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32 freshman athletes will join the Dartmouth football team
The Big Green football team will welcome 32 new players to the squad for the 2012 season.
The recruits range in weight by nearly 150 pounds and in height by 10 inches, and the freshmen will fill voids left by graduates to cover the array of positions on the team.
Hailing from 17 different states and Washington, D.C., six of the incoming players will fly in from Florida and four will make the journey north from Texas, continuing the trend of Big Green football players that call the two states home.
Although the majority of the recruits will travel a considerable distance from home to play at Dartmouth, one incoming freshman is a Hanover native.
The recruiting process can vary, but players generally contact coaches and then either send out game films or invite coaches to watch their high school games. If the coach is interested, players can often visit the school.
“I am fortunate enough to come from an area in Southern California that traditionally sends scholar athletes to Ivy Leagues,” captain Bronson Green ’14 said. “I sent videos out around the country, and while Dartmouth was heading by on a normal visit they make every season, I started talking to the coaches in the middle of my senior year.”
Captain Garrett Waggoner ’13 said that the “special atmosphere” of Dartmouth made his final choice of schools easier.
“I visited several schools but in the end I fell in love on my visit to Dartmouth even though it was -20 degrees out,” Waggoner said.
Green said he believes that the coaching staff looks for a strong combination of football skill and intelligence when selecting recruits.
Academically, the Ivy League holds its student-athletes to a minimum standard called the Academic Index that is a sliding scale of high school GPA, transcript, and SAT or ACT scores.
“Selecting recruits is position and need-dependent, but most importantly I think the coaches look for people who are good citizens and good football players,” Green said. “Leadership qualities and skills in the classroom will transfer to the field. They look for both intelligence and passion for the game.”
Captain Pat Lahey ’13 said that freshman players typically spend their first year on the team learning the ropes of college football.
“It is pretty irregular for a freshman to start,” he said. “I would say five to 10 [freshmen] have started in the last four years. There were a lot in the [Class of 2012] who were very talented but usually one to two will start if they are standouts and a handful more will contribute early on.”
Freshmen have a lot to learn before suiting up and playing in a varsity game at Memorial Field.
To help smooth the transition, the junior varsity team helps facilitate the shift from high school to college-level football, allowing the younger players the chance to see minutes in a less competitive college setting.
“There is a big adjustment from high school to college football, especially in the physical nature of the game, and being older helps,” Lahey said. “While the best players will play in the varsity games no matter what year they are, by and large the younger guys who don’t play at all on Saturday will play in the JV game.”
As a senior and a captain, Lahey acknowledged that there is a responsibility to be a positive role model for the younger players on the team.
“The many position-specific coaches on the staff have various goals, but generally the upperclassmen set the [team’s] pace, dictate what is important, demonstrate the practice style and how to conduct business on game day,” Lahey said. “It is a constant expectation that we mentor the younger guys and put them in the best place to succeed. We hope they mimic our good habits.”
The Big Green will start preseason training in late August to prepare for its home opener on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. against Butler University. The game is one of two home night games planned for the 2012 season.
The wealth of knowledge and resources that the coaches and upperclassmen provide to the incoming class will ensure that the 32 new football players have a successful transition to their new roles as Big Green student-athletes this fall, players said.
“The College does a great job of preparing the freshmen and giving them a feel for Dartmouth before classes start,” Green said. “They will be introduced to the school, academic resources and the library.”
By Maddie Garcia, The Dartmouth