• April 28, 2019

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What’s after perfection?

For John Lovett and Stephen Carlson, it’s a step up to football’s highest level.

Lovett and Carlson, two of the architects of Princeton’s first perfect football season in 54 years, will now be getting a chance to show what they can do in the NFL as both have signed free agent contracts, Lovett with the Kansas City Chiefs and Carlson with the Cleveland Browns.

“I’m excited for the opportunities our guys have,” said Bob Surace, the Charles W. Caldwell head coach of football at Princeton. “I am looking forward to watching their NFL journeys and have no doubt they will successfully compete against the best.”

With Lovett at the controls and Carlson on the outside, Princeton produced the highest-scoring offense in Ivy League history last year while going 10-0, giving the team its first perfect season since 1964. The Tiger offense ranked second nationally in scoring offense, third in nationally in total offense and sixth nationally in rushing offense. Princeton averaged 47 points per game and scored at least 40 eight times.

The 6-3, 230-pound Lovett is a two-time Bushnell Cup winner who was a touchdown-producing machine during his time at Princeton. He finished his career as a two-time Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, in 2016 and then, after missing the 2017 season due to injury, against this past fall.

During his time at Princeton, Lovett scored touchdowns by throwing, rushing and receiving, and he was a nearly unstoppable short yardage force. That versatility will help him in the NFL, especially after the success New Orleans has had with Taysom Hill and his similar skillsets.

He personally led the league in total offense (303.0 yards/game) and was second in both rushing (99.3 yards/game) and passing (203.7 yards/game).

His 20.9 points responsible for per game ranked fourth in the country, and he led the Ivy League with 18 passing touchdowns and was also sixth in the nation in completion percentage (66.1%).

“Playing in the NFL is something I’ve been working towards for a long time,” Lovett said. “To be able to play for Coach [Andy] Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs is an incredible opportunity, and I’m ready to get to work. I can’t thank my family enough for the belief they have had in me since I was younger.”

The 6-4, 230-pound Carlson is one of the top wide receivers in Princeton history. He will now be moving to tight end with the Browns.

A two-time All-Ivy League selection, Carlson caught 51 passes for 683 yards and five touchdowns last year. He ended his career ranked third all-time at Princeton with 16 touchdown receptions, and he is also eight all-time in receiving yards with 1,632 and 10th in receptions with 125.

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