Thursday, February 15, 2018

The MVP



It's the coaches who will choose all the winners of the awards at this weekend's banquet celebrating the 2017 season.

But I don't think it's going to be much of a race for the Sid Luckman Most Valuable Player Award. Graduating senior QB Anders Hill should have that honor all wrapped up.

If stats were the only factor in the decision, Hill would come a close second to rising junior WR Josh Wainwright who broke Columbia's 35-year old single season receiving yards record.

But since this was an historic 8-2 winning season, you have to look at the huge step forward Hill took as a team leader in tight win after tight win.

I wrote in the preseason that 2017 was really mostly on Hill's shoulders. The result was the best season in more than 20 years.

Hill started 18 games in his Columbia career and finished with an 11-7 record.  That's a .611 winning percentage for a program that went 2-20 in the 22 games he didn't start in his four year career.

Case closed.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Jim Garrett (1930-2018)





Former Columbia Head Coach Jim Garrett died Friday night at the age of 87.

His incredible career and life are being nicely detailed in many obituaries across the football and regular news media platforms.

Every one of them is making a point of hardly mentioning his tumultuous one season at Columbia.

Like many longtime Columbia fans, my impressions of Garrett have changed over the years. Thanks to the many conversations I've had with his former players, I believe I've come to a better understanding of the man and his ultimately failed mission at CU. I also think it's clear that what Head Coach Al Bagnoli has done at Columbia over the past three years proves a point about what Garrett faced 30 years earlier.

Garrett was brought in as a radical new hire prior to the 1985 football season. Hiring him was seen as a long-delayed move by an administration that had been historically apathetic or hostile to football for decades. Finally, there seemed to be a commitment at the top.

That commitment lasted all of one game. After blowing a 17-0 halftime lead in the season opener against Harvard, Garrett lashed out at his players in the post game news conference. He singled out the starting punter for poor game play, (the stats didn't show it), and made the famous quote that his players played "LIKE drug addicted losers."

I put "like" in all caps because Garrett was almost universally misquoted as saying the team "was a bunch of drug addicted losers."

Garrett was allowed to finish the season, but he was effectively fired after that one game. In his memoirs, then-Columbia President Michael Sovern wrote that he knew firing Garrett would hurt the football program and the positive direction he was likely to send to, but that the school just could not stomach that kind of intense bad publicity connected to athletics.

Not surprisingly, Garrett's players felt differently. Almost all of them had bought in to the radical changes he wanted to make. All these years later, they still feel that way.

What Garrett was really up against was an administration that didn't want to make even minor and ephemeral sacrifices to save the football program's reputation. This was the case until President Lee Bollinger finally made the great move to hire Athletic Director Peter Pilling and then green light Pilling's bold hiring of Bagnoli.

I see Bollinger's shift in policy as more praiseworthy and impressive than the same move coming from a new president. New people like to make sweeping changes, but Bollinger did this after being on the job almost 15 years. He learned from a mistake. That's less common.

Bagnoli's media skills are a million times better than Garrett's. So his chances to survive have always been better. But the point is he also was forced to make radical changes. The difference is that he's also dealing with an administration that isn't afraid of one bad quote in the New York Times... or at least it wasn't when it made the bold Pilling and Bagnoli moves.

I know many Columbia fans still feel negatively about Garrett. But they really shouldn't. He wasn't the problem. The administration was the problem, and Garrett just proved it beyond much of a doubt.

Anyone who really knew Garrett will also tell you he was a really good person. He challenged his players and was intense in a football setting, but never abusive. And in life, he was a true gentleman.

It would be fitting that while Columbia Football sees the reputation of its program recovering, we also see to it that Jim Garrett's reputation in the Columbia family also rises to a fair level of respect and understanding.



Thursday, February 8, 2018

Signing Day Additions and Videos

Mitchell Shinskie


Thanks to Twitter announcements on National Signing Day, we now know of two more commits to Columbia for the fall.

The first is 6-4, 242 pound DE Mitchell Shinskie from Colonial Forge HS in Stafford, VA. Shinskie was a 1st team all state player in Virginia. He decommitted from William & Mary and had offers from Army and some other Ivies.

Shinskie will be the first Colonial Forge grad to come to Columbia Football.

You can see a quick interview with Shinskie here.

Cameron Brown


The second new commit we first learned about yesterday is 6-1, 186 pound LB/RB Cameron Brown from Castro Valley HS in Castro Valley, CA.

Brown will be the first Castro Valley grad to come to Columbia Football.

More Videos and Stories

Signing Day brought a lot more media attention to many of our commits.

Here's an interview and profile of WR commit Mozes Mooney.

RB commit John Harris is profiled here.


Our list of reported commits for 2018 is up to 38:

1) Paul Akere DR 6-4 210 lbs. Hebron HS Carrollton, TX

2) John Alyn DE 6-2 225 lbs. American Heritage HS Plantation, FL

3) Cameron Brown LB/RB 6-1, 186 lbs. Castro Valley HS Castro Valley, CA 

4) Inho Choi DB 6-1 175 lbs. Holy Names HS Windsor, Ontario/Deerfield Academy  

5) Jordan Colbert DB 6-2 185 lbs. Gonzaga College HS Washington, D.C.

6) Cam Dillon LB 6-2 219 lbs. Findlay HS Findlay, OH

7) Michael Fluegel RB/CB 6-1 180 lbs. Clarkston HS Clarkston, MI

8) John Foreback QB 6-1 215 lbs. Morristown-Hamblen West HS Morristown, TN

9) John Harris RB/DE 6-2 205 lbs. Bishop Diego HS Santa Barbara, CA

10) Devin Hart LB 6-1 212 lbs. McEachem HS Powder Springs, GA 

11) Jackson Heath TE 6-5 220 lbs. Blue Valley Northwest HS Overland Park, KS

12) Sam Hill OL/DL 6-5 245 lbs. Chittenango HS Chittenango, NY

13) Marquis Hubbard S/LB 5-11 190 lbs. Kinkaid HS Houston, TX

14) Trajen Johnson WR 6-2 185 lbs. Pulaski Academy Little Rock, AR 

15) Dante Landolfi LB 6-2 220 lbs. Upper Arlington HS Columbus, OH

16) Derric Lee DB 6-0 168 lbs. Waubonsie Valley HS Aurora, IL

17) Parket Lefton LS 6-1 240 lbs. King's Ridge Christian HS Alpharetta, GA

18) Ty Lenhart QB 6-3 203 lbs. DeMatha HS, Hyattsville, MD

19) Evan Loesel DL 6-3 252 lbs. Cardinal Gibbons HS Fort Lauderdale, FL

20) Fara'Ad McCombs DB 6-0 178 lbs. St. Joseph's HS Montvale, NJ

21) Dante Miller RB 5-11 185 lbs. Richmond HS Rockingham, HS 

22) Zach Minch OL/DL 6-4 280 lbs. Manchester Central HS Manchester, NH and Loomis Chaffee School (PG Year)

23) Mozes Mooney WR 6-1 175 lbs. Bishop's School La Jolla, CA

24) Drake Morey DL 6-5 250 lbs. Ashland HS Ashland, OR

25) Jake Motz OL 6-5 293 lbs. Pope John Paul II HS Hendersonville, TN

26) Stewart Newblatt OL/DL 6-4 255 lbs. Clarkston HS Clarkston, MI 

27) Chris Park WR 5-11 175 lbs. Junipero Serra HS San Mateo, CA

28) Keaton Prevette LS 6-0, 225 lbs. Charlotte Country Day Charlotte, NC


29) Brandon Radice TE 6-4, 205 lbs. Ridge HS Basking Ridge, NJ

30) Ryan Rhoden DB 6-2 170 lbs. St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL

31) Mikey Roussos WR 6-1 180 lbs. River Ridge HS New Port Richey, FL 

32) Mitchell Shinskie DE/TE 6-4 242 lbs. Colonial Forge HS, Stafford, VA
33) Joshua Smythe-Macaulay LB 6-3 193 lbs. Bowie HS, Austin, TX

34) Mitchell Sturgill DB 6-1, 185 lbs Bellevue HS Bellevue, WA

35) Watson Tansil LB 6-3, 215 lbs. Franklin Road Academy Nashville, TN

36) Xavier Thibault DE 6-5 241 lbs. Williston Northampton School Easthampton, MA 

37) Tyler Worrell 6-3 273 lbs. Cinco Ranch HS Katy, TX

38) Ryan Young RB 5-10 200 lbs. Wheaton Warrenville South HS Wheaton, IL

Monday, February 5, 2018

Super Get Sunday II


Derric Lee

Just before kickoff yesterday, Columbia got yet another significant commitment from a top flight defensive back.

