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GWINNETT GRADS: Chapple, Harvard on a roll

Harvard football defeated Cornell, 45-13, at Harvard STadium on October 6, 2012 before 415 yards of offense from senior QB Coton Chapple, who started the game 12-of-12 before settling for 24 of 36 for three touchdowns.

Harvard football defeated Cornell, 45-13, at Harvard STadium on October 6, 2012 before 415 yards of offense from senior QB Coton Chapple, who started the game 12-of-12 before settling for 24 of 36 for three touchdowns.

Colton Chapple remembers his first recruiting letter and accompanying questionnaire from Harvard.

He didn't know much about the school's football team, other than fellow Greater Atlanta Christian product Eric Schultz was a linebacker there. His knowledge of Ivy League football was about the same.

"I didn't even know if Harvard was good at football," Chapple said. "Then it was, wow, they've got this Coach (Tim) Murphy who's been there 16 years and has this remarkable statistic that every four-year player of his has graduated with a championship (in the Ivy League)."

Chapple is well aware of the Harvard tradition these days. He's right in the middle of it as the Crimson's senior starting quarterback.

He won his first Ivy League title last season and is on track for another this season.

"We pride ourselves in keeping (Murphy's title tradition) going," Chapple said.

Harvard is on an impressive run with Chapple at quarterback, taking a 14-game winning streak, the longest in NCAA Division I football, into today's game at Princeton. The game, on ESPN3, features a pair of teams that are 2-0 in the Ivy League, tied with Penn for first place.

The Crimson sports a 5-0 record this season.

"We try not to put pressure on ourselves (with the winning streak)," Chapple said. "We're just taking it one game at a time."

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder also has enjoyed the past two seasons with his more prominent role in the offense. He started a few games as a sophomore, but was admittedly a game manager trying not to make mistakes.

He said the first Ivy League game of his junior season, against Brown, was a turning point for him. He's been playing confidently since that game, which saw him throw for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He threw for 918 yards and 12 scores as a junior, and is clearly the go-to guy this season.

"It's definitely rewarding to be more involved and see your hard work come to fruition," Chapple said. "I'm just enjoying going out and playing the game. Sometime I'm going to hang up the cleats and I want to remember going out there and having fun."

Watching Chapple has been fun for Harvard fans this season.

He has accounted for 18 of his team's 27 offensive TDs and his 174.5 pass efficiency rating is first in the Ivy League by a large margin. He's completed 94 of 141 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,371 yards and 13 TDs (to just three interceptions). He also averages 49.6 rushing yards.

In last week's win over Bucknell, he completed 11 of 18 passes for 189 yards and added 120 rushing yards.

The drive to another Ivy League title continues with the Princeton game, followed by matchups with Dartmouth, Columbia, Penn and Yale.

Outside of football, Chapple is on track for a May graduation with a degree in psychology.

"These past four years have been a heck of a ride," Chapple said. "Being a part of this institution has been great."

Chapple has two freshmen Gwinnett grads as Harvard teammates --Collins Hill's Sam Batiste and North Gwinnett's Scotty Hosch.

FOOTBALL

Minter, Roby, Getz on All-American list

Gwinnett grads Kevin Minter (Peachtree Ridge), Brad Roby (Peachtree Ridge) and Cody Getz (Buford) were named to Phil Steele's Midseason All-American Team.

Minter, LSU's middle linebacker, and Roby, a starting cornerback at Ohio State, were on the second team and Getz, a running back at Air Force, was on the fourth team.

Minter leads LSU with 63 tackles and 8.5 tackles for losses, and also has two sacks. He was on Phil Steele's first team for the SEC, while Grayson grad and Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche was a third-teamer.

Roby ranks first nationally with 14 passes defensed this season and has scored three non-offensive touchdowns. He has two interceptions, one for a score, and 33 total tackles. He also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from Phil Steele.

Getz averages 154.7 rushing yards, racking up 928 yards and eight TDs for Air Force. He ranks second nationally in rushing yards per game.

Three locals selected All-Conference USA

Three Gwinnett products --Berkmar's Troy Davis, Collins Hill's Zach Davis and East Carolina's Terry Williams --were named to Phil Steele's Midseason All-Conference USA Team.

Davis, a first-team pick, has 29 tackles, 6.5 for losses, four sacks, five quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles for Central Florida. Zach Davis, a second-teamer, had 41 tackles (28 solos) for Tulane with three tackles for losses, two sacks and an interception. Williams, a third-teamer and East Carolina's starting noseguard, has 19 tackles, 4.5 for losses.

Alexander moves into starting role

Vadal Alexander, a true freshman from Buford, moved into LSU's starting right tackle spot for last week's victory over South Carolina.

The 6-6, 350-pounder stepped in when two fellow offensive linemen weren't available, one for injury and one for undisclosed reasons. Alexander helped the Tigers rush for 258 yards against South Carolina's tough defense.

Fellow freshman Reid Ferguson, also a Buford grad, handles the snapping duties for LSU.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays, spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.