NEW YORK—This is the ninth and final part of a preseason series previewing each of the 2017 Columbia Football position groups. For our final position group preview, we take a look at Columbia’s quarterbacks in 2017.
As Columbia enters its first game week, here is a look at what fans might expect from the Lions’ quarterback unit upon heading into the Lions’ first game against Wagner this Saturday. Quarterbacks coach Ricky Santos has presided over a group that features senior Anders Hill and a host of youthful but talented quarterbacks.
A senior, Hill is back to anchor an offense that improved with every game. Starting eight of 10 games in 2016, Hill completed 144 of 268 passes for 1,651 yards and 10 touchdowns and also rushed for 258 yards on 132 carries and two touchdowns. He ranked among Ivy League leaders in several categories including passing average (No. 6 at 165.1), passing efficiency (No. 7 at 111.8) and total offense (No. 5 at 190.9). Most impressive and most memorable is what Hill accomplished over Columbia’s final three games of the 2016 season against Harvard, Cornell and Brown, a period which saw him complete 60 percent (49 of 82) of his passes for 616 yards, six touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli has been pleased by Hill’s development from the end of the 2016 season, through 2017 preseason drills.
“As coaches you are always encouraged when you can look back at last year’s tape and see the same kid playing quarterback since that’s a pivotal position in today’s football,” Bagnoli said. “We are encouraged by that. He did a terrific job last year. Skyler Mornhinweg was the incumbent. Anders prepared like he would have a key role, Mornhinweg gets hurt, Anders takes advantage of it and I think brought his game to a different level. He’s a big, strong, physical kid, so he’s got tremendous arm talent. He can make all the throws. He can throw the ball to the field, he can throw the ball on comebacks and he’s a kid that I think can be a threat running the ball. I think he’s a guy that will flourish now that he’s comfortable in the system, he’s got some snaps, he’s got some confidence. I think we’ve surrounded him by some better players both up front and in the skill positions. We’re hopeful that he can continue his growth from last year and we’re optimistic that he can take the next step to be an elite player in this league.”
Backing up Hill will be a host of quarterbacks including junior Ryan Suitt, sophomore Matt Dame and junior Daniel Hong, while first-years Josh Bean and Dillon Davis will both factor into the depth chart. All have talent and unique strengths.