Derric Lee is a 6-0 168 pound cornerback from Waubonsie Valley HS in Aurora, IL. He was apparently committed to Harvard before changing his mind. He also had offers from Yale, Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth, Cornell, and all the service academies.

24/7 Sports ranked Lee as the #19 overall HS player in Illinois and bestowed a 3-star rating on him.

According to my LionFeeders database, Lee will be the third Waubonsie grad to come to Columbia Football. The other two were very good in Mark Cannan '00 and Matt Kuhn '98.

That brings our list of reported commits for 2018 to 36:

1) Paul Akere DR 6-4 210 lbs. Hebron HS Carrollton, TX

2) John Alyn DE 6-2 225 lbs. American Heritage HS Plantation, FL 

3) Inho Choi DB 6-1 175 lbs. Holy Names HS Windsor, Ontario/Deerfield Academy  

4) Jordan Colbert DB 6-2 185 lbs. Gonzaga College HS Washington, D.C.

5) Cam Dillon LB 6-2 219 lbs. Findlay HS Findlay, OH

6) Michael Fluegel RB/CB 6-1 180 lbs. Clarkston HS Clarkston, MI

7) John Foreback QB 6-1 215 lbs. Morristown-Hamblen West HS Morristown, TN

8) John Harris RB/DE 6-2 205 lbs. Bishop Diego HS Santa Barbara, CA

9) Devin Hart LB 6-1 212 lbs. McEachem HS Powder Springs, GA 

10) Jackson Heath TE 6-5 220 lbs. Blue Valley Northwest HS Overland Park, KS

11) Sam Hill OL/DL 6-5 245 lbs. Chittenango HS Chittenango, NY

12) Marquis Hubbard S/LB 5-11 190 lbs. Kinkaid HS Houston, TX

13) Trajen Johnson WR 6-2 185 lbs. Pulaski Academy Little Rock, AR 

14) Dante Landolfi LB 6-2 220 lbs. Upper Arlington HS Columbus, OH

15) Derric Lee DB 6-0 168 lbs. Waubonsie Valley HS Aurora, IL

16) Parket Lefton LS 6-1 240 lbs. King's Ridge Christian HS Alpharetta, GA

17) Ty Lenhart QB 6-3 203 lbs. DeMatha HS, Hyattsville, MD

18) Evan Loesel DL 6-3 252 lbs. Cardinal Gibbons HS Fort Lauderdale, FL

19) Fara'Ad McCombs DB 6-0 178 lbs. St. Joseph's HS Montvale, NJ

20) Dante Miller RB 5-11 185 lbs. Richmond HS Rockingham, HS 

21) Zach Minch OL/DL 6-4 280 lbs. Manchester Central HS Manchester, NH and Loomis Chaffee School (PG Year)

22) Mozes Mooney WR 6-1 175 lbs. Bishop's School La Jolla, CA

23) Drake Morey DL 6-5 250 lbs. Ashland HS Ashland, OR

24) Jake Motz OL 6-5 293 lbs. Pope John Paul II HS Hendersonville, TN

25) Stewart Newblatt OL/DL 6-4 255 lbs. Clarkston HS Clarkston, MI 

26) Chris Park WR 5-11 175 lbs. Junipero Serra HS San Mateo, CA

27) Keaton Prevette LS 6-0, 225 lbs. Charlotte Country Day Charlotte, NC


28) Brandon Radice TE 6-4, 205 lbs. Ridge HS Basking Ridge, NJ

29) Ryan Rhoden DB 6-2 170 lbs. St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL

30) Mikey Roussos WR 6-1 180 lbs. River Ridge HS New Port Richey, FL 

31) Joshua Smythe-Macaulay LB 6-3 193 lbs. Bowie HS, Austin, TX

32) Mitchell Sturgill DB 6-1, 185 lbs Bellevue HS Bellevue, WA

33) Watson Tansil LB 6-3, 215 lbs. Franklin Road Academy Nashville, TN

34) Xavier Thibault DE 6-5 241 lbs. Williston Northampton School Easthampton, MA 

35) Tyler Worrell 6-3 273 lbs. Cinco Ranch HS Katy, TX

36) Ryan Young RB 5-10 200 lbs. Wheaton Warrenville South HS Wheaton, IL


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Get Sunday


Jordan Colbert

6-2 185 pound DB Jordan Colbert has just committed to Columbia.

