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Syracuse All-time Leading Rusher Joe Morris Named ACC Football Legend
School rushing king Joe Morris has been selected as Syracuse University’s representative in the 2019 ACC Football Legends Class, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Morris will join 13 other greats as honorees during the ACC Night of Legends at the Charlotte Convention Center on Friday, Dec. 6. The class will also be recognized during the on-field, pregame festivities at the 15th annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game set for Saturday, Dec. 7 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
A four-year starter at running back for the Orange from 1978-81, Morris logged 813 carries for a team-record 4,299 yards (5.3 avg.) and 25 touchdowns. He also excelled as a kick returner, running back 40 kickoffs for 1,004 yards (25.1 avg.) and two scores.
Overall, Morris holds outright or shares 16 Syracuse records, including the single-game (252 vs. Kansas, 1979), single-season (1,372 in 1979) and career rushing yardage marks. Additionally, he is the program’s all-time leader in rushing yards per game (113.1), 100-yard games (22) and all-purpose yards (5,581).
The Ayers, Massachusetts, native posted three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, including his rookie year of 1978 when he became the only freshman in team history to reach the milestone. Morris finished the campaign with 1,001 yards and was named ECAC Rookie of the Year.
The next season, Morris authored the finest one-year rushing performance in Syracuse history. He ran for a school-record 1,372 yards and seven touchdowns on 238 carries (5.7 avg.). He also led the Orange to their first bowl victory in 18 years, closing the season with 155 yards to propel the Orange to a 31-7 triumph over McNeese State in the 1979 Independence Bowl.
Morris’s list of collegiate honors includes All-America certificates in 1979 and 1981, and the 1980 ECAC Offensive Player of the Year Award, an honor he shared with Yale’s Rich Diana, despite playing only six games because of injury.
Following his Orange career, Morris was selected by the New York Giants in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft. He spent eight seasons (1982-88, 1991) in the NFL, including seven in New York. While with the Giants, Morris set franchise career rushing record with 5,296 yards (since broken). He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and helped the team win its first Super Bowl title in 1986.
A member of Syracuse’s All-Century Team, Morris’ No. 47 jersey was retired by the school in 2018.
Previous Orange standouts to be honored as ACC Football Legends include Floyd Little (2013), Art Monk (2014), Chris Gedney (2015), Tom Coughlin (2017) and Don McPherson (2018).
2019 ACC Football Legends Class
Joe Nash (1978-81), Boston College, DL
Brian Dawkins (1992-95), Clemson, FS
Christopher Port (1986-89), Duke, OT
Ron Sellers (1966-68), Florida State, FL
Derrick Morgan (2007-09), Georgia Tech, LB
Deion Branch (2000-01), Louisville, WR
Bernie Kosar (1983-84), Miami, QB
Julius Peppers (1998-2000), North Carolina, LB
Nate Irving (2006-10), NC State, LB
Rickey Jackson (1977-80), Pittsburgh, LB
Joe Morris (1978-81), Syracuse, RB
Don Majkowski (1984-86), Virginia, QB
DeAngelo Hall (2001-03), Virginia Tech, CB
Bob McCreary (1958-60), Wake Forest, OT/DT