Thursday, May 06, 2010

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.

How long?

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.


At Fri May 07, 02:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I recall you posting a link to a song that was on youtube written by former player Jon Rocholl that was all about Columbia football, it looks like he and his friends have made a music video (which I must admit, is pretty funny) showcasing some great shots of NYC. Maybe the football program could incorporate this into recruiting somehow? This link to it is:


At Fri May 07, 05:17:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, how about encouraging all of your readers to come out the Baker Field tomorrow to cheer on the Lions as they go for the baseball championship against Dartmouth. coach Boretti has turned around a moribund baseball program into a model for athletic success, and he has put the lie to the old canard that we can't be winners because Baker Field is a 20 minute ride from campus (actually 15 minutes on a good day).

At Fri May 07, 10:17:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some people who can't stop mentioning the bus ride to Baker Field, even in defense. Let go of that already, it's not an issue any more so no need to keep bringing it up and reminding people about it! (And besides, there are many players in different sports who enjoy that ride for team camraderie. It should be viewed as a positive.)

At Fri May 07, 11:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about the bus ride(never bothered me when I was there), and the Lions Baseball program. See you there tomorrow!!


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