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Hanson Becomes Fourth Preseason All-American; Nine Named All-Ivy

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Harvard sophomore cornerback Matthew Hanson highlights a list of nine Crimson football players who are recognized in the 2009 Phil Steele's Football Preview Magazine. Hanson was named to the All-America Second Team in the publication while Harvard was ranked 23rd nationally.

Hanson, from Lafayette, Colo., joined what has been the nation's top defensive backfield last season and dazzled as the Ivy's Rookie of the Year. Hanson led Harvard with four interceptions and tied for second on the team with 10 passes defended.

Hanson is the fourth different Harvard player to earn preseason All-America honors this summer, being joined by two-time All-American James Williams, wide receiver Matt Luft and cornerback Derrick Barker.

Harvard has had at least one All-American in each of the last 10 years while posting the nation's best winning percentage this decade.  

The second year-man Hanson was one of six Crimson players named to the preseason All-Ivy League first team by the publication. Three more players were named to the second team as Harvard had the most selections in the Ancient Eight.

Last season, all five of Harvard's offensive linemen earned postseason honors and, despite graduating three All-Ivy Leaguers, the unit appears to be strong this season as well with three players earned preseason first team recognition. Williams was on the list and is joined by center Alex Spisak and guard Brent Osborne. Also named to the first team were Luft, who enters the season with 115 career receptions, and safety Collin Zych, who racked up 72 tackles last season with 48 solo efforts.  

Named to the preseason second team were running back Gino Gordon, punter Thomas Hull and place kicker Patrick Long.

Since 2000, Harvard owns a .775 winning percentage (69-20) - second-highest in the Football Championship Subdivision and sixth highest in all of Division I. Over the past five seasons, Harvard is 41-9. Harvard is 36-6 at Harvard Stadium dating back to 2001 while winning 16 of its last 17 games there.

The Crimson has registered at least seven wins in each of the last eight years, making Harvard the only team in the history of Ivy League football to post such a string of successful seasons. Two years ago, Harvard became the first Ivy team to post a string of seven such seasons together. The current stretch is the Crimson's best eight-year run since a 28-year streak of seven-plus win seasons came to an end in 1911. The program has won 64 games over the past eight seasons for the best stretch since a stretch from 1908-1915 when the program also won 64 games.

Harvard opens its season Sept. 19 at Holy Cross against a Crusaders' team that will already have two games under its belt. Harvard's home opener comes the following Friday night, Sept. 25, against Brown.

-Photo by Dave Silverman