Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Freshman 15

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Class of 2016 commits #14 and #15 surfaced overnight.

And since I'm expecting 30 new freshmen playrs to join the Lion varsity this fall, we are now aware of half of the new class.

First we have 6-1, 175 pound QB Scooter Hollis from Bowling Green HS in Kentucky.

Here's a video of Hollis talking about his monster game in the Kentucky 5A state final.

Hollis was also a 2-Star recruit.

Hollis is the first documented Bowling Green player to come to Columbia football, but current Lion Kal Prince is also from Kentucky and a QB.

Next up is THREE-STAR Rivals recruit and another QB: 6-3, 200 pound Trevor McDonagh.

Trevor comes from St. Louis University HS, where current Lion Griffin Lowry also graduated.

You can see all the Columbia football player legacy high schools here.

Trevor's junior year highlight video is below:

And here's an interesting article published last year about Trevor's entrance into the recruiting process.

So here is our list of 15 publicly known incoming freshmen for the class of 2016:

1. Oluwatoba "Toba" Akinleye DE 6-1, 215 lbs. Fort Hamilton HS, Brooklyn. NY
2. Jacob Ardron LB 6-1, 230 lbs. Diamond Ranch HS, Pomona, CA
3. Matt Cahal DB 6-0, 190 lbs. Brophy College Prep, Phoenix, AZ
4.Chris Cicilioni G/DE 6-2, 225 lbs. Valley View HS, Scranton, PA
5. Mark Cieslak LB 5-11, 235 lbs. St. Joseph's HS, Montvale, NJ
6. Andrew Dobitsch, WR 5-11 180 lbs. Northern Valley HS Tappan, NJ
7. Michael Gerst, RB 5-10 190 lbs. Bergen Catholic Bergen County, NJ

8. Scooter Hollis, QB 6-1 175 lbs. Bowling Green HS, Bowling Green, KY
9. Kevin McCarthy, S 6-1 200 lbs. Hingham, HS Hingham. MA
10. Trevor McDonagh, QB 6-3 200 lbs. St. Louis University HS, St. Louis, MO

11. Cameron Molina, RB/LB 5-10, 185 lbs. Tuscarora HS, Leesburg, VA
11.. Daren Napier DT 6-4 275 lbs. St. John's HS Houston, TX
13. Logan Scott QB 6-2 180 lbs. Chaminade HS West Hills, CA
14. Austin Stock, C 6-3 270 lbs. Solon HS Solon, OH

15. Mike Zunica, FB 6-1 215 lbs. St. Rita HS, Chicago, IL

The Kindest Cut of All?

A reader asked today why OL Chris Proctor has left the team. I don't have a definite reason why Proctor personally left the team, but I can say that the challenging workout program new Head Coach Pete Mangurian has created for this winter is "encouraging" a number of players to consider dropping football.

As I reported last week,  Mangurian is seriously considering paring the varsity roster and even eliminating JV football.

The logic is that the 110+ player roster is unmanageable, and a leaner/meaner team would lead to more wins.
It's a strong argument and the last six years of Columbia football certainly serve as evidence that a lower attrition rate doesn't necessarily equal more wins.

Columbia fielded its biggest rosters ever in the Norries Wilson era, but it still never posted a winning season, and never truly showed a strong ability to replace injured start despite the big numbers on

This is the way Mangurian rolled at Cornell, where none of his varsity rosters had more than 54 players in any of his three years as the Big Red head coach.

This was an easier transition back in 1998, when Mangurian succeeded Jim Hofher who also believed in smaller varsity rosters. Mangurian and Hofher were both proponents of the 50-60 man varsity.

But within two years of Mangurian's departure in 2000, the new regime in Ithaca was jacking the number right up to 96 players on the roster... but with a lot fewer wins.

A year later, the 2003 Big Red, (one of the weakest Cornell teams we've seen in a generation), was up to 105 players on the roster.

Bigger does not mean better.

If the coaching staff is working with say, 30 fewer players overall, will they be able to get the remaining players better prepared for each game and better developed over time?

With the right direction from the top, I'd say there's at least a good chance the answer would be "yes."

And the only important question is: "will this lead to more wins?"

Because we haven't seen our team win enough games for too many years, we Lions fans, (and I am VERY guilty of this), have focused for too long on just about every other stat other than W's.

We've focused on roster size and attrition, we've focused on the number of Lion All Ivy players, we've focused on TD-INT ratios, etc., etc, etc.

I'll take a smaller team, with fewer All Ivies and dreadful TD-INT ratios if Columbia starts winning more games and a championship.

I think we all would.

Now, HOW exactly can Mangurian go about getting this roster down to the core players he wants to go after the top teams in the league?

The 5am wakeups and runs in the middle of January are working so far, but that's not going to get us down to 60 or 70 by the spring game.

