Michael Quarshie...

Michael Quarshie

Personal: Michael was born in November 1979 in Erlangen, Germany... After living in Germany for six years and in Ghana for a short period, his family moved to Finland. He graduated from high school and completed his mandatory military service before moving to the U.S. to study and play football... While in the army, he finished as runner-up in the military-wrestling event at the Annual Military Combat Tournament... He graduated from Columbia University in February of 2005, and majored in Political Science... Before playing and studying at Columbia, Michael spent two years at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ.

Michael by the Numbers

Age: 26
Height: 6-2
Weight: 295 lbs.
Jersey No. 73

2005: Signed with the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe… Finished with 11 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery in first season of professional football… Signed with Oakland Raiders to be a member of its practice squad for 2005 season as part of the NFL’s international player development program.

2004: Finished third in the nation with 19 tackles for loss, including an NCAA record-tying eight vs. Fordham in season opener … National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame 2004 National Scholar Class … District 1 Academic All-America Team …Voted team captain and Most Valuable Player… Division 1-AA Academic All-Star Team … 1st Team All-Ivy League and Academic All-Ivy … Ivy-League Defensive Player of the Week.

2003: Second-team All-Ivy ... fourth on the team in tackles with 57 ... 12 tackles for a loss led team and was 11th in the conference ... two fumble recoveries was tied for fourth in Ivies ... had a sack vs. Yale ... Academic All-Ivy.

2002: Sat out season under NCAA transfer rules.

At St. Peter’s (2001 and 2000): Two-time letter winner ... second on team with 49 tackles as a freshman, 11 for 63 lost yards ... also had a team- and conference-best 9.5 sacks in 2001 ... two forced fumbles ... fourth in second year with 52 stops, 21 for a loss of 55 yards ... added 5.5 sacks ... helped Peacocks to 10-1 record as sophomore, good for second place in the conference ... named Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week in first season ... also made second-team all-MAAC as freshman... made The Sports Network Division I-AA Mid-Major All-American team as sophomore... Dan Hansen's Football Gazette I-AA Mid-Major All-American second team both as freshman and sophomore... All-MAAC first team as sophomore ... Selected Academic all-conference both seasons.

In Finland: Member of the Finnish men’s national team, which captured silver at the 2001 European Championships … member of the Finnish junior men’s national team, which captured the 1997 Nordic Championship … played for Helsinki Roosters club, winning Finnish Maple (Championship) Bowl in 1997, 1999 and 2000 … selected to League All-Star Team in 1999 … tied 1st in sacks in Maple League 1999 with 11… played in Eurobowl semifinals in 1997 and 1999.
Here is a story on Quarshie that gives you some insight into his attitude...

From Ivy League to Europe League

June 3, 2005

By Matt Hill

On a recent spring afternoon, Columbia University senior Michael Quarshie sat in the stands of Lawrence A. Wien Football Stadium in New York City watching his former team practice. His college career was over and his football future was uncertain.

As Quarshie walked up on stage two weeks ago to receive his diploma, his immediate plans had become much clearer. Despite coming from a small Ivy League school with an unspectacular sports program, Quarshie was pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL.

Days after critiquing Columbia football’s spring workout, Quarshie flew to Germany to join the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe. As an All-Ivy League defensive tackle with far less fanfare than his counterparts at major football schools like Southern California and Miami, Quarshie believed NFL Europe would give him the best shot at making it to the NFL.

“I had some free agency offers after the NFL Draft,” Quarshie said from his hotel room in Frankfurt. “But I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to come over here to Europe and play the rest of the season. I talked to my agent about it and had my stuff packed Sunday evening, a couple hours after the Draft. I was on the plane on Monday.”

Quarshie knew that the transition from Columbia football to the pros would not be a walk in Central Park. The Ivy League has long prided itself in academics over athletics, and as a result, fewer and fewer Ivy League football players have made a mark in the NFL in recent years. However, Quarshie welcomed this challenge, having faced similar adversity upon his arrival at Columbia.

Born in Germany, Quarshie was raised in Finland, where football was a foreign sport. At the age of 14, he began playing flag football. When he turned 15, he became eligible for full contact leagues and made his way up the junior ranks of the Helsinki Roosters football club before joining the senior team at the age of 18.

It took Quarshie a little while to get accustomed to the higher level of football in the U.S.

“The first week was really hard,” he said. “Everything was moving so fast that I couldn’t register. But it was just a matter of getting caught up to speed.”

Once he had caught up, it didn’t take long for Quarshie to excel. He officially graduated last fall with a degree in political science after being named first team All-Ivy. Last December, he was named to the National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete team.

