Most people in the football world know journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is a Harvard grad, making him the most noteworthy current NFL player from an Ivy League school. But the Dolphins quarterback isn’t the only Ivy Leaguer on an NFL roster heading into the 2019 season. Several other pros played college football at Ivy League schools, making them some of the smartest in the NFL.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Harvard)
Cameron Brate is entering his sixth season with the Buccaneers after earning an economics degree at Harvard. The tight end played three seasons for the Crimson after redshirting his freshman year. While in Cambridge, Brate had 91 receptions for 1,381 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was named first-team All-Ivy League twice and second-team once.
Since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent, he has played in 66 games (23 starts) and caught 159 catches for 1,845 yards and 23 touchdowns. This season, he is expected to split starting tight-end duties with O.J. Howard.
Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco 49ers (Harvard)
Although he’s a fullback now, Kyle Juszczyk played tight end for four seasons with the Crimson. An All-Ivy League selection three times, he’s at or near the top of Harvard’s tight-end leaderboard in several categories, including receptions (125), receiving yards (1,576), and touchdown receptions (22). He was.
The Ravens chose Juszczyk in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He played with them for four seasons before going to the 49ers. Given his tight-end background in college, Juszczyk is a good pass-catching back, as catching the ball out of the backfield is his specialty; he has 160 career receptions for 1,408 yards and seven touchdowns compared to just 22 carries.
James Develin, New England Patriots (Brown)
Like Juszczyk, James Develin wasn’t a fullback in college as he played defensive line for the Brown Bears. In his four seasons in Providence, Rhode Island, he had 149 tackles (39 for a loss), 15 sacks, five fumble recoveries, and an interception. Develin was named to the second-team All-Ivy in both his sophomore and junior years.
He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft and played in the Arena Football League and United Football League before the Bengals added him to their practice squad, where he spent the entire 2011 season before being cut the following summer. The Patriots then signed Develin to the practice squad in September 2012 and he was promoted to the active roster in November.
He made his NFL debut in Week 15 of that season. The 31-year-old has been with the Patriots since then and has played in a total of 81 games (29 starts) with 31 receptions for 222 yards. He has just 13 career rushes for 23 yards, but he has scored a touchdown on five of those carries.
Zak DeOssie, New York Giants (Brown)
Other than Fitzpatrick, Zak DeOssie is the longest-tenured active Ivy League alum in the NFL. The long snapper is entering his 13th season, all with the Giants. Prior to that, DeOssie played in 36 games (29 starts) with Brown, racking up 315 tackles (36.5 for a loss), 10.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and four interceptions.
Those college numbers earned DeOssie a fourth-round selection in the 2007 draft as well as a lengthy NFL career. The 35-year-old has played in 188 games but has never started a contest. He has 33 tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
JC Tretter, Cleveland Browns (Cornell)
The lone Cornell alum currently in the NFL, JC Tretter is entering his sixth season in the league and third season with the Browns. At Cornell, he was a tight end for his first two seasons before switching to offensive tackle for his final two seasons.
After the position change, Tretter was credited with significantly improved quarterback protection. The 28-year-old was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection following his senior campaign. The Packers drafted him in the fourth round in 2013, and he played center for them for three seasons before signing with the Browns.