Texas is the state most synonymous with high school football in this country. The Ivy League, meanwhile, is home to America’s most prestigious academic universities. Those schools also have a bit of football history, too, which is why the matching of Texas and the elite schools of the northeastern corner of the United States makes so much sense.
The Dallas Morning News digs into the fascinating topic. According to the Morning News, 64 players from Texas were on Ivy League rosters last year, many having passed up major FBS offers to go to the FCS Ivy League. Three Dallas-area players are already pledged to play in the conference next year, including Allen quarterback Mitchell Jonke (Brown), Sunnyvale receiver Cash Goodhart (Princeton) and Frisco Liberty tight end Griffin Collins (Cornell).
The enticement for prospective football players of the Ivy League becomes more complicated when considering that rules prohibit the offering of athletic scholarships. Also, those that want to play at an Ivy League university must meet the academic standard of the school, not just the NCAA’s minimum requirements.
“When I was head coach at the University of Maine or the head coach at the University of Cincinnati, in essence, you’re the dean of admissions and the dean of financial aid,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy told the Morning News. “‘Hey you’ve got a scholarship, and you’re in.’ Obviously that’s not the way it works in the Ivy League.”
Rather than scholarships, need-based financial aid is available. Murphy said that the vast majority of his players get aid of some kind and at least a third of the team is getting the full package worth roughly $65,000.
Jonke said he talked with Baylor, SMU, Colgate and Holy Cross in addition to Ivy League schools. Instead of scholarship offers, Jonke received “likely” letters from Ivy League schools informing him he essentially had a spot at the school if he wanted it.
“They really have to sell you on the whole deal, how it might be four years at the college but it’s a 40-year investment for your future,” Jonke told the Morning News.
The league’s Rookie of the Year this past fall was Dartmouth freshman Hunter Hagdorn, a wide receiver and return specialist out of Manvel (Texas). A two-star recruit according to the 247 Sports Composite, Hagdorn was offered scholarships by Colorado State and Illinois as well as Harvard and Lamar before heading to the school in Hanover, N.H., to play for the Big Green.
Hagdorn was also named Second-Team All-Ivy League, as were fellow Lone Star State residents Luke Hutton, a Harvard junior linebacker, and Brock Kenyon, a Columbia senior defensive back. Both Hutton and Kenyon went to Austin’s Lake Travis. Harvard sophomore wide receiver Adam Scott, from Denton Guyer, and Dartmouth senior defensive end Brandon Cooper from South Grand Prairie were Ivy League honorable mentions.
Remember that one-handed catch from San Angelo Central’s Adam West? West is a Harvard commit. He’ll add to the Crimson’s Ivy League-high 16 players from Texas. Columbia is just behind with 13 on their roster.
Read the complete story from the Dallas Morning News here.