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J.C. Tretter fights, embraces Ivy League stereotypes

By Jay Skurski

For a football player coming from an Ivy League school, "there's a positive and negative stigma," says Akron's J.C. Tretter, a Cornell senior. "You have the regular small-school stigma, but then you have the intelligence stigma, which isn't a bad one. The smarter you are in this game, the more you understand, the better you're going to be able to play.

"I don't let it affect me. You do what you can, your film's out there. Your film's your history now. That's what you are and that's what the scouts see. Now you've just got to control what you can control in the present and you just go from there.

Tretter did just that over the weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“A lot of people expect you to not be at the same quality strength-wise, speed-wise,” he said. “I was talking to the guys at the bench press, and they were saying no one really knows about the kid from Cornell who got up there. They said everybody was kind of like, ‘is this kid going to be able to bench at all? What exactly is he going to be able to do?’

“You go through those stereotypes, but as long as you're confident in yourself and you just go out and show what you can do, that's really what the scouts and the GMs and the coaches are looking for. I’m extremely confident in my abilities.”

Tretter, who returned to Cornell on Sunday, said he met with “17 or 18” teams at the combine, including the Bills in an informal interview.

“If you don’t have anything bad in your past, these interviews aren’t that bad,” he joked.

Aside from the occasional oddball question like “would you rather be a dog or a cat,” Tretter said teams mostly grilled him on the mental side of the game during the interview process.

“They want you to draw up plays and kind of see where your overall knowledge is. Not just what the left tackle does, but what does the left guard, the center, the right guard do? What is the quarterback looking at?” he said. “They want to know if you totally understand the play book.”

As for the physical side of it, Tretter fared well. He did 29 reps of 225 pounds inside Lucas Oil Stadium, a figure that tied for the 11th most of 45 offensive linemen who lifted.

“You’d love to hit the 30 mark. Obviously you always think you can do more,” Tretter said. “But 29, it is what it is. That's your number. I'm happy with that. It wasn't a disappointment, so I think it went well.”

Tretter said scouts had expressed a concern about his strength prior to the combine.

“I think the 29 definitely helps to kind of shoo that away,” he said.

He measured in at 6-foot-4, 307 pounds with 33 3/8-inch arms and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.09 seconds.


2013 draft | J.C. Tretter
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |