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Sports Profile

By Jonathan J. Ledecky

If the powers that be ever decided to reincarnate the old "Jack Armstrong: The All-American Boy" series, Harvard freshman football halfback sensation Paul Connors would be a natural for the title role.

"He may just be the best freshman running back we've ever had here at Harvard," said an admiring Coach Loyal Park after Connor's latest heroics in a recent 13-10 win over Brown.

A Natural

"Paul has great running instinct, excellent speed and super acceleration," the veteran mentor continued. "He's a natural leader and a great competitor; in fact, anything positive you could say about him is true. Connors is just an outstanding person," Park commented.

Connor's three game statistics reinforce Park's glowing accolades. The burly 5-ft., 10-in., 185 pounder from nearby Hanover has amassed 431 yds. on 71 carries (a hefty 6.1 yd. average), nabbed six passes for 102 yds., and is the team leader in points scored with 32.

"Well, it just might as well have been Paul Connors against Brown out there," freshman quarterback Haywood Miller commented. "He's simply amazing out there--he runs as fast sideways as he runs forward. Paul's cuts on the field are truly unbelievable."

Connors scored both touchdowns in the Brown triumph, the first coming on a spine-tingling 85-yd. punt return. "I know it sounds corny," said Miller, "but I'll never forget that look of determination on Paul's face when he went out there because it was the first time he had gotten a chance to run back a punt."

Football excellence and Paul Connors have always been synoynmous. Connors played on four straight Mass. Division IV "Super Bowl" champions, a Hanover High squad that didn't lose a game in Connor's entire career as an All-State halfback.

His single season rushing record of 1790 yds. earned the Hanover captain the "Boston Globe Schoolboy Player of the Year" award last season. Add that to a ledger which included 320 career points (fifth highest total in Mass. schoolboy history)) and you begin to understand why recruiters from around the nation tried to knock his front door down.

Notre Dame and Penn State were among the suitors, and Paul recalls the trip to Duke where "it was like everything you hear about recruiting. You know, a hotel room, the offer of a girl for the weekend." But then the good looking irishman blushed and in the process reaffirmed his All-Americanism--"I turned her down."

He also let several full scholarship offers go by the wayside to attend Harvard. "My friends tell me I'm nuts playing in front of 20 people here at the freshman games when I could possibly be playing in front of 100,000 in the Big Ten," Connors says, "but it doesn't really bother me--I just like to play."

That has been a problem thus far for the Harvard freshmen, which have had two games (Tufts and Boston College junior varsities) canceled, by the opposition. Although pleased with his progress despite the lack of competition, Connors would have preferred a crack at making the varsity. "They let the hockey players play as freshmen, and I think we should have been able to as well," he asserts.

Connors, however, has no regrets about his decision to attend the Big H. "I figure if I'm good enough at Harvard in the future, people will hear about me. Next year is just like another freshman year--I'll have to establish myself all over again," he claims. "But I'll be prepared."

Spoken like a true All-American.

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