Ivy Power Rankings, Senior Profiles, & Gross Goes Pro!
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Alex Gross with two of his biggest fans
Alex Gross to Play Pro Ball in Europe
One of Columbia's all-time great linebackers, Alex Gross '11, has signed on with the Graz Giants and will play pro football in Austria beginning early next year. The season actually starts in March.
Alex tells me the level of American football in Austria is the best in Europe, and he opted for Austria over Canada because he wants to get a chance to live and experience European culture.
The Giants head coach is Rick Rhoades, who has an extensive coaching resume at the college level in the States. Alex spoke especially highly of him.
I don't think I have to remind any readers here how good a player Alex was for the Lions. He was the 2007 Ivy Rookie of the Year, 1st Team All-Ivy as a sophomore and a senior, and only a terrible injury in his junior year stopped him from making the All Ivy team that year as well. After that injury, Alex came back even stronger last season. He has been sorely missed this year.
I know we all wish Alex the best in Austria and hope that he replaces the "Sound of Music" with the sound of some bone crushing tackles!
Ivy Power Rankings Week 9
After looking a bit vulnerable last week at Columbia, the Crimson make a big statement with an easy win over Penn. Harvard rushed for 204 yards and held Penn to just 24 net yards on the ground.
The Bears are still #2, but a more distant second to Harvard after a surprising 21-16 loss to Dartmouth at home Saturday.
The Quakers got surprisingly sloppy Saturday and blew a chance to three-peat. Will Penn fall back further next season?
Played Princeton a little too close for comfort, but the win over the Tigers last season was even closer.
The win at Brown changes everything. A good showing this coming weekend against Princeton could really save Buddy Teevens' job.
Jeff Mathews proves the next two seasons in Ithaca should be a lot of fun as he shreds the Big Red passing record book in the 62-41 win over Columbia. But there's still no running game or consistent defense.
The Tigers really need a QB. I can't believe that senior Tommy Wornham is really the best they have. Either way, he's graduating soon and his last game is this Saturday.
Expect big changes here in about six days...
Over the next few days, I will do my best to offer a short tribute to each and every one of the outgoing seniors. Their final game is just five days from now and it must seem like it's ending so fast for them and their families.
Paul Havas (5th year)
A rare Canadian import, Havas came to Columbia as a speedy QB and made the switch to wide receiver last season. Has two TD catches this season, including a spectacular grab for a score at Princeton.
Because he's Canadian, (where they have an extra year of HS), did an extra year of prep school at St. Paul's, and because he's in his fifth year at CU, Havas is almost 24 years old. Staying in college and with this team for so long shows his serious commitment to football.
Mike Murphy (5th year)
Sadly, New York City high school players rarely make an appearance on Columbia football rosters anymore. But Staten Island's Murphy is an exception to that rule.
Murphy has made the most of this 5th year, contributing nicely on kickoff returns and in the secondary.
His INT in the Yale game this season was a snow-bound beauty.
Mike Stephens (5th Year)
Broke into the starting lineup as a wide receiver and punt returner his sophomore year and immediately had an impact. A tough and quick receiver, Stephens has absorbed some of the roughest hits I've ever seen in the Ivies.
It's not a stretch to say that Mike has sacrificed his body several times over for this program.
A two-time captain, my favorite memory for Mike was his TD catch that sealed the 38-0 win over Princeton in 2009.
He will really be missed.
I hope against hope that Adams will find some way to get into the game at least for a play or two this Saturday.
Adams remains a good bet to get to the NFL and has worked very hard to improve his stock as a potential pro player.
As soon as he broke into the starting lineup in 2009, the Columbia running attack improved greatly. It's rare that one player can make that kind of impact.
It's hard to think of any Lion who has been put into a tougher position over the years than Jerry.
As a backup to both M.A. Olawale and then Sean Brackett, the hard throwing Bell has had to replace two QB's who play the game much differently than his traditional passing style.
But he's never shied away from that tough emergency duty and his service will not be forgotten.
A rare West Virginia import to the Lions, Cecil has plugged a lot of holes in the Columbia offensive line over the years.
I know it's hard to remember considering the struggles the Lion offensive line has had this season, but remember that 2009 and 2010 were strong seasons for that unit and Cecil was a real contributor to that.