A Harvard man can be an NFL man

Apr 25, 2016 - 2:04 PM (STATS) - Harvard is usually occupied with trying to earn the No. 1 ranking among U.S. colleges and universities.

But the numbers usually add up for Harvard's football team as well. At this time of the year, the Crimson are often readying for some of their players to be taken in the NFL draft.

An Ivy League champion each of the past three seasons, Harvard had six former players on NFL rosters last season, none more in the spotlight than New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. No other Ivy school had more than two former players on rosters.

Veteran Crimson coach Tim Murphy has had 25 players get drafted or sign professional contracts.

The mix of athletics and academics, said James Frazier, director of strength and conditioning, "makes it more competitive for us to be able to go out and get players, kids like Zack (Hodges) and Nick (Easton, both 2014 FCS All-Americans playing in the NFL) and, obviously, Cole Toner and Ben Braunecker and those guys to come to a school like Harvard when a lot of those guys have scholarship opportunities at some of the bigger schools."

This week, the Crimson are expecting to have two or three players from last year's 9-1 squad selected in the three-day draft, most likely on the final day Saturday - Toner, an offensive tackle, and Braunecker, a tight end, with center Anthony Fabiano another possibility.

The 6-foot-6, 306-pound Toner dominated Ivy competition throughout his career, starting all but the first four games of his freshman season. He is aggressive in run blocking and times his moves well in pass protection. He was among 12 FCS players to participate in Senior Bowl week.

Braunecker, 6-3, 250, is generally considered the top prospect from a good group of FCS tight ends. He is athletic in gaining space on routes, but also not afraid to get physical as a blocker.

Fabiano, 6-5, 290, prides himself on having a "nasty, tough" side to his playing style, which is evident in his run blocking. He appears suited for a zone blocking system.

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