A few months ago, Quarshie worked out in front of NFL Europe coaches in Tampa Florida who were determining the allocation of international players. Because of his European background, Quarshie qualified for “National” player status when he arrived at Frankfurt. In doing so, he joined Harvard’s Carl Morris of the Cologne Centurions as the only two Ivy League players in NFL Europe this season.

Quarshie had his best game to date for the Galaxy in a 20-17 Week 7 loss to the Centurions. He recorded three tackles and one sack and recovered a fumble – a good indication that his time in Europe is helping him develop as a player.

“It’s been a really great learning experience,” Quarshie said. “When you have coaches who have played for ‘X’ amount of years in the NFL, and that’s where you’re trying to get to, you obviously shut up and listen to what they have to say.”

However, while he is determined to make his NFL Europe experience a stepping stone to an NFL career, Quarshie refuses to look too far into the future.

“I’m just focused on improving my skills and improving my game,” Quarshie said. “Anything other than that, I really can’t control and can’t worry about. All of the teams scout this league. So the best thing for me to do is focus on this and we’ll see what happens after I’m done with it.”

Quarshie and his Galaxy teammates finish their season this Saturday, June 4 against the Hamburg Sea Devils.
Our Michael Quarshie had eight tackles for a loss in one game when playing in college for Columbia against Fordham in 2004....

Finn-ished product

Columbia's Quarshie an unlikely star


Eight days ago in upper Manhattan, on the first Saturday of his last year of college football, a Columbia defensive tackle with a No. 73 jersey and a background unlike anyone else spent almost as much time in the Fordham backfield as the Ram quarterback.

He bulldozed the line of scrimmage. He chased down screens. He threw ballcarriers around as if they were ragdolls. Fordham won the game, but that had nothing to do with Michael Quarshie, a Columbia Lion by way of Finland, Ghana, Jersey City and the sport of flag football. He got his start playing flag football. Don't remind him. "I didn't like it. I like to ram into people," Quarshie says.

Michael Quarshie is 24, a veteran of the Finnish Army, and the rarest of athletic pedigrees: a black, football-playing Finn. By game's end last week, the 6-3, 287-pound Quarshie, a senior captain, had an NCAA record-tying total of eight tackles for a loss.

Sami Porkka and Matti Lindholm are the biggest names in the microscopic orbit of the National Finnish Football League (NFFL). Sami and Matti may have to move over.

"There will be (top) guys in our league who will have eight tackles for a loss for the whole season," says Bob Shoop, Columbia's coach, who called it "one of the most dominant performances I've seen at any level."

Says Fordham coach Ed Foley, "Michael Quarshie is an outstanding defensive lineman."

Quarshie grew up singing in a renowned boys' choir in Helsinki, and looking for a sport to play. He wasn't much good in hockey, soccer, skiing, and let's not even get into ski-jumping, a Finnish passion.

"I've never tried ski-jumping, and I never would," Quarshie says, smiling. "Gravity wouldn't agree with me."

He is standing at the edge of Baker Field, the Lions' practice over, the sun setting over the Harlem River. His thickly muscled body is drenched in sweat. More than half the teams in the NFL - not the NFFL - have been in touch with Shoop about Quarshie, as well as the Lions' highly regarded tight end, Wade Fletcher. Sometimes it's still hard for Quarshie, or his parents, to fathom how fast things have gone.

"Football is very seldom even mentioned here," says Tuula Quarshie, Michael's mother, by phone from Finland.

Tuula Quarshie, a psychiatrist, met her husband, Emmanuel, a dentist, when both were studying in Germany. Emmanuel is from Ghana, Tuula from Finland. Michael was born in Germany, lived briefly in Africa and was raised in Helsinki. His family's worldly ways helped considerably as he began his own odyssey.

After a year of flag football, Quarshie, then 15, hooked on with a club team that played American football. He was a safety at first, but kept growing and lifting weights and soon moved up to the Helsinki Roosters, one of the top teams in the country. He met Porkka, who played for the University of Northern Colorado.

Impressed by Quarshie's dedication and burgeoning talent, Porkka urged him to check out American colleges, and helped him make a highlight tape to market himself.

Quarshie sent the tapes out to some 10 schools, scoured for leads, networking relentlessly with the smattering of American players who compete in Finland. For a year he heard nothing. As the 2000 season approached, Quarshie met Jeff Skinner, a former Wagner quarterback. Skinner brought his tape back to his alma mater, but there was no interest. He tried Monmouth, but there was no interest there, either, and then he went to St. Peter's, coached by Rob Stern, who liked what he saw.

By the fall of 2000, Quarshie was in uniform and didn't take long to become a stellar performer, no matter that the speed of the American game was a jolt at first, and so was all the terminology. When his coach told him one day he needed to watch out for a bootleg, Quarshie replied, "What's a bootleg?"

