Freshmen DJ Brown, Geoffrey Jamiel, and Brayten Silbor are new to the Lehigh Football team for the 2022 season. There are 26 freshmen joining the team this season. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Freshman class prepares for first taste of Division I football


The transition from high school to college for all students is a time of change — a new environment, new people and new classes. For new athletes, they have to also adjust to the faster speed and intensity of their sport, as well as unfamiliar teammates.  

The Lehigh football team added 26 freshmen to its roster this year, coming off a 2021 season in which it finished 3-8. 

Freshman running back DJ Brown said the large new class of players has already begun developing bonds with one another, especially during summer training.

“The freshman class is extremely close,” Brown said. “You won’t ever catch one of us just by ourselves. We’re always with another freshman, just chopping it up or hanging out or eating lunch or whatever it is.”

Freshman quarterback Brayten Silbor and wide receiver Geoffrey Jamiel shared a similar sentiment. They said all of the new players lived together this summer in Brodhead House, which gave them opportunities to get to know one another. 

“There was a lot of free time over the summer,” Jamiel said. “We were always looking up shopping malls in Bethlehem and places to eat in Bethlehem or whatever it was, just anything we could think of to do. You have so much free time that there’s time to do that stuff. And it was big for us.”

Jamiel said the upperclassmen on the team have also helped to ease the transition for the new players. He said they have been supportive of the underclassmen and let them in on team traditions.

Silbor said junior starting quarterback Dante Perri took on a mentor role for the younger players in his position. 

“During conditioning and stuff like that, during the summer, he was pushing me,” Silbor said. “He wanted the best out of me, and same with everyone else that was a freshman.” 

Although the new class has settled into a routine at Lehigh, Brown said he recognizes once they step onto the field, it will be a much different experience than what they had in high school. 

Brown said everything moves faster at Lehigh compared to the pace of the sport in high school. 

Tom Gilmore, in his fourth season as head coach, said he has been impressed so far with the way his new players have been able to adjust to the college game. 

“The college game is much more sophisticated (than high school),” Gilmore said. “And we’ve been really impressed with how quickly some of them have been able to pick things up.”

The team played its season opener against Villanova on Sept. 2, losing 45-17. The Mountain Hawks square off against Georgetown next on Sept. 10. 

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