Football Star Justice Shelton-Mosley to Transfer

The Harvard football receiver and kick-returner will continue his football career next season at Vanderbilt. 

Injured during his senior Harvard campaign, the star receiver will pursue a postgraduate football season.Photograph by Gil Talbot/Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

Call him Commodore Shelton-Mosley.

Taking advantage of major college football’s so-called “graduate-transfer rule,” Justice Shelton-Mosley ’19, who in three-plus seasons at Harvard became one of the school’s greatest kick returners and wide receivers, will continue his football career at Vanderbilt. An economics concentrator from Sacramento, Shelton-Mosley will enroll in the masters program at the Owen School of Management and be eligible for the Commodores’ 2019 season 

Shelton-Mosley’s Crimson career came to an abrupt and untimely conclusion last fall when he was injured while returning a punt in the season’s fourth game, a 28-24 defeat at Cornell. Because the injury occurred before Harvard had played half of its 10-game schedule, Shelton-Mosley was entitled to what is essentially a re-do of his fourth season—just not at Harvard or other Ivy League schools, which do not permit graduate transfers.

In an email, Shelton-Mosley said, “I chose Vanderbilt because of the coaching staff and the prestigious academics, but most importantly the opportunity to go there and contribute right away. Not many kids from California get the chance to play in what is objectively the best league in college football, and this experience I believe complements my experience at Harvard well.”

As Shelton-Mosley acknowledges, in going from the Ivy League to the Southeastern Conference—the nation’s toughest league and home of powerhouses such as Alabama, Georgia and LSU—he will be moving up considerably in gridiron class. In 2018 the Commodores finished the regular season a respectable 6-6, a record that earned them a berth in the Texas Bowl, where they lost to Baylor 45-38. Should Vanderbilt make it to a New Year’s Day 2020 bowl game—an admitted long shot—it would be most fitting: Harvard would have a participant in a bowl game on the hundredth anniversary of the Crimson’s only bowl appearance, a 7-6 victory over Oregon on January 1, 1920.

Read more articles by: Dick Friedman

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