HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Harvard.
[divider]MORE: Compare Any Two FCS Players or Any Two FCS Teams[divider]
FCS TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEW: The countdown
FCS PRESEASON TOP 25: The poll
FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: The teams
Harvard (5-5 IN 2017)
Ivy League (Harvard was T-5th in 2017)
COACH: Tim Murphy – 25th season (168-71)
2017 OFFENSE: 22.0 ppg. (70th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 20.9 ppg (29th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: The 2017 season was an up-and-down one for Harvard. On the one hand, it held on to score thrilling wins over Columbia and Dartmouth, both of whom finished in the top three of the conference; on the other hand, the Ivy League's most consistent program of the 21st century lost more than three games for the first time since 2000. Harvard routinely brings in strong recruiting classes, so the Crimson should be more than capable of proving 2017 was simply an outlier year. Then again, the Ivy League looks like it could have historically great depth this fall, so the they'll likely need more from now-sophomore QB Jake Smith and a good offensive line. Harvard should be capable, but the wins won't come easily.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Harvard threatens to steal the Ivy League from a well-established rival. The Crimson won't lack for good competition, with early season games against Pioneer champion San Diego and an improved Rhode Island team that beat them last fall. But when it comes to actual conference games, Harvard has a good draw through league play, getting both Princeton and Columbia in Cambridge. It shouldn't be considered the conference favorite, but with a couple of breaks, Harvard could retake its position atop the Ivy League, courtesy of a winner-take-all showdown with Yale, played at Fenway Park, in the final week of the regular season.
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BEST FCS PLAYER BY NUMBER: We count down, No. 99 through No. 1[divider]
TOP RETURNEE: RB Charlie Booker III (First-Team All-Ivy, 733 rushing yards & 6 TD's).
THE NEXT FIVE: DL Stone Hart (Second-Team All-Ivy, 5 Sacks); LB Charlie Walker (50 Tackles, 4 TFL's, 2 INT's); AP Justice Shelton-Mosley (First-Team Ivy League Returner, HM Ivy League Receiver); OL Tim O'Brien (17 Starts); DL DJ Bailey (7.5 TFL's).
TOP NEWCOMER: QB Pat Holly (Record-setting, five-year player at The Hun School).
DID YOU KNOW?: Though Harvard is nearly 400 years old, its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was only just founded in 2007.
THE QUOTE: "We are excited to welcome Jon and his family back to Harvard. He is a perceptive and relentless recruiter, an outstanding teacher and knows Harvard and the Ivy League from the inside and out." -Head Coach Tim Murphy, on Jon Poppe leaving Columbia to rejoin Harvard's coaching staff.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #GoCrimson
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @HarvardFootball
ANOTHER @HarvardFootball alum crushing it in the @NFL! & in LIFE! HBD Mr. Brate! #DegreeMatters #GoCrimson https://t.co/cNUsO58erz
— Jonathan Poppe (@Coach_Poppe) July 3, 2018
LISTEN: HERO Sports' Brian McLaughlin talks FCS Football with Anthony Nachreiner on KGEZ
MORE IVY LEAGUE PREVIEWS: Brown | Columbia | Cornell | Dartmouth