Senior Nicolai Schwarzkopf is far from his hometown of Decatur, Georgia in a number of ways. But Schwarzkopf has found a home for himself on the football field where the tight end has hauled in 245 career yards in adding to a potent receiving corps for the Crimson. As a junior, Schwarzkopf started nine of his 10 games and scored the first Harvard touchdown of the season at Harvard Stadium in the team’s home opener against Brown.
“Nicolai has been a very valuable, versatile player and team mate during his career and he will be missed after this season,” said Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football.
We recently caught up with Nicolai for the first in our yearly series of Q&As.
Q: What is your concentration?
A: Economics with a secondary in German
Q: What’s your favorite Harvard team to watch as a fan?
A: Last year it was awesome watching Jeremy Lin tear it up on the basketball court. He brought some badly needed school spirit here.
Q: If you could play for another team at Harvard, which would it be?
A: The golf team for sure. I don't think they'd let me with my handicap but I would love the chance to play a bunch of sweet courses for free and work on my game at the same time. I played on the golf team in high school too, no big deal.
Q: What are the best parts of being a student athlete at Harvard?
A: It's taught me to manage my time and prioritize the things that I have to do, because there are times during the year when playing football is like having a 9 to 5 job. On top of a few hours of school work every night, you learn to handle a packed schedule.
Q: What are the hardest parts of being a student athlete at Harvard?
A; Not having any free time. But the payoff is obvious and well worth it.
Q: Who do you most enjoy lining up against in practices?
A: It's tough to say because there are a lot of guys on the team who I like to compete against, but I'd have to go with our captain Zych. He's a really good athlete and I know if I block him well or beat him on a route, I've earned it.
Q: What’s the best part about a home football day?
A: The night after we win. The entire campus is alive and everyone is in a great mood to celebrate.
Q: Why did you choose Harvard?
A: I chose Harvard because it had a serious football program that matched the prestige of the university. For over a decade Harvard has always been a contender in the Ivy League, and I wanted to win championships.
Q: What is your best moment on the football field?
A: My best moment was three years ago, standing on the field smoking a cigar after our blowout victory over Yale to win the Ivy League championship. Everything felt perfect, the way the game was being built up with everybody doubting us. I've had some nice individual moments too, but that one's the best.
Q: What is the best facility in which you have played?
A: Harvard's stadium is hands-down the most amazing arena in the Ivy League, and is definitely one of the coolest and most unique in the country. It still amazes me that we play football in a big old coliseum.
Q: Where are your favorite places to eat in the square?
A: Felipe's is nice at one a.m. on the weekends but I'd have to say the “five… five-dollar footlongs” at Subway because I live off them during the summer.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between Cambridge and your hometown in Georgia?
A: Besides the weather, it's kind of hard to describe the difference because Harvard is so unique in itself; we basically live in a bubble here. I still always think of Decatur Georgia as my home though. Decatur's where it's greater, as we say.