NEW YORK—For the third consecutive season, Columbia Football will welcome a top-25 nationally ranked recruiting class to the University this fall as Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli announced its 2018 signing class on Friday afternoon.

 

Columbia Football’s Class of 2022 was ranked No. 14 nationally in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision by Hero Sports and writer Brian McLaughlin. The ranking follows Bagnoli’s first full signing class in 2016, which was ranked No. 3 in the FCS by 247Sports.com Saturday Blitz, and last year’s 2017 class that was ranked No. 25 nationally by Hero Sports.

 

“Our coaching staff has done a tremendous job of putting together this recruiting class,” said Bagnoli, who begins his fourth season at Columbia. “We are extremely excited to get to work with these young men and include them into the mix with the players we’re bringing back to the team.”

 

Columbia Football’s Class of 2022 is comprised of student-athletes from two nations and 21 different states including four players each from Florida, California and Texas, three from Tennessee and two athletes apiece from New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia and Canada. The Lions also signed one student-athlete from Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Washington, Kansas, New Hampshire, Virginia and Oregon.

 

In addition, Columbia’s Football Class of 2022 consists of 18 All-State honorees, 15 student-athletes who guided their high school teams to either a state title or state finals appearance, 29 team captains, 27 multi-sport athletes, 35 players who earned all-conference and all-district honors and 18 four-year high school football letterwinners.

 

For a full list of the Class of 2022, Columbia’s 2018 preseason roster is available here. To access the list, click on List View, then click on the Yr. column and the list will appear. Each incoming student-athlete will have a full written bio and one or two highlight video embeds.

 

Columbia returns 15 of 22 starters (eight on offense and seven on defense) and 58 total lettermen from a team that posted an 8-2 record and finished second in the Ivy League with a 5-2 record for their winningest season since 1996. In addition, Columbia began a season with six straight wins for the first time since 1996, completed the school’s longest win streak since 1935 (seven games) and posted one of the nation’s top-five best yearly comebacks in the FCS with a five-win improvement from 2016 to 2017. Along the way, it was the Lions’ resiliency, toughness and work ethic that captured the attention of their fans, the New York City media and national media members alike.

 

Six All-Ivy League picks return in First Team wide receiver Josh Wainwright (78 catches for school-record 1,001 yards, 8 TD), Second Team safety Landon Baty (66 tackles, 4 INT, 1 FR, 2 FF) and honorable mention honorees in wide receiver Ronald Smith (31 catches for 437 yards and 4 TD in only 7 GP), linebacker Michael Murphy (42 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 2 FR in 8 GP), offensive lineman Markham Paukune (10 consecutive starts) and kick returner/defensive back Will Allen (507 yards on 21 KOR). Returning offensive starters also include wide receiver Kyle Castner (24 catches, 286 yards, TD), tight end Rory Schlageter, left guard Charlie Flores (23 career starts), center Tyler Schonewolf (20 consecutive starts), right guard Parker Coogan (10 consecutive starts) and on defense, right end Mike Hinton (18 career starts, 25 tackles), linebacker Jalen Williams (32 tackles, 2.0 sacks), linebacker Sean White (48 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 2 INT), defensive back Ryan Gilbert (team-leader with 95 tackles) and defensive back Ben McKeighan (37 tackles, 2 INT). In addition, a variety of other key players who saw extensive action return in 2018. Columbia’s 2018 team captains include Baty, Castner, Hinton and Paukune.

 

2018 Football season and 2018-19 True Blue ticket packages are now on sale. Designed for our most loyal fans, the package includes a season ticket to Columbia football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball at a discounted rate. The True Blue package is your gateway to all of the great football and basketball action plus our interactive in-game fan experiences and enhanced game day atmosphere. Click here or call 888-LIONS-11 to purchase your 2018 season tickets or True Blue package today!

 

Columbia opens its 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 15 when it travels to Central Connecticut State. The Lions’ first home game is on Saturday, Sept. 29 when it hosts Ivy League rival Princeton at Robert K. Kraft Field. A complete fall 2018 Columbia football schedule is listed at this link.