Colbert is from Gonzaga College HS in Washington, D.C. and was named 1st Team WCAC at DB.

He's another taller than 6-foot corner the coaches have really sought after in Bagnoli era.

Colbert chose Columbia over offers from Yale, Penn, Dartmouth, Cornell, Fordham, Holy Cross, Air Force, Duquesne, and Moorehead State, and Butler.

He will be the second Gonzaga grad to come to Columbia Football, the first being Kenny Wood '03.

That brings our list of reported commits for 2018 to 35:

1) Paul Akere DR 6-4 210 lbs. Hebron HS Carrollton, TX

2) John Alyn DE 6-2 225 lbs. American Heritage HS Plantation, FL 

3) Inho Choi DB 6-1 175 lbs. Holy Names HS Windsor, Ontario/Deerfield Academy  

4) Jordan Colbert DB 6-2 185 lbs. Gonzaga College HS Washington, D.C.

5) Cam Dillon LB 6-2 219 lbs. Findlay HS Findlay, OH

6) Michael Fluegel RB/CB 6-1 180 lbs. Clarkston HS Clarkston, MI

7) John Foreback QB 6-1 215 lbs. Morristown-Hamblen West HS Morristown, TN

8) John Harris RB/DE 6-2 205 lbs. Bishop Diego HS Santa Barbara, CA

9) Devin Hart LB 6-1 212 lbs. McEachem HS Powder Springs, GA 

10) Jackson Heath TE 6-5 220 lbs. Blue Valley Northwest HS Overland Park, KS

11) Sam Hill OL/DL 6-5 245 lbs. Chittenango HS Chittenango, NY

12) Marquis Hubbard S/LB 5-11 190 lbs. Kinkaid HS Houston, TX

13) Trajen Johnson WR 6-2 185 lbs. Pulaski Academy Little Rock, AR 

14) Dante Landolfi LB 6-2 220 lbs. Upper Arlington HS Columbus, OH

15) Parket Lefton LS 6-1 240 lbs. King's Ridge Christian HS Alpharetta, GA

16) Ty Lenhart QB 6-3 203 lbs. DeMatha HS, Hyattsville, MD

17) Evan Loesel DL 6-3 252 lbs. Cardinal Gibbons HS Fort Lauderdale, FL

18) Fara'Ad McCombs DB 6-0 178 lbs. St. Joseph's HS Montvale, NJ

19) Dante Miller RB 5-11 185 lbs. Richmond HS Rockingham, HS 

20) Zach Minch OL/DL 6-4 280 lbs. Manchester Central HS Manchester, NH and Loomis Chaffee School (PG Year)

21) Mozes Mooney WR 6-1 175 lbs. Bishop's School La Jolla, CA

22) Drake Morey DL 6-5 250 lbs. Ashland HS Ashland, OR

23) Jake Motz OL 6-5 293 lbs. Pope John Paul II HS Hendersonville, TN

24) Stewart Newblatt OL/DL 6-4 255 lbs. Clarkston HS Clarkston, MI 

25) Chris Park WR 5-11 175 lbs. Junipero Serra HS San Mateo, CA

26) Keaton Prevette LS 6-0, 225 lbs. Charlotte Country Day Charlotte, NC


27) Brandon Radice TE 6-4, 205 lbs. Ridge HS Basking Ridge, NJ

28) Ryan Rhoden DB 6-2 170 lbs. St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL

29) Mikey Roussos WR 6-1 180 lbs. River Ridge HS New Port Richey, FL 

30) Joshua Smythe-Macaulay LB 6-3 193 lbs. Bowie HS, Austin, TX

31) Mitchell Sturgill DB 6-1, 185 lbs Bellevue HS Bellevue, WA

32) Watson Tansil LB 6-3, 215 lbs. Franklin Road Academy Nashville, TN

33) Xavier Thibault DE 6-5 241 lbs. Williston Northampton School Easthampton, MA 

34) Tyler Worrell 6-3 273 lbs. Cinco Ranch HS Katy, TX

35) Ryan Young RB 5-10 200 lbs. Wheaton Warrenville South HS Wheaton, IL