A previous poster is correct in saying that Mike Murphy joins Paul Havas and Mike Stephens as the third 5th year senior this coming fall, not the two I said yesterday.
The senior class is 24-players strong and includes key starters like Stephens, Jeff Adams, A.J. Maddox, Kalasi Huggins, Ben Popeck, Nick Mistretta, Chris Groth, and, (if healthy), Owen Fraser.
But it’s the junior class that really carries what seems like a very big load coming into the 2011 season.
Obviously, Sean Brackett is the leader for the juniors at QB. But he needs to have help from his fellow juniors, especially RB Nick Gerst, DE Josh Martin, OL Xander Frantz, DE Seyi Adebayo, DE Will Patterson, LB Ryan Murphy, and DB Steven Grassa.
These are the juniors who will all have to step it up in ’11 to make things happen in the win column.
A big concern for the Lions is at linebacker, where Columbia has just 10 returning veteran players and loses all its regular starters except for Mistretta. That puts some pressure on Ryan Murphy, the only rising junior with significant effective playing time at the position.
The crucial tight end slot also doesn’t get any help from the junior class with no one from that class even listed at the position.
Of the five rising junior wide receivers, it looks like Ian Cummins and Brian DeVeau are the best of the crop.
But I think the four key juniors not named Sean Brackett for 2011 will be Josh Martin, Ryan Murphy, Xander Frantz, and Nick Gerst.
The Lions may really need all of them to have All Ivy-type years this fall.