Quarshie, a quick study, helped the team to a 10-1 finish as a sophomore, making a number of All-American teams, and then decided he wanted an Ivy League education, and a higher level of football. He made another tape, sent it around. He hand-delivered one to Columbia, walking unannounced into the football office.

"I'm Michael Quarshie of St. Peter's College," he began. The coaching staff liked what they saw, and soon he had an academic scholarship to Columbia.

Quarshie sat out 2002, per NCAA transfer rules, and was second-team All-Ivy last year. A 3.6 student in political science, he has fit in seamlessly in Morningside Heights, in all ways. The Finnish word for sacks is sakki, and for tackles it's taklaus. He has made a lot of both.

"He's one of the smartest people I've ever met," Shoop says. "You talk to him and after five minutes you realize whatever he chooses to do in life he's going to be successful at."

The goal, for now, is to become the first Finn in the NFL. With a 375-pound power clean, a 530-pound squat and a 33-inch vertical leap, Quarshie is getting a lot of looks, and Shoop, for one, believes if he gets into the postseason all-star games, he will get even more.

Columbia took on Bucknell in its second game yesterday, and will play Princeton this Saturday on Homecoming Day. Quarshie's parents are flying in and will see Michael play in college for the first time. They will likely be impressed with what they see.

With practice complete, Quarshie yanks off his practice jersey and shoulder pads, and walks toward the Baker Field locker room. His next locker-room stop might even make him a bigger name than Sami Porkka or Matti Lindholm.

"I really love to play football," Michael Quarshie says.
More on Quarshie....

Michael Quarshie's Determination
Week One: vs. Fordham

Sean Leahy

The setting for the opening game was perfect -- the first crisp, cool night of late summer. The Lions were embarking on a season that many expected would build upon the 4-6 record in 2003. Shoop had told people since he took the job in early 2003 that he wanted expectations for Columbia football raised. And with returning starters at quarterback and running back, a returning all-Ivy second team tight end and a season of experience under a new regime, the expectations were greater than usual.

While Columbia was able to rally from an early 17-0 deficit, the Lions missed a late field goal that would have tied the game, and they could not connect all phases of their game in losing 17-14. The game foreshadowed a theme that would be repeated too many times during the season: close but not enough.
There were encouraging aspects, however, like the paltry 33 yards of rushing allowed and the scoreless second half produced by the Lions’ defense that allowed Columbia to climb back into the game.

And anchoring that defensive line was Columbia’s senior captain, defensive lineman Michael Quarshie. His eight tackles for a loss -- a feat Shoop described as a good season for many people -- earned him Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Long before there were football accolades for Quarshie, there was just a football dream hatched when he was growing up in Finland and struggling to find an identity. In those years, he was not successful at the popular local sports -- hockey, soccer and skiing. He also was not like the local kids. He was black -- his father from Ghana, and his mother from Finland.

When he saw American football on television, Quarshie wanted to try it as an outlet for his considerable energy. “Football was a huge, huge thing for me personally,” he said. “Because suddenly I did something I was very good at. I got recognized for it. Made a lot of friends through it. It did wonders for my self-esteem.”

He liked it so much that when he was about 16 he made it a goal to play college football in America. There were considerable challenges, but the determination that would later appear in his leadership of the Lions helped him get to Morningside Heights. His parents only begrudgingly approved of his playing football, and made certain that it would not conflict with school. And at school there was no football team. He played on club teams to which he sometimes traveled by bus for an hour to reach practice. Experiences like that fed his desire to compete.

In order to play college football, Quarshie had to be noticed. He made tapes of his game performances and sent them out to schools. He made friends with American players who were on Finnish teams, and asked them to show the tapes to contacts in the U.S. The process was long and at times discouraging, but Quarshie remained determined that he would succeed.

“Just waiting every single day, waiting for somebody to give you a call or something,” he said, “and then you get these bullshit letters, it was really frustrating. I thought sometimes that I wouldn’t make it, but I kept doing it though. Even though I did get depressed and frustrated, in the back of my head I knew it was going to happen somehow. Had I not gotten a scholarship, I would have taken a loan out and spent all the money I had and went to junior college for a year and hoped that through another year I’d be able to earn a scholarship somewhere. That’s what I was determined to do.”

Finally St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, N.J. offered him a scholarship and a chance to play football close to New York City, where he expected he could pursue career opportunities outside of football. After arriving there he realized that while he still wanted to play football, including taking a shot at the NFL if his talent would allow, he also wanted to prepare his mind to succeed after his physical skills deteriorated.

“I realized there are a lot of things that are out of your control when you’re a college athlete,” he said. “You do control your destiny to some degree, but there are things that you just can’t influence. You can’t control whether you get hurt or not. And there are other things. You might have run-ins with the coach or stuff like that. And so I realized that I wanted to make sure I got something more than just four years of football out of it.”

He identified the Ivy League as an ideal destination since it was an upgrade academically and athletically over St. Peter’s. But he didn’t want his game tape to sit in a box or to be forgotten among hundreds of others. So he decided to walk into the football office at Columbia and give the coaches an impression of his size, his desire to play football and his game tape.

After transferring and losing a year of eligibility, Quarshie’s first game for Columbia coincided with Shoop’s debut. The coach embraced his new defensive tackle not only for his ability but also for his maturity. “He’s like talking to a peer almost rather than talking to one of the student-athletes,” Shoop said of him.

It was his maturity, his life experience (he served six months mandatory service in the Finnish army before enrolling at St. Peter’s), and his age (at 25, he was the oldest player by 23 months) that set Quarshie apart from his teammates.

The players elected Quarshie one of three captains for 2004 not because he gave rah-rah speeches in the locker room but because of the example he set with his daily preparation and performance. He regularly led groups of players to the pool for extra training and therapy on their sore bodies, and he offered advice to younger players on matters ranging from improving their nutrition to surviving the grind of the long and arduous season.

Quarshie did not impose his thoughts on teammates, but gladly recommended to those who asked that maintaining their bodies was the most important part of their preparation. “I will do anything I can to keep myself in shape throughout the season,” he said, “because I want to perform every single game.”

Quarshie was similar to his teammates in that he pursued long-term career plans in fields like international relations and finance, but he was rare among Columbia players because he had a chance to move on to the NFL in 2005. Quarshie attended an NFL combine for international students in late February, and was hopeful that the roster exemptions the league gives teams to sign international players would help him catch on with a club.

“My ability to play football is not always going to be there,” he said. “And it’s not my only way of surviving. It’s not like I’m doing it because it’s my only shot of doing something significant. I mean I think I can do a lot of things besides play football. But I want to find out whether or not I can play [in the NFL].” Part of the reason he conditioned his 6-foot, 3-inch, 285 pound frame so carefully was because he knew he had a limited number of opportunities to showcase himself for NFL scouts.

While his individual audition may have been positive on that September opening night against Fordham, the team’s performance was not, and Quarshie was not happy. “It sucks having a good game and losing,” he said. “You can’t celebrate that.”
Here is some more information on Quarshie...

Qualified Quarshie

by Eddy Lentz

Columbia's Michael Quarshie has taken an unorthodox road to New York City. It began in his homeland of Finland, when he picked up a little known game called football. The game has taken him from Finland, to St. Peters College, to Columbia, where he'll captain the Lions in 2004.

Football in the New York City area has an unmatched history. Heroes like Columbia’s Sid Luckman and Fordham’s Vince Lombardi revolutionized the game. But in the early 1990s, over four thousand miles from New York, Columbia senior defensive lineman Michael Quarshie got his start playing a form of the game that was far from the smash mouth, high impact style Americans are accustomed to - flag football.

“At that time in Finland there was no youth football, and all kids under 15 had to play flag football,” Quarshie said. “You couldn’t tackle anyone, and you learned some bad techniques, so I took a break for a while and just lifted weights until I could play real football.”

The young student had a difficult time fitting into more traditional Finnish sports in the interim, but soon learned that his place on the defensive line was a better match.

“I played football because basically I wasn’t too good at anything else,” Quarshie said with a laugh. “I knew I was good at lifting weights, and after seeing a football exhibition game on TV, I decided I wanted to give it a try. I said, ‘If I can’t kick a ball or use a puck and a stick, I may as well hit people.’”

When his time came to hit the fields again, Quarshie took to “real” football like a natural. After starting with the TAFT club team, he switched to the Helsinki Roosters, where he continued playing during six months of service in the Finnish military. Quarshie captained the Roosters' junior squad during this time and played an integral role in the team's Eurobowl semifinals appearances in 1997 and 1999 and a first place finish in 2000.

The start of the traditionally American sport in Finland was encouraged by Finnish exchange students after watching and playing football in the United States. The Finnish League was created in 1979, yet there is still no professional organization in Finland. Luckily for younger players, a youth league was implemented to help them learn the game as kids. However, older athletes are still limited to playing for club teams.

Looking for more challenges on the gridiron and inspired by Finnish football legend, Sami Porkka, Quarshie made the trek from Helsinki, Finland, to the United States four years ago and entered St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, N.J.

Porkka, the first Finnish athlete to receive a full athletic scholarship in the U.S. (Northern Colorado), advised Quarshie on ways to develop athletically and gave him ideas on what he needed to do to get noticed professionally. With the help of Porkka, Quarshie eventually made a video tape to send out to coaches.

“Sami told me what coaches were looking for, and I modeled my training toward what he told me was important,” Quarshie said.

