply lay out the most crucial things to know about the Crimson in bullet point form:

-Sophomore WR Justice Shelton is probably the best talented player the Ivies have seen in a long while. I have no doubt he is NFL-bound. He was so dominant at his position as a freshmen last year, I even think he might become the first Ivy player to come out early and make himself eligible for the NFL draft. He’s that good. Watch him.

-The starting QB will be Joe Viviano, unless his incredible bad luck regarding injuries continues. Head Coach Tim Murphy says the job is up for grabs, but Viviano is a super talent who’s more than earned his shot.

-Once again, Harvard has one of the easier schedules in the Ivies, the one exception being having to travel to Penn to play their toughest opponent of 2016. The Crimson couldn’t close the deal at home against Penn last year and that cost them an undefeated season. It won’t be easier at Franklin Field. Traveling to Princeton and Dartmouth may be slightly daunting considering how surprising those two teams are this year.

-Because of all the stars who graduated, Harvard will probably flood the news with lots of “breakout” players who dominate the Ivy stat boards. The Crimson’s Harvard-name-powered recruiting advantage is just that good. Don’t underestimate it.

What a Comeback

And speaking of Harvard, a former Harvard football player who had to leave the team to fight cancer, is coming back to college football at age 24 for one more year… to play for Michigan! That’s the incredible story ofMichael Hirsch, told today on the Harvard website. 

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