Falcons’ Foyesade Oluokun out to validate Ivy Leaguers in NFL

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Foyesade Oluokun has a little edginess in his tone and it’s not because folks often mispronounce his name.

The Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker from Yale knows there’s an undesirable label that follows him into the NFL; one that says Ivy League players are highly intelligent but not necessarily high-caliber athletes.authentic nfl jerseys for cheap

“Once they see you in the Ivy League, they shut off their brains like, ‘These are not athletes like other schools are used to playing.’ That’s the stigma,” Oluokun said. “I don’t like it, personally, because I think there are a lot of athletes in the Ivy League. And long as we get our opportunity, is what it comes down to in the end. Yes, you kind of have to work harder for it. But hopefully, people are waking up to us.”

Oluokun, a sixth-round draft pick, joined fifth-round wide receiver Justin Watson of Penn — drafted by Tampa Bay — as the only Ivy League players selected in this year’s draft. It marked the 46th time multiple Ivy Leaguers have been drafted but the first time since 2013, when the trio of JC Tretter (Cornell), Kyle Juszczyk (Harvard) and Mike Catapano (Princeton) were selected by Green Bay, Baltimore and Kansas City, respectively. Twelve former Ivy League players were on active NFL rosters last season with two of them, fullbacks Juszczyk of the San Francisco 49ers and James Develin of the New England Patriots, earning Pro Bowl status.246

The Buccaneers now have three Ivy League offensive players on their roster, as Watson joins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and tight end Cameron Brate, both of Harvard. Fitzpatrick initially was a seventh-round pick of the Rams in 2005.

“There were scouts that came through, but I think the difficult thing in the Ivy League was our schedule was basically seven Ivy League opponents and some Patriot League opponents, so there aren’t a lot of NFL prospects on the field,” Fitzpatrick said. “Obviously in the SEC or a big-time conference, you are going to have people there watching other people and they can a glimpse of you.

“So the difficult thing, I think, was essentially there was me and maybe one or two other guys that were even on the NFL’s radar at that point.”nfl jerseys for cheap authentic

Ivy League schools have produced a pair of Pro Football Hall of Famers in former Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman from Columbia and former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker/guard Chuck Bednarik from Penn. And 10 Ivy League players have made the Pro Bowl in NFL history, including Luckman and Bednarik.

Despite those success stories, skepticism remains when analyzing the modern day Ivy League talent. One NFL executive said you never know what you’re getting from an Ivy League player because “they are so underdeveloped.”