Club teams in Finland often bring in American players to suit up, and Quarshie made it a point to regularly introduce himself and ask them to show his tape to their coaches or anyone else who may be interested. Once his tape circulated, St Peter’s called, and Quarshie was bound for the United States.

Quarshie was an immediate impact at St. Peters, despite being forced to adapt to the faster version of American football. Quarshie and his defensive teammates led the MAAC in total defense at 263 yards per game and rushing defense at 103.5 yards per contest. His rookie performance earned him second-team NCAA Division I-AA All-America honors.

Even though Quarshie became an instant star for St, Peters, he says the transition was far from smooth.

“Without a question, my biggest transition when I came from Finland to the U.S. was just getting used to the language and the speed of the game,” Quarshie said. “The speed was a huge difference, and it took me a while to get used to that.”

The language barrier wasn’t easily overcome on the field or in the classroom.

“Academically, it was different to adjust to studying in a foreign language,” Quarshie said. “It took a long time to adjust.”

The language barrier often led to humorous incidents on the field too.

“We were preparing for a game at the beginning of my freshman season,” Quarshie said. “Coach was talking about a bootleg, and I had to say ‘Coach what’s a bootleg?’ We had to stop practice for them to explain to me what it was.

"But my teammates and coaches understood and were really patient with me. I also got a lot of work as a freshman and after a while I got the hang of it.”

Another major difference Quarshie discovered was the premium placed on football in the United States after arriving from a country where the game’s popularity lags far behind more traditional sports, like ice hockey and soccer. Many times in Finland a coach would play alongside his players and everyone would pay for trips and equipment themselves.

“I got here, and we had weight rooms for athletes and trainers taking care of us; I was like ‘wow this is awesome’,” Quarshie said. “I was used to carrying my own stuff around practice and doing everything myself. Now, being to the point where you have a lot people trying to help you achieve your goals, that’s pretty nice.”

After two-years of punishing opposing offenses at St. Peter’s, Quarshie transferred to Columbia, sat out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations and has now become a force to be reckoned with on the Lions’ defensive line. He has also become one of its most respected players. He was named team captain prior to the 2004 season.

After playing in some games in Finland where scores often approached triple digits, Quarshie said he really appreciates the level of competition in the United States, and particularly in the Ivy League.

“The caliber of play here is definitely higher,” Quarshie said. “I also managed to reach a sort of comfort zone at St. Peter’s, and one of the reasons I wanted to leave was I knew that in order to develop you can’t be in a comfort zone. There wasn’t a game where I felt totally comfortable last season (at Columbia). The Ivy League is very competitive.”

Columbia showed a renewed fire under first-year coach Bob Shoop last season, finishing with its best record since 1998 as well as taking two of its last three Ivy contests. After one full season with Shoop, Quarshie and teammates are looking to improve on last season’s marks.

“Finishing 4-6 isn’t where we wanted to be, but it’s an improvement and we’re hoping to build on that,” Quarshie said. “We had a lot of guys that were able to stay in New York City this summer, so we’ve been working pretty hard and are hoping to improve our record this year.”

An economics/political science major, Quarshie is preparing for life after football by participating in an analyst program in sales and trading with Citigroup this summer. Even with the NFL as a possibility after this year, the senior definitely understands the value of a well-rounded Ivy League experience.

“When I decided to transfer from St. Peters, I wanted to make sure that I got more out of this than just football,” Quarshie said. “I wanted to make sure I had something that would give me a good experience, and I felt Columbia would do that. Hopefully I can play in the NFL, but I think there will be a lot of different opportunities I can pursue; I’m pretty confident there are.”
Quarshie is a bright kid...





MORRISTOWN, NJ – November 1, 2004 – The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced today, its 2004 National Scholar-Athlete Class, which this year includes student-athletes from all NCAA divisions, I-A, I-AA, II, and III.

They are:



William Bajema Oklahoma State University TE General Business Oklahoma City, OK

Jeffrey Berk West Virginia University OL Education Dayton, OH

Trenton Franz University of Wyoming OL Civil Engineering Fort Collins, CO

David Greene University of Georgia QB Risk Management Snellville, GA

Josh Haldi Northern Illinois University QB Accounting Madison, OH

James Leonhard University of Wisconsin FS Kinesiology Tony, WI

Michael Munoz University of Tennessee OL Political Science Mason, OH

Bryan Randall Virginia Tech QB Sociology Williamsburg, VA


Brandon Mason Elon University OL Accounting Martinsville, VA

Michael Quarshie Columbia University DL Political Science Helsinki, Finland

Craig Unger Morehead State University LB Finance Greenfield, OH


Ty Touchstone E. New Mexico University FS Business Admin. / CIS Lubbock, TX


Thomas Cleaver Middlebury College WR Political Science Severna Park, MD

Rocky Myers Wesley College FS Biology Frederica, DE

John Woock Washington Univ. in St. Louis DB Biomedical Engineering Louisville, KY

“We are pleased to have an the opportunity to recognize college football’s best and brightest with these prestigious post-graduate scholarships, said NFF Chairman Jon F. Hanson. These gentlemen have set the standard at their institution for all future student-athletes to follow, and we salute them for their dedication in becoming standouts on the gridiron, in the classroom and in their communities.”

