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Bruce Wood at the Big Green Alert Blog is asking for your input on who the best QB’s for each Ivy school have been since the formal foundation of the league in 1956.
With two more years to go in the brilliant Sean Brackett’s career, this would be my Columbia top 5:
1) John Witkowski
2) Archie Roberts
3) Marty Domres
4) Don Jackson
5) Mike Cavanaugh
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Otis, Claude Benham, Bruce Mayhew, Craig Hormann.
Roberts is definitely the best overall athlete to play the position at Columbia in the last 70 years. But Witkowski was such an astoundingly good passer that you can’t deny him the top spot.
Domres and Jackson were incredible competitors with a lot of talent. Domres gets the edge because he was just that much more talented and had a pretty decent run in the NFL.
Until Brackett came along, Cavanaugh was the best total package QB many of us had ever seen. He’s the biggest reason the Lions posted their first winning season in 23 years in 1994. But a terrible injury in his senior season robbed him of what probably would have been the numbers to vault him higher on this list.
Benham was a great runner and jump passer who was Columbia’s first All Ivy QB. Mayhew had a monster season or two in some lean times. Hormann had a tremendous gun for an arm and was basically the entire Columbia offense in the solid 2006 season. Jeff Otis had fantastic personal numbers in the exciting 2003 campaign.
For those of you unfamiliar with Witkowski, suffice it to say that he put up ridiculous stats at an absolute nadir for the Columbia football program.
He twice passed for more than 3,000 yards in a season, no one else in Columbia history has had more than 2,500 yards passing.
He tossed 29 TD passes in his junior year of 1982, and 23 in ’83. No one else in CU history has had more than the 19 TD passes Brackett threw last season.
He made the careers of three of Columbia’s greatest all-time pass targets, WR’s Bill Reggio and Don Lewis and TE Dan Upperco.
The list of his attributes goes on and on.
John had the NFL equivalent of a “cup of coffee” in the pros, getting some playing time with the Detroit Lions in the mid-1980’s.
If Brackett can parlay his talents into winning seasons his final two years, he would probably displace Cavanaugh or Jackson on the list. Grabbing the number one spot is not outside the realm of possibility, but unlike Witkowski Brackett will need to bring victories to go along with any statistical feats. The stakes are higher now and the Columbia program is too improved to elevate the offensive leader of a one or two win team to join the all-time greats.
As a starter, Brackett already has six wins under his belt and that is a lot more than the measly three wins Witkowski enjoyed from 1981-83.