Over the last couple weeks, Syracuse.com’s been naming the top 25 Orange sports figures of all-time. The list includes many of the players (and coaches) you’d expect across SU’s sports: Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Boeheim, Donovan McNabb, Carmelo Anthony, the Gaits...
Where things get tougher is when you get further down the list, past the most obvious names and onto the more debatable ones -- and the ones that maybe pre-date some of our time.
You should check Syracuse.com for the full list. But our list here includes the key names that were left off the top 25:
The Powell Brothers
Since the list allowed for groups of players, this “omission” group likely starts with Ryan, Casey and Mike. The three brothers accounted for nearly 900 points in their careers, along with four combined titles. They’re critical parts of the history and tradition of the number 22 at Syracuse. Mike, in particular, became a transcendent star and ambassador for the sport across the country.
Until this year, Freeney was the program’s most recent All-American. And while a member of the Orangemen, he managed 34 sacks (second all-time) -- including 17.5 sacks in one season, which is a school record. He also set an FBS record with 11 combined forced fumbles and recoveries in one year. He’s one of a handful of players in the conversation for best SU defensive football player ever. And all of that’s before his standout NFL career.
From 1992-95, Moten scored more points than any other Orange player before him (or since). His 2,334 points came in just 121 games (average of 19.3 per). While Moten failed to assemble the impressive postseason resume of many other Syracuse greats, the beauty of his game and his scoring ability were nearly unmatched in school history.
Gerry’s further down the list in terms of scoring from Moten, but his contributions to some of the best recent memories of Syracuse fans can’t simply be forgotten. Obviously his six first-half threes in the 2003 National Championship were pretty essential to Syracuse’s title that year. And the 2006 Big East run is still arguably the best individual performance that tournament has ever seen (and will ever see).
Morris gets overlooked because he played during a pretty dead era in the history of Syracuse football (1978-81). Yet, he’s the school’s career leader in rushing yards by over 800 yards and the only player in SU history to run for more than 4,000 yards over the course of his career. He averaged 113 yards per game, while scoring 25 touchdowns and tallying 22 100-yard games. He’s no 44, but as far as running backs go, he’s as close to them as it gets.
There are certainly other players you could consider here. But that’s where the comment section’s most useful for this discussion. Who else would you all include in this SU top 25?