To be eligible for a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame post-graduate fellowship, the nominee must be a senior or graduate student in his final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have shown superior academic application and performance, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

TThhee NNaattiioonnaall FFoooottbbaallll FFoouunnddaattiioonn aanndd CCoolllleeggee HHaallll ooff FFaammee,, IInncc..

NFF Contacts:

Matt Sweeney…..... Special Projects Coord.
Phone………………….…… 800.486.1865
Fax…………………….….... 973.829.1737
Website….… www.footballfoundation.com
Address………………... 22 Maple Avenue Morristown, NJ 07960

“After thorough review of over 150 outstanding candidates representing schools of all sizes and all playing levels, the committee’s deliberations resulted in the selection of an exceptional 15 scholar-athletes,” stated Robert E. Mulcahy III, chairman of the Awards Committee and director of athletics at Rutgers University. Knowing the importance of these awards, the committee takes the charge of selecting the best and brightest seriously, and I applaud them for this effort.

These scholar-athletes will be recognized at The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s 47th Annual Awards Dinner on December 7, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Also being honored at the dinner will be the 2004 College Football Hall of Fame Division I-A Class, which will share the dais with these scholar-athletes.

Each scholar-athlete receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and that evening, one will receive the Draddy Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation, increasing the scholarship to $25,000.

With 119 chapters and over 13,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in America’s young people. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., PLAY IT SMART, The NFF Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College (Mass.), the NFL-NFF Coaching Academy, and annual scholarships of nearly $1 million for College and High School Scholar-
Quarshie Named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week

Defensive Tackle Tied I-AA Record for Tackles for a Loss vs. Fordham

Sept. 20, 2004

Senior captain Michael Quarshie (Helsinki, Finland) was named Ivy Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Against Fordham Saturday, he turned in what Head Coach Bob Shoop called "one of the most dominant performances I've seen at any level."

The defensive tackle, who led Columbia with 12 tackles for a loss in all of 2003, amassed eight tackles for a loss vs. Fordham, tying a Division I-AA record (stat kept since 2000) set by Western Kentucky's Sherrod Coates on Oct. 26, 2002. The Rams lost 41 yards on those eight tackles, making Quarshie the integral reason why Fordham produced just 33 yards rushing for the game; Jamaal Hunte and Jonte Coven, who averaged 126 yards per game between them in the Rams' first two games, had 76 total vs. C.U.

Quarshie had 11 total tackles (7 solo, 4 asst.).
Quarshie Selected to Division I-AA Academic All-Star Team

Senior One of 36 Named by Athletic Directors Association

Dec. 28, 2004

NEW YORK - Senior Michael Quarshie has been named to the Seventh Annual Division I-AA Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star Team (DI-AA ADA), the Association announced. Quarshie was one of 36 members selected from 86 nominees by the six-member Review Committee.

Quarshie, who earlier this month received a post-graduate scholarship from the National Football Foundation, was one of four Ivy Leaguers named to the team. The Lions' 2004 co-captain was also chosen District I Academic All-America in November.

Football players from all Division I-AA institutions are eligible for the DI-AA ADA Academic All-Star team. Each of the 86 nominees was required to have a minimum grade-point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) and have been a starter or key reserve "with legitimate athletics credentials." He must have reached his second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominating institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominating institution. He must also have participated in 50 percent of the games played at his designated position.
Quarshie Selected to First-Team District I All-America

Senior Co-Captain Will Advance to National Ballot

Nov. 11, 2004

-- Senior defensive tackle Michael Quarshie has been named to the 2004 Football Academic All-District 1 Team, as chosen by members of the District's College Sports Information Directors of America. Quarshie, a political science major, will now be included on the national ballot for Academic All-America.

Quarshie, a team captain, was one of four linemen, 12 defensive players and 24 overall players to earn the regional honor.

Recently, he was one of three Division I-AA players to be named to this year's National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Scholar Class.
Unconventional Finn just getting started

Talented Columbia defensive tackle hopes to turn teen obsession with American game into NFL career

By Jill Lieber

NEW YORK — Columbia defensive tackle Michael Quarshie grew up in Helsinki, Finland, but stinks at winter sports.

He sang soprano in a noted European boys choir but gave football a try when his voice changed.

