Senior staff writer
Harvard University lineman Cole Toner, a 2012 Roncalli graduate, would have liked to have been drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.
Yes, he agreed, it would have put him closer to home, his parents Angie and Dave Toner, and Southside friends. And he lists the Colts as his favorite sports team.
However, being drafted in the fifth round Saturday by the Arizona Cardinals is unique too. Toner has two aunts who live in Phoenix so he will have a taste of home even out West.
“I’ve been out there before and I do have family there, two aunts and some cousins,” Toner told The Southsider Voice. “I knew Indianapolis had already picked some lineman so my chances of being with them were gone, but I am very happy to be going to Arizona.
“They have a good team, good organization and good coaches,” Toner said of the Cardinals’ staff, headed by former Colts interim coach Bruce Arians. “I had hoped it would be Arizona after I saw the early Colts draft selections.”
Toner, 6-6, 306 pounds, was drafted an offensive tackle but may wind up at guard as a back-up to linemen Evan Mathis and Mike Iupati.
Toner, 22, will be in Arizona for a brief rookie mini-camp Thursday and return to Harvard for finals that begin next week.
His parents were with him on campus Saturday during the telecast of the NFL draft.
He was the fourth player from Ivy League champion Harvard to be selected in this year’s draft. Twenty players have been drafted over the years.
“The program (football) is nationally renowned,” Toner said. “That’s a testament to the coaches at Harvard. Look at this class (four drafted players) and everyone begins to realize how hard we work at this level.”
Toner took part in the recent NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium after working out extensively at St. Vincent Sports Performance during winter break from classes.
He was a two-time All-Ivy League first-team player and helped lead the Crimson 36-4 during his four years at Harvard. At Roncalli he earned four letters each in football and basketball.
Toner becomes the first Southside player to be drafted since Greenwood High School/Iowa University linebacker A.J. Edds by the Miami Dolphins in 2010 (fourth round). He played for the Colts, Patriots and Jets before recently retiring.