Tuesday, January 12, 2010

QB's of the 2000's: Jeff McCall

Jeff McCall

I'll be releasing my Columbia team of the 2000's later this month, but I thought that it would also be great to take a longer look at some of the young men who played the key positions over the last decade for the light blue.

Of course, the most key position of them is quarterback and Columbia had 12 different players start at least one game at QB in the 2000's.

The man at the helm as the decade began was Jeff McCall '02 out of Detroit.

McCall had the good fortune to play his entire career with super tailback Johnathan Reese '02, but he still ended up throwing the ball a lot, often with spectacular results.

McCall actually won the starting job just before the decade began, emerging from a crowded battle for the spot in 1999 to finish with 817 yards passing and four TD's in his sophomore season. He ended up starting 24 games overall in his career, with the Lions going 8-16 in those games.

Overall for his career, his stats were mixed.

His 375 completions on 648 attempts made for an impressive 57.8% completion percentage. But he never had a 2,000 yard passing season and his overall yards passing were 4,250 for a 6.5 yards per attempt figure. Not bad, but not great.

His best stat may be his TD-to-INT ratio. He tossed 31 touchdown passes in his career to 25 interceptions. Not many regular Columbia QB starters finished with more TD's than picks.

While he put up some better yardage numbers in 2001, I thought McCall's best season was 2000. It started with a super-efficient 13-of-18 for 172 yard performance in a 43-26 win over Fordham in the season opener. Then he finished the season with back-to-back 300 yard passing games; a 17-29 for 349 yards, 1 TD, no INT performance against Cornell and a another 17-29 for 307 yard game against Brown the following week. He finished 2000 with a .577 completion percentage, 13 TD passes and just nine INT's. Columbia finished 3-7, 1-6 Ivy.

In 2001, McCall led the Lions to another 3-7 year, but Columbia was 3-4 in the Ivies and more competitive overall.

In the Lions first win of the year at Dartmouth, McCall was 23-34 for 213 yards, two TD's and one INT. The following week against Yale, he helped the Lions pull out another win with a 17-31, 241 yard, two TD, one INT game.

Looking back at his career, it seems like the Lions didn't quite get enough wins that they could have with someone as athletic as Jeff McCall at the helm at QB for so long. But you could say the same thing about Columbia QB's like Marty Domres, Archie Roberts, and of course John Witkowski.

But also like those other Lion greats, McCall was a good team leader and highly respected by his teammates. He recently received his MBA from Harvard.


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