The answer, sadly, is the coach is going to have to cut some guys. No, it won't be fair in the truest sense to the players who have given their all and want to stay on that roster. But this is the Ivy League, which means they stay in school, keep whatever financial aid they may have and still own a great headstart on life.

Also, if the players come to realize that the coaching staff is really looking to keep the best and chuck the chaff, it should raise the level of everyone's play in practice and on the field.

But there's a reason why so many of the incoming freshmen have been quoted as saying the coaches told them they have a great chance to play right away. Roster depth and the confidence the staff has in them
could make more freshmen play a real necessity and hopefully a plus.

It's important to remember that this entire process seems like it's still in the experimental stage right now. The coaches may get to spring practice and realize shredding just 10-15 players will be more than enough. And JV ball might stay alive when the fall rolls around and too many of the returning players are working too hard to cut them off completely.

But the only real test for all of this is the win-loss record in the fall.

The days of using anything else as a serious benchmark, should be long gone by now when it comes to CU football.

Basketball Commit

For those of you who like any reason to get excited, (and I'm in that group), I give you
Grant Mullins, a Canadian phenom who committed to Columbia back in November.

I also give you Brad Gilson from northern Virginia.

Both Mullins and Gilson are big-time scorers and should fit in well with the current Lion squad next year.

Dumb Things Ivy Schools are Doing Besides Helping Athletics, Part 376:

Some "geniuses" at Harvard just put together an "art project" where students stayed on a single phone conversation for more than 46 hours.

Here's the quote that really got me laughing:

"Stage Manager Ginny C. Fahs ’14 said that the performance was much like an athletic competition because it required extreme endurance."

LIKE an athletic competition? Really? Here's an idea: how about those brainiacs at Harvard study some of the actual athletes that are on campus?

How about measuring how long some of our student athletes excel at sports while maintaining decent grade point averages?

I know, I know... this wasn't a scientific study at Harvard, it was an "artistic" performance. But if you ask me, a real artistic performance is a double reverse option pass.


Old Lion said...

Why are we recruiting so many QBs, except that I assume that they will not all be staying at QB. And as far as attrition due to killer workouts, read any biography of Bear Bryantnand his first ear at Texas A&M.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong or unusual about recruiting three or more quarterbacks, Penn and Harvard have been doing that successfully in the Ivy League for years. Obviously, our lack of depth at quarterback the last two seasons hurt us very badly. Coming into the 2012 season we have only one quarterback returning behind Brackett with any varsity experience (Weiss). Thankfully, Coach Mangurian has landed three outstanding quarterbacks who will eventually compete for the top spot(s) along with Prince and Goings.

WOF said...

You are right, Many wind up playing other positions in college.

They are usually the best athletes on a HS team.

lionrock said...

Rivals is reporting that one of our uncommitted recruits who visited last week has been offered a "preferred walk-on" status at Virginia Tech. He is also supposed to be visiting William and Mary this weekend. To me, almost anyone who decides to be a "preferred walk-on" over an Ivy League offer is making a mistake. I wonder what others think.

WOF said...

Ivies are not for everyone. And if you have a chance to walk on and possibly earn a portion of a scholarship at a school like william and mary, I can't argue with that logic.

RedTiger61 said...

Any news on a new strength coach and team trainer ???? .... I also like to see them also focus on speed training as well ....

DOC said...

I have always felt that competition among athletes for starting roles leads to a greater probability of excellence on the playing field. That having been said, it must be difficult for players and coaches when there are so many candidates for each starting role. I would think that a smaller number than what we've been carrying might work but we cant ignore depth. Football may have more "specialized" roles now (e.g. blocking and pass catching tight ends) than ,say, twenty years ago.

RedTiger61 said...

.... 2 topics .... team size and team conditioning ....

First point, my 1966 freshman football team was at the time (and may still be) the largest freshman team Columbia fielded (77 players) .... this team was coached by none other than William V. Campbell ... his idea was to set up teams with 11 players who played both ways .... as I remember it, the first team was the Blue team, the second team was the White team, then came the Red, Yellow and Green teams .... the remaining players did not have a color .... in fact, these "no color" guys spent most of their time at practice standing in the back just watching .... it was almost impossible to standout once the teams were selected since there was very limited playing time for players below the first 2 teams .... eventualy, after 2 games, Billy changed his philosophy about having teams of 11 players that played both ways .... of course what helped his decision was 2 losses .... I can see the value of having a smaller (though substantial) core of players for coaches to work with ....

Second point, so far, the quality of the incoming freshman group looks good .... we need to make sure that the team avoids the injury bug that hit last year .... the offense was hampered by all the injuries in the backfield and O-line .... that's why I raised the comment earlier about who the new strength coach and trainer was .... when will they be named ???

The link shown below is about the strength and conditioning program that Lehigh has for all their athletes .... I would hope Columbia has an equivalent program .... this has been posted before, but I think it is something Coach M should consider ...