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Season Tickets 2011: “Let’s Get this Done!”
You now have just TWO more days to lock in your Columbia Football season tickets at the rolled back 2010 prices!!! Click here and get started!
The deal is good through June 30th.
FYI: I’ll be in my usual chairback seats in section D.
You often hear people say that there isn’t much of a real improvement for Ivy players between their freshman and senior years.
They say good players aren’t really made by the coaches and experience.
But Columbia has had so many players who emerged as seniors just in recent years alone that it’s hard to make that argument stand up.
Consider players like Darren Schmidt ’07, an unknown starter for three years who broke out as a senior in 2006 to lead the Ivy League in sacks.
In 2007, Eugene Edwards was a surprise monster in the secondary and special teams.
In 2009, seniors Jared Morine and Ray Rangel had break out years. In fact, Rangel was on a pace for a 1,000 yard season before he was injured at Dartmouth in week 6.
Last year didn’t feature too many breakout seniors, but Craig Hamilton was an exception as he did a super job returning kicks and in the secondary all season long.
Of course, people like Alex Gross, Andrew Kennedy, Calvin Otis, Adam Mehrer and many other seniors had great 2010 seasons. But none of them was an “unknown quantity” coming into that year.
So, who are my picks to be “breakout seniors” in 2011?
One easy choice is Mike Stephens. No, he’s not an unknown player to Columbia fans and he’s a two-time captain returning for a 5th year senior season.
But because he missed just about 100% of 2010, the rest of the league has not seen what the pumped-up Stephens can do. In his junior year, he had just 20 receptions and one TD playing in the shadows of Austin Knowlin, Taylor Joseph and Andrew Kennedy.
Kurt Williams is another player with “breakout senior” written all over him. As he enters his second full season as a college football wide receiver, Williams has added experience to his already impressive physical attributes as he prepares for 2011. I would be surprised if Williams doesn’t outdo the 27 receptions for 400 yards and two touchdowns he achieved in 2010.
Two other senior WR’s, Mark Muston and Paul Havas could play surprise rolls. Muston has great size and Havas has great speed.
FB Nico Papas could do some damage this fall depending on what kind of offense the Lions run throughout the season. Columbia’s mostly spread formation attack doesn’t usually give fullbacks much of a roll.
Hard-running David Chao could surprise. He’s been impressive in the last two spring games and exhibits great fundamentals. With speedsters Nick Gerst and Marcorus Garrett already in the backfield, Chao could get a shot to do some power running this fall.
On defense, I would not be surprised to see great things from Neil Schuster at DB. Again, he’s not really an unknown quantity up to now but he is not well known around the league and that’s likely to change.
DL Ben Popeck is also not exactly unknown. You could argue his junior season was already a breakout year with 42 tackles. But Popeck seems primed to make an even bigger impact in his final year.
I know the only real dark horses I mentioned here are Chao, Havas and Muston.
But if any of the other players noted above make All Ivy, that would be considered a big surprise by the standard “Columbia-ignorant” experts around the league.
Top 100 Moments of 2010
#81: Calvin’s First Pick
If Columbia thought they could breathe easy after taking a 21-10 lead early in the fourth quarter against Towson in week two, that feeling didn’t last long.
Hakeem Moore returned Greg Guttas’ kickoff to the Tiger end zone all the way back to his own 32 yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage, Towson QB Chris Hart completed a 25-yard pass to the Lion 43.
But Towson’s aggressive play backfired on the next play when Hart’s deep pass was picked off by Calvin Otis who made a pretty play to grab it at the Columbia nine.
It was the first of three interceptions for Otis who also had 40 tackles and eventually made 1st Team All Ivy.