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Harvard football takes center stage as 2022 season approaches | Sports

After narrowly missing out on the Ivy League title in an 8-2 campaign in 2021, Harvard football’s season of redemption will soon begin. With just over a month to go, Crimson will be back on the field on September 16 to face the Merrimacks at Harvard’s stadium. Expectations for next season are very high. In the 2022 Ivy League football preseason his media poll saw Harvard tied with Dartmouth on 108 points and tabbed to win the conference. Additionally, 12 Crimson athletes were named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Ivy Team to set the pace for the conference.

“The biggest thing for us is knowing what’s in the locker room and maintaining our standards of excellence,” said preseason Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year junior running back Aidan Borge. “It’s something we hold on to all year round, so I’m hoping to practice in the winter and spring before there’s a vote on who I think will be the best team in the Ivy League or something like that.” I like it so that we can play like that.

In 2022, Harvard can expect significant contributions from athletes of all classes. The senior class includes wide receiver Kim Wimberley, who led the team with four touchdowns for 453 yards and 44 catches, and 50 tackles and two interceptions in the All-Ivy First Team campaign. It includes established stars like linebacker Jack McGowan.In addition to Borge’s accolades, junior defensive back Alex Washington was named to the Second Team FCS Preseason All-America. Defensive Tall His tackle Griffith was honored on his list of The Athletic’s annual college football freaks as well as being the only sophomore on his team in the preseason he was All-His Ivy First. rice field. Crimson also welcomes his freshman in his 25-strong class led by wide receiver Cooper his Barkate. 247Sports ranked the 6-foot Barkate as his 31st best California recruit in his high school class. After his stellar career at Mater Dei, he led the team to a national title in his senior season.

These athletes either graduated and transferred to other Division I schools or have to replace a strong class of seniors trying to play professionally. One of his most valuable losses among the transfer students was defensive lineman Jacob Sykes. He led the team with seven sacks on his way to the All-Ivy First selection for his team and is a good fit for UCLA this season. The offense’s most important departure was running back Aaron Shampklin, the ninth Harvard player to amass 2,000 career rushing yards before signing with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. The Crimson also lost defensive anchor and 2021 captain and linebacker Jordan Hill. Jordan Hill overtook current defensive his coordinator Scott Larkey ’99 in the final game to place him fourth on his list of the school’s all-time greatest tackles. His two-time All-Ivy first-team selection, he led the team in tackles in his three of his four seasons, and now with the Cowboys of Shampklin, he is NFC East rival Fila. Delphia He conducts his camp training with the Eagles.

Junior quarterback Charlie Dean prepares a pass in a 49-17 victory over Brown on Sept. 24, 2021. Angela Della Cruz

“[Hill] Head coach Tim Murphy, who will be entering his 29th campaign with Cambridge as the most winning coach in Ivy League history, said: “You don’t just replace Jordan Hills in the world, but when you look at our defense as a whole, we’re really bullish on defense.”

Responsibility for replacing Hill’s contributions in the locker room falls on the shoulders of senior defensive lineman Truman Jones, who was named Harvard Football’s 148th captain last fall. led a talented defensive unit with top 10 marks nationally in the NBA (64.6 yards per game, 1st), 3rd highest down conversion rate (28.2%, 6th), 4th highest down conversion rate (25%, 2nd). th) was achieved. , first downs allowed (174, 6th), interceptions (17, tied for 8th), red zone defense (69.2%, 8th), scoring defense (14.9 points per game, 5th), team pass efficiency defense (102.46) 2021 Sacks (38, 2nd), Tackles for Loss (80, tied for 5th), Turnover Margin (11, 2nd).

In addition to Jones, the defensive line is led by Griffiths, who was the FCS Freshman All-America second teamer last season, and junior defensive lineman Nate Leskoveck, who finished second on the team in 2021 with 6.5 sacks. Despite losing Hill, Larkie’s linebacker corps still boasts plenty of talent led by McGowan, senior Jake Brown and sophomore Matt Hudson. The latter two saw limited action in 2021, but seem poised to break out this season, with the secondary returning his three of the previous season’s strong starters . Washington scored his return to his glorious sophomore campaign and his two-game long interception early last season to strengthen his defensive back Khalil his Dorsey. and is lined up opposite him. Senior safety James Herring was the special teams ace for most of his sophomore season before breaking out in 2021 with 3 interceptions and 69 tackles, finishing second on the team. With Washington, Dorsey and Herring teaming up, the Crimson contributed six pass breaks and three interceptions in 2021 before committing to play their final season at Samford. It is in a great position to replace the .