He speaks four languages (sometimes in the same conversation), interned in sales and trading at Citigroup last summer, is doing an independent research study on Finnish poetry, will graduate in December with a degree in political science but has his sights, and his heart, set on pro football.

“All my life, I've been different,” the 6-3, 287-pound Quarshie says. “I've never been one to do what everybody else is doing. I'm the guy who breaks the mold.”

Today, Quarshie, 24, is trying to become the first Finn to break into the NFL. A senior tri-captain for the 0-4 Lions, he's the most dominating defensive lineman in the Ivy League. He leads the Ivy with 14 tackles for loss, double the second-place total. He had an NCAA all-division record-tying eight Sept. 18 against Fordham. He runs 40 yards in 4.8 seconds and has a 33-inch vertical leap. And he has a 3.6 grade-point average and has been named to the dean's list.

“He's one of the most mature college football players, and one of the smartest people, I've ever been around,” says Lions head coach Bob Shoop, a 1988 Yale graduate with a degree in economics. “He's incredibly intelligent, driven and focused. He'll be successful at anything he does.”

Quarshie was bred to excel. His mother, Tuula, who is Finnish, is a psychiatrist. His father, Emmanuel, who is Ghanian, is a dentist. Michael, the oldest of two boys, was born in Erlangen, Germany, lived in Ghana for several months when he was 6, then, a year later, the family settled in Helsinki. At 9, he auditioned for Cantores Minores, the prestigious Helsinki Cathedral boys choir, and became a first soprano.

“I didn't have an interest in sports,” Quarshie says. “A lot of people make assumptions about Finns — that we're great at winter sports. Frankly, I (stink) at them.”

Being one of the few dark-skinned people in a blond, blue-eyed land helped make Quarshie an independent thinker.

“Michael matured earlier in social relationships,” Tuula says. “He had to think of problems other children don't have to face early on in life — who he was, why he was different. It gave him a strong sense of self.”

When he was 14, while taking a sabbatical from choir as his voice was changing, Quarshie saw a football game on TV between two Finnish teams and was instantly smitten. So he signed up for flag football with the Helsinki Roosters, one of the most successful American football clubs in Finland. He hated every minute.

“You couldn't tackle anybody,” he says.

But he stuck it out until he turned 15 and became old enough to play for the Roosters' 18-and-under tackle team.

“I became obsessed with American football,” says Quarshie, who put himself through a crash course on the game, buying tapes over the Internet of NCAA and NFL games. Once a month, he drove two hours to train with Anna-Maija Yliluoma, a world-class powerlifter. Some seasons, he played for two Roosters teams.

“He gave his all, six days a week, in the rain and snow,” his father says.

All that devotion paid off. In 1999, Quarshie led the Roosters to the Eurobowl semifinals, was named a Maple League All-Star and had a league-leading 11 sacks. After completing his mandatory Finnish military service, he reached a fork in the road: college in Europe or football in America?

Quarshie chose the road less traveled.

“There's nothing higher you can shoot for than the NFL,” he says.

Defensive end Sami Porkka, the first Finn to receive an NCAA football scholarship (Northern Colorado), suggested Quarshie make a highlight tape to send to U.S. colleges. Quarshie also networked with Americans playing in the National Finnish Football League. Jeff Skinner, a former Wagner quarterback, forwarded the tape to St. Peter's College in Jersey City.

Quarshie was an instant hit there. In his first two seasons, 2000-01, he made Division I-AA midmajor All-America teams. He had a 3.86 GPA in the political science and classical civilization honors program.

Then he needed bigger challenges. So he made a new highlight tape and sent it to Ivy schools — except for Columbia, where he hand-delivered it to the football office.

To comply with NCAA transfer rules, Quarshie sat out the 2002 season. Last year he led the Lions with 12 tackles for loss and was second-team all-Ivy and academic all-Ivy. Shoop, whose brother John is quarterbacks coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, says Quarshie is “on the NFL's radar screen” and has spoken to scouts from most every NFL team. He's also is trying to get Quarshie into an all-star game.

“Michael's somebody I'd want my two sons to emulate,” Shoop says.

After graduation, what will Quarshie's future hold? “Nothing has jumped out at me except football,” he says. “One day I'd like to live in Asia, because it's one place I've never visited. But right now I want to play in the NFL, and I'll live anywhere I can to get the opportunity to play.”
Michael Quarshie Headlines Columbia's Arthur Ashe Sports Scholars

Quarshie Earn First-Team Recognition

May 16, 2005

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Rajeev Emany, Megan Griffith and Michael Quarshie were named to the 2004-05 Arhur Ashe Sports-Scholars Teams. Quarshie and Emany were named to the football and men's tennis first team respectively, while Griffith was named to the women's basketball fourth team.

