MOBILE, Ala. -- After playing four years of football and earning an education in economics at Harvard University, Medina native and Cloverleaf High School graduate Kyle Juszczyk has learned to embrace a challenge.
At the 2013 Senior Bowl, Juszczyk’s biggest challenge comes in the form of playing against a new level of competition. Most of the players at the Senior Bowl are from the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA, while Juszczyk competed in the Football Championship Subdivision.
“This is an amazing experience,” Juszczyk said. “It’s a little new for me going up against these big-time D-I guys, but it’s a great opportunity. I’m really just trying to make the most of it.
“The first thing I noticed was the way people finished here. The plays are a lot longer. They literally play to the whistle and beyond.”
Juszczyk knows a little something about playing to the whistle. During his career at Harvard, he set school records for receptions (125), receiving yards (1,576), and touchdowns (22) by a tight end. He ranks in the top 10 all-time in each of those categories. As a senior, Juszczyk gained 706 yards and scored eight touchdowns on 52 receptions.
Juszczyk twice earned All-American honors as a tight end/H-back and was a three-time All Ivy League selection. He was a first-team All-American by three different outlets in 2012, including the American Football Coaches Association, which names only one All-American team per NCAA and NAIA division.
Even with all of the accolades he received at Harvard, Juszczyk came into Senior Bowl week ready to prove “that my skill set fits the NFL style.”
“I can come in and help an NFL offense,” Juszczyk said.
In addition to proving his value to NFL coaches and scouts, Juszczyk and the other Senior Bowl participants face a unique challenge of learning an NFL system in five days before playing in Saturday’s Senior Bowl. However, Juszczyk feels he can handle the challenge because of the workload he carried at Harvard.
“I felt like I’ve been able to pick up this playbook fairly easily, just based on what we had learned in our offense at Harvard,” Juszczyk said. “I feel like it was somewhat complex and it’s helped me to grasp this pretty easily.
“Going to school at Harvard and playing football, you really have to learn how to manage your time. That’s always the biggest thing we stress, managing your time because you’re on a full-time schedule. You’ve got a lot of classes and you’ve got just as much practice as Ohio State, Georgia. There’s a lot on your plate and I feel that’s definitely helped me this week because we’re busy all the time. We’ve got meetings; we’ve got practice; we’ve got media stuff. It’s non-stop.”