Roar, Lion, Roar: A Celebration of Columbia Football

People > Players 1960s-2000s > Johnathan Reese

Johnathan Reese

Johnathan Reese, 2005. Courtesy of Columbia Athletics.

Click here for item information

Johnathan Reese, CC 2002

Johnathan Reese put a record-breaking four-year spell on Morningside Heights and was the focus of every defense he lined up against in college.

He graduated from Columbia as the school's all-time leading rusher (3,321 yards), a two-time honorable mention All-American and cemented his place in Columbia football folklore with perhaps the most dominant season in Columbia's history, when he rushed for 1,330 yards with 18 touchdowns and averaged 36.

Reese made an immediate impact upon his arrival at Columbia. In his first game, rushing for 72 yards in limited duty, he helped the Lions notch up a 24-0 shutout over Harvard in the 1998 season opener. Although not a starter, he rushed for 417 yards on 99 carries to help him win Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

Then came his phenomenal junior season in 2000, perhaps the most spectacular individual year any Lion ball carrier has ever had. Reese put together a string of master class performances (including a single-game record-breaking 236-yard performance against Dartmouth), making it the most prolific rushing season in Columbia's long football history. A magical season was rounded off with an All-Ivy League first team selection and All-America honorable mention. 

He would go on to captain the Lions during the 2001 season, leading the team to three victories in the Ivy League, the most for the program since 1997.

Columbia University Libraries / University Archives / Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-3786 /