Worth the Weight
Incoming freshman offensive lineman Carl Constant stood out even before last night's Empire Challenge all-star game began. It was hard to miss a young man who was either the biggest or second biggest person on the field.
The 6"3, 285-pound Constant helped anchor the right side of the New York City all-stars front line in a thrilling 35-27 win over the Long Island stars in front of about 8,000 people at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium last night.
Since blitzing was not allowed, the o-lines didn't exactly have to stand up under real game conditions. But Constant did not appear to miss any blocks or make any mistakes all night.
The NYC offense lines up (Constant is the down lineman furthest to the right)
Constant is actually a Long Island native, as his Uniondale home is just a few moments from the Hofstra campus. But he eschewed the academically weak Uniondale public school system for St. Francis Prep School in the Queens neighborhood of Fresh Meadows.
While he was the only confirmed future Ivy prospect in the game, (Penn's Brian Giesecke was originally scheduled to play, but dropped out and a defensive back named James Wittpenn was listed as going to Brown, but the Brown web site does not mention him), Constant was joined on the field by four future Fordham players, including two fellow starters on the NYC offensive line last night. The Patriot League was also represented by two incoming freshmen for Holy Cross.
At one point, Constant manned the offensive line along with incoming Fordham freshmen Wendell Joly and Adnan Vandyck, both from Fort Hamilton high school. He'll see them in 77 days when Columbia opens its season at Rose Hill.
Jake's Take: Constant showed decent speed and stamina, but he'll probably need to focus on his footwork and take a lot of time to learn the unique blocking schemes in Coach Norries Wilson and offensive coordinator Vinny Marino's system. But the size is there, and so is the potential for All-Ivy in the future.
He looks even smaller in person
The star of the game was tiny running back Antonio Walcott, (pictured above), another Fort Hamilton product. He's listed as 5"5 and 155 pounds, and when I saw him from the sidelines I could have sworn he was 10 years old. But he is extremely fast and he made quite a few gains where it looked like there was nothing there. Walcott is headed to the University of Maine, and I can tell you, (yep, it's another place I've lived), that area gets C-O-L-D in football season. I hope the chilly weather doesn't freeze his very small frame, but if he does get too cold, (and beefs up just a bit), maybe he can transfer to Columbia!
Boomer takes in the action from the NYC sideline
The Empire Challenge benefits Boomer Esiason's cystic fibrosis foundation. You can make a donation by clicking here. It began when Boomer's son Gunnar was diagnosed with the disease. I was happy to learn that Gunnar is doing pretty well and is currently in high school and even playing some lacrosse.
Shuart Stadium stands and press box
Hofstra has a really nice campus and football stadium, but the field is still the old-style astroturf. I wonder if that's hurting recruiting a little bit, now that everyone is going for the less injury-prone FieldTurf. The thing is, with its obligations to all-star games like this and the NY Jets, (the Jets train at Hofstra every summer), I don't know when Hofstra will get the chance to convert the field. They very well may be the victims of their own success. Of course, the Jets are planning to leave Hofstra in a few years, so maybe that will change Hofstra's fortunes.
Either way, I'd like Columbia to put Hofstra on its schedule again sometime soon. Hofstra is usually a the kind of top-notch team the Lions aspire to be. But I don't think Columbia would ever get flat out embarrassed by the Dutchmen. And a regular game could boost recruiting efforts on Long Island.
Columbia played 1 or 2 games at Hofstra as the home team when Wien Stadium was being built in 1983. I'd love to find out exactly which games they were, but I'm pretty sure the 21-18 win over Yale that season was at Hofstra, and that would be the last game the Lions would win for another five years.