Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gregory, Crawford and Prosper

Ted Gregory Today

Day 85: Ted Gregory '74

The Middletown, Ohio came to Columbia in 1970 as a wide receiver who many thought wasn't big or strong enough to make an impact.

Then, Head Coach Frank Navarro switched him to the defensive side of the ball and by the time he was done, Gregory would have put in a career that would later earn him a spot on the Ivy League Football 25th Anniversary All-Time team.

Gregory made opposing teams crazy in the secondary and as a kick returner. He started his Ivy League career with a bang in his first Ivy League game against Princeton in 1971. In a game Columbia eventually won, Gregory intercepted Tiger QB Rod Plummer and went 56 yards for the TD to make it 13-7.

Gregory finished that season as an Honorable Mention All Ivy, but he was a 1st Teamer in both his junior and senior seasons of 1972 and 1973.

Gregory remains very close to the Columbia program and was my guest for a great interview during halftime of the Lafayette game last season.

Star of Two Prides: Tad Crawford as a BC Lion

Day 84: Tad Crawford '07

The Ontario native broke into the lineup right away as a freshman and played in all 10 games in 2003. Then in each of his next three seasons, he ended up as the Lions top tackler for the year. His biggest impact came in his senior campaign of 2006 when he also came in third in the Ivies for tackles. He was also a very steady punt returner, bringing stability to a position that had been more than a little shaky in the season before he got the job.

Now Tad is in the middle of his third season in the Canadian Football League, going from the Columbia Lions to the British Columbia Lions. In 2007, he had an outstanding rookie season with BC after being selected by the Lions in the 3rd round of the CFL Draft. He wound up with 9 defensive tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.

Last year Tad avoided the sophomore jinx, recording 11 defensive tackles while adding another 12 on special teams. His highlight game of the season came against Edmonton on Aug 8th when he grabbed his first career interception and a blocked punt which resulted in a TD by teammate Rick Foley.

Day 83: Prosper Nwokocha '06

Originally, Nwokocha wanted to follow his brother Chuck and play for Harvard. But he settled on coming to Columbia and he ended up as one of the best corners and kick returners in CU history.

Harvard would come to really regret not grabbing Prosper in 2003, when his two interceptions sealed a shocking 16-13 win over the Crimson at a windy Wien Stadium.

My second favorite memory of Prosper was his kickoff return for a touchdown that turned things around in a 23-17 win over Fordham in 2005.

Nwokocha now works in Dallas as a personal banker at Bank of America.


At Sun Jun 28, 07:51:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, your profiles of the 100 Columbia players are just great. Ted Gregory, Tad Crawford and Prosper Nwkocha were all outstanding defensive backs at Columbia. I remember Ted from the seventies. He was a very good player. For a moment, I thought Ted may have been our first African-American Football Captain, but then I remembered that Harvey Brookins was the captain in 1959 and Spencer Ramsey in 1970. Am I correct, Jake, that Harvey Brookins was the first? I hope you include him in your profiles, Jake, as he was an exciting running back and possibly a trailblazer for all the many guys of color who have come after him. Spencer Ramsey was a very good defensive end and pass rusher from Alabama.


Post a Comment

<< Home