By Craig Sachson
Both head coach Bob Surace and the leaders of the 2021 Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers consistently talked about the team camaraderie that drove the culture this fall. There was a unity, a brotherhood that was only strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, that made the final product greater than the sum of its parts.
That is even more impressive when you realize that those parts were really, really good.
The 2021 Princeton Tigers set a program record with 10 first-team All-Ivy League players, which matches the third-most ever by a single team in league history. Princeton, winners of three of the last five Ivy League championships, ended up with 16 all-league honorees following the announcement of the 2021 All-Ivy team Tuesday afternoon.
Princeton’s first-team All-Ivy honorees were Jacob Birmelin, Carson Bobo, Henry Byrd, Collin Eaddy, Trevor Forbes, James Johnson, Will Powers, Reily Radosevich, Jeremiah Tyler, and Samuel Wright II. Second-team honors went to David Hoffman, Andrei Iosivas, and Uche Ndukwe, while Dylan Classi, Cole Smith, and Delan Stallworth received Honorable Mention All-Ivy honors.
GoPrincetonTigers.com has a recap of the individual statistics of each All-Ivy honoree.
The 10 first-team All-Ivy honorees breaks Princeton’s previous record of nine, set two seasons ago during the Tigers’ 2018 Ivy League championship season. One Tiger was selected to both first teams. Can you guess who that was? (Answer at bottom)
Ten first-team All-Ivy League selections is the most by any Ivy League since 2007, when Harvard put 11 on the team. Penn has the record with 12 (2003), while five teams have put 10 on the first team. Prior to Princeton’s mark this season, the last Ivy team to have as many first-team honorees was Dartmouth (2014).
Princeton also had two of the three unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selections. Senior wideout Jacob Birmelin earned his second straight first-team honor on offense after leading the Ivy League in both receptions (64) and receiving yards (784). His biggest catch of the season didn’t even count to those totals; he caught the winning two-point conversion in Princeton’s 18-16 win over Harvard, the first of two Big 3 wins that earned the University a bonfire this past Sunday.
The lone unanimous defensive selection, to nobody’s surprise, was Jeremiah Tyler. The 2019 finalist for Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year honors and a finalist for Buck Buchanan Award honors as FCS National Defensive Player of the Year, Tyler led Princeton in both total (58) and solo tackles (49) and remained the most disruptive force in the Ivy League.
16 All-Ivy League selections ranks as fourth-most in program history, though the top four have each happened within the last eight years — a testament to the unprecedented success currently happening within the Princeton program. Both the 2016 (6 1st, 6 2nd, 6 HM) and the 2018 (9/6/3) had 18 All-Ivy honorees on their respective championship teams, while the 2013 squad (6/7/4) had 17 All-Ivy honorees.
Only one player earned All-Ivy honors on three of those teams, and he is the answer to the earlier trivia question. Radosevich earned All-Ivy honorable mention as a freshman on the 2016 Tigers, and then went on to be a first-team honoree in both 2018 and 2021. He and Tyler were both contributing freshmen on the 2016 Ivy championship team, and both will graduate with three Ivy League championship rings.
Will Tyler also graduate with a Bushnell Cup? The next step comes next week, when the Ivy League announces the finalist for both Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year honors.