Five Boro Pipeline
Don Jackson, center, was one of Columbia's and Stuyvesants' finest
We wish Fordham Prep's Bruce Grant congratulations on coming to Columbia next year, and we hope he can become the next young man from a New York City high school to blossom into a star for Lion football... but it's been a long time.
Consider this: the last 1st Team All Ivy Columbia player who came out of a New York City high school was Sean Cannon.
Sean Cannon was actually a two-time 1st Team All Ivy player at offensive guard... but that was in 1979 and 1980.
Yep, it's been 30 years since the Lions had a top player come out of a city school.
And you have to go all the way back to 1971, 39 years, to find an offensive skill player to make 1st Team All Ivy at CU after playing for a city high school. That player was QB Don Jackson '73.
But there is one good omen for the future...
Like Grant, Cannon came from a Catholic high school in the Bronx. In Cannon's case it was Cardinal Hayes HS on the Grand Concourse. Hayes was once a major pipeline to Columbia football, but that spigot has almost been turned off completely.
Jackson came out of Stuyvesant HS, still the number all-time feeder to Columbia football, (and probably the number feeder to Columbia, period), but fading fast with just one or two players coming to us from that school in the last decade.
On the team now, I expect Horace Mann graduate Dan Cohen to be a starting offensive lineman this coming season, fellow OL Carl Constant is a big body who is a good veteran out of Saint Francis HS in Queens. The only other New York City high school veteran is safety Mike Murphy from Staten Island's Saint Joseph-by-the-Sea.
The greatest New York City QB's in Columbia history were Sid Luckman and Eugene Rossides, both products of Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall HS.
Will the New York news media suddenly start filing five stories a week about Columbia football if Grant turns out to be a star in 2-3 years? I wouldn't bet on it, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Some degree of added media attention and fans in the stands would be a very likely result.
And while I think the overall quality of New York City high school football has fallen hard over the last 30 years, I still think the city schools are producing some great athletes who remain as a somewhat untapped resource for Ivy sports.
As for the other Ivies with city-bred athletes, Princeton may have the best prospect right now in rising sophomore defensive lineman Caraun Reid out of the Bronx's Mount Saint Michael Academy.
And of course, there's all the buzz over incoming frosh QB Cole Marcoux at Dartmouth. Marcoux is about to graduate from the Bronx's Fieldston School.
With big cities across the country facing so many budget cuts, you can't expect athletics to remain very strong in city high school systems like New York City.
But we can always hope.