“I think it really comes down to mentality,” Jones said when asked about the keys to building a strong 2021 campaign for the defense. “We keep the defense simple to play fast, but make the offense less tense, more varied and more complex to add variation. Between the linebacker and his lineman defensively, we have great communication. We’re going and I think we’ll always be on the same page to figure out when we can playoff each other.”

Junior running back Aidan Borge won 34-31 over Yale on November 20, 2021. Borge, who tallied 602 yards and his eight touchdowns last season, is set to take over his feature back role in 2022.

Junior running back Aidan Borge won 34-31 over Yale on November 20, 2021. Borge, who tallied 602 yards and his eight touchdowns last season, is set to take over his feature back role in 2022. Truong L. Nguyen

After an illustrious 2021 season, the offense, led by a talented running back trio of Shampklin, Borge and sophomore Sonnento, has a roster of rookies, returning stars hoping to do even better in bigger roles this season. , enhanced by familiar names. Last season, Murphy set his sights on three different signal callers, two of which he will return for in 2022. Junior Charlie Dean appeared in his three games at the start of his 2021 season, but was injured against Princeton, leaving senior Luke his Emge to play in his last three games. Contests. Whether Dean or Emge end up lining up under center on Sept. 16, he has a wide range of targets to choose from… premature freshman campaign. Additionally, Harvard has young talents like Barkate and Ledger his Hutch on its roster.

Crimson has a history of producing talented tight ends, including alumni Kyle Juszczyk ’13, the highest-paid fullback in NFL history, and Cameron Blate ’14, who won the Super Bowl title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. there is. Junior Haven Montefalco enjoyed a strong breakout season in 2021, and sophomore Tyler Neville made a clutch catch to start his winning drive against Yale on November 20. The we. Playing at the University of North Carolina this season, he’s an All-Ivy First Teamer and Alec Bank, who is projected to earn his First Team honors in the conference. But for the offensive unit of his coordinator Mickey Fain, it all starts with Borge. Borge completed 115 carries for 602 yards and eight touchdowns last season as a complement to Shampklin.

“We have pieces all over the place. It’s not just the running backs, but the offensive line, quarterbacks and wide receivers that matter,” Borge explained. “We’re all going to do better. More workload and more carries means I have to work harder in the offseason and expect more of myself in the season.” Having said that, our entire offense will expect more from us this entire season.”

Equally valuable to Harvard’s hopes of winning its 18th Ivy League title are special teams units. Crimson lost All-Ivy his First-Team punter Jon Sott to Notre Dame for the second time, but 2021 First-Team winner Jonah will bring his Ripel back. After blocking three kicks in 2019, Hering will continue to lead Harvard’s special teams this season as he blocked two more kicks in 2021.

The Merrimack Contest is the first of three Friday night games Harvard will play this year, more than any Ivy League school, and will see Crimson’s brightest and brightest football players shine again a month later. let go. After welcoming the Warriors, Crimson traveled to face Brown on his Sept. 24, Hawley returned for a meeting with his cross on Oct. 1, and Ithaca, N.Y. on Oct. 7. fight Cornell under the lights of The Bisons, who lost him 62-17 in 2019, want to be ready for this rematch.

Next, Princeton, one of 2022’s most coveted matchups, travels to Cambridge for its Friday night contest on 21st October. Harvard then seeks revenge against Big Green on his October 29 in Hanover, New Hampshire, and welcomes Columbia in November. Finally, on 19 November, the Crimson will close out the season with the 138th edition of the game, the first matchup between Harvard and Yale at Cambridge. 2016. The clash with the Bulldogs will be the Crimson’s third nationally televised game of the season, following the Cornell-Princeton game. Literally or figuratively, Harvard promises to put him in the limelight in 2022 more than any other Ivy League team.

“It’s great to have [The Game] at home,” said Murphy. “All the tickets for Harvard side he sold out in 3 days so I can understand Harvard he wants to go back to the stadium and watch Harvard play against Yale.

– Staff Writer Griffin Wong can be reached at griffin.wong@thecrimson.com.

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