Sherando’s McPartland prepped for Harvard experience

Brogan McPartland

Sherando High School graduate Brogan McPartland’s plan had long been to attend a prestigious university with high academic standards. When the opportunity arose for him to attend Harvard University while also continuing his football career following his high school graduation in 2015, it was the perfect scenario.

McPartland, a standout defensive end who tallied 69 tackles (40 for loss) and a school-record 19.5 sacks for Sherando in 2014, gave the Harvard coaching staff his verbal commitment in January 2015. Feeling that he needed more time to prepare for college, however, McPartland put his enrollment at Harvard on hold just a few months later.

Earlier this week, Harvard announced McPartland is one of 26 student-athletes to accept offers of admission to play football for the Crimson during the 2016-17 academic year.

McPartland said Friday he’d decided to delay his college career for “many reasons,” primarily to explore some interests that he hadn’t had a chance to pursue during high school.

“With the way the education system is … you don’t always have the opportunity to pursue exactly what you want,” McPartland said. “I’m not saying there isn’t any sort of leeway, but I would say the average student doesn’t have too much agency in determining their course load. I mean, for the most part you take the same old history, math, things like that. So it’s kind of hard to pursue a passion, where it seems like kind of the entirety of high school is more of a general education than any sort of specialization. There were classes that I wanted to take and interests that I wanted to pursue that I didn’t get the opportunity to. I didn’t want to go to college feeling like I’d missed out on something and not feeling totally prepared.”

McPartland turned his focus to computer science, a field he thinks will be beneficial to him once he arrives at Harvard, and a field he had very little background in coming out of Sherando. Over the last year McPartland, who is “fairly certain” he wants to study government, economics or computer science at Harvard, has been interning as a mobile iOS developer for Valley Health.

He’s remained focused on his football career too.

When McPartland’s not working full time at Valley Health or trying to “stay in touch” with various educational subjects, or reading – which he does plenty of – he’s training to keep his body in shape for the grind of a Division I college football season.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound McPartland said he’s been working with a personal trainer at Body Renew Fitness and Family Sports Center in Winchester, where he performs workouts emphasizing speed, agility and, most importantly, explosiveness.

When asked if he’s concerned about feeling some rust when he hits the football field with the Crimson when he reports in August, McPartland responded, “No, not at all.”

“I’m definitely the most athletic I’ve ever been and also physically the strongest I’ve ever been,” said McPartland, a first team all-Group 4A, Region 4A North and Conference 21 selection and the Northwestern District Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.

McPartland added that Harvard head coach Tim Murphy and his staff have been “very supportive” of his decision to push his enrollment back a year.

“They’ve given me the workout program they do but aside from that they’ve put a lot of faith in me to stay in shape, stay strong, things of that nature,” McPartland said. “Come August I hope to prove that they were right in doing that and vindicate all of the faith that they’ve put into me.”

Harvard won its third straight Ivy League championship in 2015, as the Crimson finished with a 9-1 record, including a 6-1 mark in league play.

McPartland, who also played tight end for Sherando, said he expects to be used on the defensive side of the ball with the Crimson, either as a defensive lineman or outside linebacker, but he didn’t rule out a possible role on offense.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com