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BC High's McShea on Harvard: 'I felt at home'

Although a scholarship offer from Boston College was tempting, the lure wasn't strong enough to pull Boston College High School tight end Jameson McShea away from the Ivy League.

That's what McShea said Thursday, one day after he committed to play football at Harvard.

“It was a really hard decision because I had been hoping to go to BC for a long time,” McShea said. “It was my dream school, but Harvard is the dream school for everybody around the world.

“It basically came down to where I was more comfortable. Where I felt at home.”

Although McShea also played defensive end at BC High, he was recruited as a tight end. He is rated as a three-star tight end by ESPN Recruiting and the No. 6 prospect from Massachusetts in the Class of 2012. He was named to ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team last month.

McShea, a Cotuit resident, committed to Temple last summer, but reopened his recruitment in December, shortly after he received his acceptance letter from Harvard. All signs pointed to Harvard until BC assistant coach Sean Devine offered McShea a scholarship Saturday.

“BC gave me something to think about,” McShea said. “They had told me to prepare for [a scholarship offer], so I expected it. It was all because of Sam Grant [a tight end from Ohio who decommitted from BC last week].

“Coach Devine was very accepting when I told him. He wished me well. Obviously the ACC is a bigger league than the Ivy League. Football is more of your life at BC than it is at Harvard, which is not a problem for me because I love football. It's just that the opportunity Harvard presents after college is amazing.

“Temple is a great school with a great staff, but I was very unfamiliar with the area. I only went down there once.”

McShea, the Catholic Conference Lineman of the Year, said he also strongly considered UMass before narrowing his choices to BC and Harvard. He helped BC High win its second Eastern Mass. Super Bowl in the last four years last season.

McShea said the opportunity for playing time early in his career, and his relationship with Harvard head coach Tim Murphy were also key factors in his decision.

“I spent a lot of time with Coach Murphy and not much time with Spaz [BC head coach Frank Spaziani],” McShea said. “That's basically what it came down to.

“[Murphy's] style of offense is exactly what I wanted. He uses three tight ends and splits them out a lot.”

McShea attended Harvard's games against Dartmouth and Penn last season. He said he had a strong feeling Harvard was the school and program for him when he was in the locker room following Harvard's victory over Penn.

“I just had a good feeling when I saw all the teammates,” he said. “When I received my acceptance letter I had a pretty strong feeling I was heading there. The last few days I was just making sure Harvard was the place for me.

“My parents told me that Harvard is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not many people get that chance.”