November 06, 2020

The Seven Blocks of Granite

In the 1920’s Notre Dame had the Four Horsemen backfield, Illinois had the Galloping Ghost and in the 1930’s Fordham created its own legend.

The Nickname Was Rediscovered

The 1936 Fordham Rams were in route to an undefeated season when Fordham’s sports information director looked back at a small newspaper clipping from 1930. That article referred to Fordham’s linemen at the time as the Seven Blocks of Granite and it seemed even more fitting in 1936. The nickname was revived, and this time it stuck.

In the one platoon era, Fordham linemen, played both offense and defense. A season finale upset loss to New York University ultimately cost them a Rose Bowl bid, but despite this blow Fordham still had a dominating year, shutting out three opponents while outscoring adversaries 128-33 during the season.

Leading the team was head coach, Jim Crowley, one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, and line coach Frank Leahy. Leahy was a member of Knute Rockne’s last three teams and won National Championships in 1929 and 1930. Leahy would later go on to have success as the head coach at Boston College and won five National Championships as the head coach of Notre Dame.

Their Legacy

Members of the Seven Blocks of Granite went on to achieve success in their careers and several members of the line served in WWII.  The storied group also produced two College Football Hall of Famers and two Pro Football Hall of Famers, cementing each members’ legacy in college football lore. 

The Seven Blocks of Granite

- John Druze (Right End, Junior, 187lbs) was known as Tarzan, he was captain of the 1937 team, and place kicker. He was an 11th round pick (93rd overall) in the 1938 NFL Draft, playing one season for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

- Al Babartsky (Right Tackle, Junior, 205lbs) 1st Team All-America 1937. Following his career at Fordham Babartsky played six seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Cardinals (1938-1941), and Chicago Bears (1943-1945).

- Nat Pierce (Left Guard, Senior, 181lbs) 2nd Team All-America 1936. Following his Fordham days, worked as a line coach under Jim Crowley, Fordham’s head football coach. He served in the Navy during WWII.

- Leo Paquin (Left End, Senior, 185lbs) 3rd Team All-America 1936. After Fordham, he was approached by the New York Giants to play professional football. Instead he took a coaching position at Xavier High School in Manhattan where he would remain for the next four decades. He worked as football coach, athletic director, and England and Latin teacher. He also served in the Navy during WWII.


The Seven Blocks of Granite

Alex Wojciechowicz – Center – Junior 192lbs

1st Team All-America 1936

1st Team All-America 1937

CFB HOF Class of 1955, Pro Football HOF Class of 1968

In 1936 he became a consensus All-America selection and again in 1937. He was a 1st round selection (6th overall) by the Detroit Lions. He played for the Lions from 1938-1946, and Philadelphia Eagles from 1946-1950. In 1969, he was selected to the NFL’s 1940’s All-Decade Team.

The Seven Blocks of Granite

Vince Lombardi – Right Guard – Senior 185lbs

Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1971

Following his career at Fordham, Lombardi went on to coach at the high school, collegiate, and professional ranks. Most notably for the Green Bay Packers from 1959-1968 where he won 5 NFL Championships, including the first two Super Bowls. He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1959 and 1961. Finishing with an NFL career coaching record of 96-34-6.

The Seven Blocks of Granite

Ed Franco – Left Tackle –Junior 198lbs

1st Team All-America 1936

1st Team All-America 1937

CFB HOF Class of 1980

During his career at Fordham Franco moved from guard to tackle. In 1936 he was named first-team All-America, and consensus in 1937. He was a 5th round selection (31st overall) by the Cleveland Rams in the 1938 NFL draft, however, he did not stay with the team. He returned to Fordham as a line coach for six years. In 1944, he returned to the NFL and won the starting tackle job in his first game with the Boston Yanks. Eventually he worked for Vince Lombardi as a scout for Green Bay and Washington.

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