Although Reid Englert seriously considered several Ivy League football programs, one stood out to him.
The one on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Englert, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior lineman at Ridgefield, recently announced (via Twitter) that he had verbally committed to Columbia University.
“I like Columbia’s program because of the coaches and the connection I’ve made with them over the past year,” Englert said. “Coach [Al] Bagnoli is one of the winningest college coaches of all time, so it will be incredible to play for him.
“I’ve always wanted to play in the Ivy League, which I think is a cool conference,” Englert added. “I really love the campus and the opportunity to get an amazing education in the greatest city in the world. I was getting recruited by other Ivy and Patriot league schools and had some other offers, but Columbia felt like the best fit.”
Englert said that Columbia began expressing interest in him last winter.
“They really liked my junior year [game] film and we continued to communicate throughout the spring,” he said. “They invited me to their Junior Day in April and that’s when they made me an offer.”
Englert is one of the only two-way starters for Ridgefield, playing left guard and defensive end. Columbia recruited him for the latter position, which is fine with Englert.
“I would say I prefer defensive line,” said Englert, who has 12 tackles, including eight solo stops, in Ridgefield’s first three games. “I like defensive line a lot because I’m able to utilize my speed, athleticism and different moves to try and beat my guy. I also like offensive line because it is very physical.”
“Reid is a very rare player; he checks every box, especially he is hard working above all,” said Ridgefield head coach Kevin Callahan. “He plays very physical and fast with a great motor on both sides of the ball. Columbia loves that he is an aggressive, tenacious player that can fill several of their needs on the field.”
While Ridgefield’s 3-0 start (including victories over New Canaan and Staples) has surprised many observers, Englert isn’t among them.
“No, I’m really not surprised … we have a lot of returning starters who are getting more and more comfortable each week,” Englert said. “Individually and as a team we have been working really hard throughout the whole off-season and we are getting better each week. We have a great combination of size and speed this year, and are really looking to prove ourselves.”