Kyle Juszczyk (Courtesy of Harvard Athletics)
With the Ravens’ Matt Birk’s retirement following the 2012 campaign the typically thin ranks of Harvard graduates in the NFL were cut in half, leaving only quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick representing the Crimson in the league. Baltimore quickly added a Harvard member back to their roster and the NFL when they drafted fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round this spring. Juszczyk is the first Harvard player drafted since Fitzpatrick went to the Rams in the seventh round in 2005.
With the return of Vonta Leach, Juszczyk drops to number two on the Ravens’ depth chart at fullback. While at Harvard, he played two years at tight end before switching to the H-back spot, a role he is more likely to fill than that of a traditional fullback for the Ravens.
The H-back position is most often akin to a tight end lined up a step back from scrimmage, typically tight to the tight end on the strong side, and is more frequently a component of college playbooks than those of the NFL. Juszczyk’s performance in preseason, both blocking and receiving, will impact how often he lines up at fullback, as an H-back, or walks up to scrimmage as a tight end. The Ravens currently list seven on their tight end depth chart, so the likelihood of the last option is limited.
“Kyle’s greatest attributes are his competitiveness and versatility. He was arguably the toughest kid in the Ivy League and had the athleticism and versatility to play multiple positions,” said Harvard coach Tim Murphy. “As our H-Back we lined him up at wide receiver, tight end, slot and fullback and he handled them all effortlessly.”
The New York Cosmos are back in play after a nearly three decade absence. They’re playing in the re-formed North American Soccer League (NASL), a second division league behind Major League Soccer (MLS). Although no native Marylanders on the roster, the Cosmos do include defender Korey Veeder, 21, who made his professional debut in 2010 for Crystal Palace Baltimore and has started all three games for New York.
The Cosmos are 1-1-1 after three games. The NASL has no Mid-Atlantic entry at present; a re-branded version of the defunct Crystal Palace Baltimore franchise had originally targeted entry in the NASL in 2012, but those plans have not materialized. The current incarnation of the Cosmos plays at Long Island’s Hofstra University.
Despite an injury shortening Maryland Terps’ centerfielder Charlie White’s season with the Eau Claire Express, the rising junior still had a standout season. The lefty finished batting at a .304 clip, stole 25 bases, and was named to the Northwood League’s All-Star game.
Tom Flynn has contributed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He compiled the photo history, Baseball in Baltimore, in 2008 and has written one novel, Venable Park. Check out Tom’s journal at boxerjournal.com