Friday, June 12, 2009

3 Wide Out Set

Go deep. Real deep, like to that deserted island on Lost

I continue my look at 100 special players in Columbia football history with three more wide receivers to tide us over for the next 3 days in the 100-day countdown. (Days 99, 98, and 97).

He never racked up huge stats in his career, but Matt Fox '89 has become one of the most famous Lions because of a very successful TV and film career. Fox was not a wallflower on the field, however. Fox was a starting wide out on an offense that wasn't half bad in his senior season of 1988.

Here's how he described himself as a CU wide receiver to Sports Illustrated a couple of years ago:

SI: You were a wide receiver in college. What current NFL receiver would remind us of Columbia’s Matt Fox?

Fox: Joe Jurevicius [laughs]. He’s the guy who can do the 17-yard dig route, get clobbered by the middle linebacker and always get up. I prided myself on getting up no matter how hard I took it. I didn’t have great speed, so I had to make up for it with heart and good hands.

SI: You played in the 16-13 victory over Princeton in 1988 that broke Columbia’s record 44-game losing streak. How sweet was that win?

Fox: I had a 40-yard touchdown that was called back. It was a rainy day and the sidelines were muddy, and I got chucked coming off the line and apparently went out-of-bounds. I thought I scored, but it was called back. But more than anything, I remember the immense relief and euphoria that win brought. We had gotten the crap knocked out of us for a long time. Every week we lost, we were news. Then the goal posts came down, and the campus partied for two days. It was a great day.

A great day indeed.

Fox crept back into Columbia-centric news two years ago when he was named the Class Day speaker at Columbia College's 2007 graduation. Many students were upset with the choice, something I wrote about extensively at the time. (Hint: I wasn't too happy with those kids).

David Ramirez celebrates the win over Harvard, 1996 (COURTESY: Columbia Athletics)

David Ramirez '97

They first started letting freshmen play Ivy football in 1993, and this Edinburg, Texas native burst onto the scene right away with 2 TD catches as a first year. He was the top starting split end by his sophomore season and a team leader throughout.

His best season statiscally was the 1995 junior campaign when he grabbed 46 passes for 708 yards and 5 touchdowns. He finished his career 4th on the all-time list for receiving yards, but has since been pushed out of the top 5, (by Travis Chmelka and Austin Knowlin).

My favorite memory was Ramirez's game-winning TD catch in the 20-13 overtime win over Harvard to start the 1996 season.

Ramirez was an All Ivy honorable mention in both 1995 and 1996.

Jesse Parks '73

The 6-1, 175-pound Parks burst onto the scene as a sophomore in 1970, grabbing 29 passes for 443 yards and 4 TD's.

He became the Lions leading receiver in the magical 1971 season and remained on top as a senior in '72. He and QB Don Jackson were classmates and they started to click on the field in a close loss to Princeton in 1970. Three weeks later, they combined for a stunning deep-ball TD connection in a 30-14 win over Rutgers.

He was a 1st Time All Ivy member in 1970 and '71, falling back to second team in '72.

Parks was also a standout baseball player for the Lion nine.


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