Most people do not look at the NYC area as a breeding ground for NFL level talent, but if you look hard enough, you can find players will do more then just make a roster at the next level. The very first player you notice when you talk about NYC area players is Fordham University’s talented Quarterback John Skelton.
While Fordham had some difficulty early on this season coming off a down 2008 after the Patriot league title in 2007, they seem to have righted the ship on the throwing arm of the talented 6”6” Skelton and his 6”5” younger brother Stephen, who is the teams’ tight end. Skelton also has the talented Asa Lucas at wide receiver, and Xavier Martin at tailback. Skelton Is lighting up the competition, with consistent performances of well over 300 yards every game (last week he threw 20-27-420 yards and five touchdowns against Cornell in a 39-27 win. Four of the scores were on passing plays of 50 or more yards). Skelton has been proclaimed by some, as a “Top Ten” quarterback. While he has a high level of skill, he most likely will be a day two selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. Still, he manages to turn heads every time he steps on the football field. Fordham plays Lafayette this weekend who are always a strong team.
Moving over to upper Manhattan, Columbia University has put a team on the field that some are calling the best in many years at the school. One player who is gaining recognition outside of the Ivy League is wide receiver/return specialist Austin Knowlin. While he has gathered accolades within the Ivy before, Knowlin is now perceived as a legitimate candidate to play at the next level. He needs only 135 years coming into this weekend (10-24) to set the all time receiving yardage record in Lions history. Five others at Columbia who are gaining some notice are running back Ray Rangel, quarterback M.A. Olawale, OL’s John Siler, and Evan Sanford, linebacker Cory Cameron and strong safety Andy Shalbrach. Columbia Travels to New Hampshire this week to play Dartmouth in an important road meeting.
Moving over to the Long Island teams, Hofstra once again has a few players who could easily get the chance to play on Sunday next season. One is Senior quarterback Cory Chirstoper, who at almost 6’2” and 251 pounds can remind you of Daunte Culpepper with his athletic style. One of his bodyguards on the offensive line is Mike Trice who weighs close to 360 pounds, and can play both guard and tackle. Although Trice has been part of an offensive line rotation and not a starter in the true sense, we have seen enough of him to know he is a prospect. Also Jimmy Mangiero and David Spinach deserve mention here. The Defense has two stellar defensive backs in Leslie Jackman and Ray McDonough. Hofstra already has an upset win over James Madison, and a road win against Rhode Island, they need to move their overall record to 5-3 and get a critical CAA win at home.
Finally out at Stonybrook, coach Chuck Priore has a few prospects on his squad of gridders as well. Defensive backs Cory Giddings and Chris Richards have continually made it difficult for opposing wide receivers to do their jobs this season. Defensive lineman Chris Perri has also been noticed this season for his work upfront. As has linebacker Tyler Santucci in the middle. On the offense three seniors who have interested us are wide receiver Stephan Towns, lineman Chris Pugliese, and running back Conte Cuttino. With a 3-4 record and a big game this week against Costal Carolina that will be shown on television you can expect this group to be playing all out.