College Football

NFL reaps rewards of Harvard's tight end factory

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Stats Perform FCS Senior Editor

(Stats Perform) - Long-time Harvard coach Tim Murphy calls being proud of his former tight ends who are excelling in the NFL the "understatement of the century."

The depth, talent and versatility among Crimson tight ends were once so high that Kyle Juszczyk and Tyler Ott, who were teammates from 2010-12, are reunited this week on the NFC Pro Bowl roster, but playing different positions.

They're only half the story of an incredible time period at Harvard. When Juszczyk moved off to the NFL as a rookie in 2013, Ott starred in the same senior class with Cameron Brate, who's now the starting tight end for the Super Bowl-bound Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A freshman tight end who didn't even gain game action that season, Anthony Firkser, took over the year after Brate and Ott graduated and has gone on to become the Tennessee Titans' starting tight end.

It was so hard for Ott to get on the field regularly during his first three seasons behind Juszczyk and Brate that he became Harvard's long snapper as a sophomore. That's where he's found his niche with the Seattle Seahawks, earning his first Pro Bowl selection this season.

Juszczyk's NFL career has taken off at fullback, and he's been selected to five straight Pro Bowls, the last four with the San Francisco 49ers.

The foursome developed under Murphy, who's not only the Crimson's head coach for the last 26 seasons, but also their tight ends and H-backs coach.

"Our tight ends in our system have to be versatile and mentally and physically tough enough to move around and play tight end, fullback, H-back, wide, slot and tight receiver," Murphy said.

"We call them the SEALS in our offense as the toughest most versatile guys on our team.

"That versatility and tremendous character has allowed them to compete at the highest level in the NFL."

This week's Pro Bowl is a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Juszczyk and Ott are Harvard's first pair of selections in the same season.

They are two of the seven former FCS players named to the Pro Bowl - the most for the lower half of Division I college football since there were nine selections following the 2010 season.


Former FCS players named to the Pro Bowl with position, NFL team, college and number of overall NFL seasons with Pro Bowl selections:


Darius Leonard, inside linebacker, Indianapolis Colts, South Carolina State, third (following 2019 and 2020 seasons)

Patrick Ricard, fullback, Baltimore Ravens, Maine, fourth (2019 and 2020)

Andre Roberts, return specialist, Buffalo Bills, The Citadel, 11th (2018, 2019 and 2020)


Terron Armstead, offensive tackle, New Orleans Saints, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, eighth (2018, 2019 and 2020)

James Bradberry, cornerback, New York Giants, Samford, fifth (2020)

Kyle Juszczyk, fullback, San Francisco 49ers, Harvard, eighth (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)

Tyler Ott, long snapper, Seattle Seahawks, Harvard, seventh (2020)

Updated January 28, 2021

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