Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Already in the Fold, Part 1

Leon Ivery (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

I'm as guilty as the next guy when it comes to getting a little too giddy about incoming freshmen recruits and rising sophomores who might break into the starting lineup.

But I hate forgetting about existing starters or regular backups who usually have an even better chance to emerge as leaders for the upcoming season. I resolve to feature a few of these returning veterans, especially while we're in spring practice mode.

A good case of emerging greatness from the veterans' ranks last year was Ray Rangel. I was always impressed with Ray's work ethic, but I didn't think he could pick up his game as a senior like he did last year.

Before he got injured and lost for the season in the Dartmouth game, Ray was close to a 1,000 yard pace for rushing. And he finished the season with a steallar 5.8 yards per carry average.

So who could be this year's Ray Rangel?

Let's consider the case of Leon Ivery.

Ivery only played in six games in 2009, but his stats and his style were very impressive. He had 232 yards on 48 carries for a 4.8 yards per carry average. Even if you strip away his 75-yard near-TD run against Yale you still get a better than 3.3 yards per carry average for Ivery.

More important than stats, I really liked the way Ivery ran in pressure situations. He especially made some key runs in the season ending wins over Cornell and Brown.

Ivery came to Columbia from the Menlo School in the Bay Area. He had phenominal high school rushing states, but painful bone spurs in his feet pushed him off the BCS recruiters most wanted lists. He excelled on the JV team in 2007 and 2008, but did not play with the varsity until last year.

Is Ivery the kind of back who can carry the ball 20-25 times per game? I'm not sure. And I'm not sure that will be necessary with the depth of existing and incoming talent we have at tailback. But Ivery had an impressive debut for the varsity in 2009 and there's no reason why he couldn't edge out the rest of the field and become a more featured weapon in the Columbia attack.


At Thu Apr 01, 04:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rangel showed what could be done with dedication! But, the coaches (I assume) didn't think enough of him to grant him an award. Not very encouraging for others.

At Thu Apr 01, 05:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ivery's our "Mr. Inside." He made a huge contribution to the team's year-end surge with his powerful running off-tackle. I see him as Columbia's #1 running back with talented players like Kouroumna, Gerst, Chao as well as several members from the standout freshman group all competing for playing time. What's great is we finally have some genuine breakaway runners in the backfield.

At Mon Apr 05, 09:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray Rangel definitely deserved some type of recognition. He was a great example of perserverance and was leading the league before he got hurt.

The Gerst kid the is wild card. He just needs a shot. This may be one of the best backs Columbia has seen in years.


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