Football Seniors Attend Pro Day at BC

On Wednesday, four Harvard seniors began a job search a little different from that of their classmates. Football players Kevin Murphy, Collier Winters, Josue Ortiz, and former captain Alex Gedeon, participated in an NFL Pro Day at Boston College.

The quartet joined 28 other prospects with ties to the state of Massachusetts working out inside BC’s Alumni Stadium bubble in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Evaluating the group was a collection of NFL scouts and coaches from 27 NFL teams, who put the players through a battery of physical and mental tests.

The exercise program performed by the players consisted of bench press, vertical jump, running tests, an intelligence examination, and various individual positional workouts.

Given the dearth of national exposure for most FCS football programs, the opportunity for a Harvard player to display his talents in front of so many representatives of professional teams might happen only once or twice in a career.

“When you know you have a chance to show what you’ve got, you just want to do the best you possibly can,” Murphy said. “Fractions of seconds and inches can make or break you.”

ESPN’s NFL DraftTracker projects none of Harvard’s graduating players to be selected in this April’s NFL Draft, though Murphy is listed on the website as a free agent prospect and considered “worthy of a shot to compete during training camp.”

But the group is certainly not without accolades; all four earned first- or second-team All-Ivy honors, and three were honored as All-New England selections.

“Harvard’s program has made us into the athletes and hard workers we are today,” Murphy said. “I feel like that definitely showed [Wednesday].”

Last year, the Crimson sent five players to BC’s Pro Day. Of that group, only safety Collin Zych and offensive lineman Brent Osborne signed contracts with NFL teams—with the Cowboys and Seahawks, respectively—though neither made the final 53-man roster. Classmate Marco Iannuzzi currently plays for the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League.

Though these accomplishments might not appear as glamorous as some athletes’ professional aspirations, Murphy recognized just how scarce such chances are.

“If I have the opportunity to play anywhere, I’d be so happy,” Murphy said. “Going in, you’re going to be at the bottom of the food chain. The same thing happened in college—you show up as a freshman and have to earn respect.”

At present, Harvard has two alumni on NFL rosters: the Buffalo Bills’ Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens.

“The sophistication of professional scouting makes it so [scouts] don’t care where you come from,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “Once you’ve got some players from your school established in the NFL, there’s no question it gives them the motivation to look at players you’ve recommended.”

Despite his players’ unlikely odds of securing an NFL roster spot, Tim Murphy subscribes to an old maxim when dispensing career advice: you never know until you try.

“The first thing I say to [players] if I think they’re legitimate pro prospects is to go for it,” Tim Murphy said. “You get the rest of your life to work. Like anything else, you should follow your dream.”

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