To be considered, a student of color must compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2, and be active on his or her campus or in the community.

Quarshie, who graduated in the fall with a degree in political science, was a first team All-Ivy defensive tackle for the Lions. He was named to the National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete team, Academic All-Ivy team and the Division I-AA Academic All-Star team. He was a team captain and the recipient of the David W. Smyth Memorial Cup, awarded to the Columbia football most outstanding player.

Emany was also an All-Ivy honoree and recipient of the Jeremiah Courtney Tennis Cup, as the team's outstanding player with consideration for leadership and inspiration. He ended his distinguished four-year career at Columbia with a second team All-Ivy selection. With a 14-4 record in dual matches and a sparkling 6-1 season in the Ivy League, Emany was a crucial part of the Lions' success. Four of his wins came in straight sets as he scored a point in every one of the Lions' wins this season. Emany will graduate this month with a degree in economics

Griffith started every game this season for the Lions in the point-guard spot. Elected team captain in just her sophomore campaign, Griffith ranked third on the team in scoring at 7.9 ppg and led the team in assists with 3.5 per game. She ranked sixth in the Ivy League in assists, second in free throw percentage (.875) and 14th in steals.
Quarshie's Stock Rises as Member of NFLE's Galaxy

Former Lion Positions Himself for a Shot at the NFL

May 11, 2005

NEW YORK - Michael Quarshie has been playing professional football for two weeks, and has posted four tackles for the NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy. "Playing for two weeks" in this case does not just refer to competitions, but rather includes getting signed, flying about 4000 miles to Germany, practicing, learning a playbook and watching film.

Two weeks.

And, already, his stock is rising.

Quarshie had an edge to begin with. As a Finnish citizen, he has an advantage over American players in earning a spot on an NFL roster by playing in the NFLE.

"As a European player, Michael was in a most unique position," noted his agent, Bob Boland '87, himself a former Columbia football letterwinner. "Michael had an incredible opportunity not open to American players to play immediately in NFLE, making him eligible for an NFL developmental roster spot this year. In other words, he would be guaranteed a practice squad slot rather than going directly to an NFL camp as an undrafted free agent with a one-in-five chance of getting that same result."

The 2004 Columbia captain and two-time All-Ivy honoree is making the most of his opportunity thus far. He played about 15 snaps in his first weekend vs. the Rhein Fire. One week later at Amsterdam, he had three tackles vs. the Admirals.

"I made a play against Rhein last week and a few against the Admirals," Quarshie said, "but I also made some mistakes."

Quarshie, who diligently continues to study film just as in his career at Columbia, is the third defensive tackle in a three-man rotation at that position.

"Things move faster and the players are better than what I'm used to," explained Quarshie, "but I'm already adjusting to it and I'm learning a lot."
Michael Quarshie Signed to Oakland Raiders' Practice Squad
Former Lion Defensive Tackle Joins NFL as Part of International Development Practice Squad Program

June 14, 2005

NEW YORK - Michael Quarshie, former Columbia captain and Ivy League-leader in tackles for a loss, has been signed to the Oakland Raiders' practice squad, NFL Europe announced. Quarshie, who had recorded 11 tackles and a sack since joining NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy in late April, becomes a part of the Raiders' roster for the 2005 season as part of the NFL's International Development Practice Squad program. Under this program, he cannot be moved to the active roster, but he cannot be released during the season either.

"I am excited about the opportunity," said Quarshie from his home in Helsinki, Finland. "Being able to stick with a team for a year is a big help."

Quarshie was one of eight international players selected by NFL teams in the process. He was a two-time All-Ivy League selection and was named to the National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame's Scholar Athlete team in 2004.

"The quality of our national players continues to increase every year," NFLEL Director of Football Operations Mike Chan said on NFLEurope.com.

"I learned a lot from the six weeks I was in Germany," said Quarshie of his stint in NFL Europe.

He is waiting for paperwork to be completed, which will take from two to four weeks. At that time, he will head for California to prepare for the season.
dang, you found two pages of info on Quarshie. thats some damn cold detective work MM. I know who to come to if i need to find 2pac and Elvis.:D

The kid did ok against the 3rd stringers of the saints. but nothing to give a good idea of his value to our roster.

That is how I feel about Quarshie and Hawthorne. I am a little nervous about the DT position.
Angry Pope said:

That is how I feel about Quarshie and Hawthorne. I am a little nervous about the DT position.
we are definately taking gambles at that position. But we have to gamble on the youth at some point, rather than let them make their bones somewhere else. with that said, I think its still possible we add one more str8 up NT type before the season starts. depending on how much of rashard moore can return to his former self.
I'm nervous abotu the DT postion too. I still not sure what the roataion will be and whether these guys can help get ot the QB more consistently.
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.