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Ernie Davis (1961)

Heisman Heroes
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Ernie Davis, the Elmira Express, was recruited to Syracuse by Jim Brown to carry on the Orangemen's tradition of rushing excellence. And all he did was win the Heisman Trophy four years later, the first African-American to do so. He became such a hero, that President John Kennedy even asked to meet him.

After a lackluster postseason as a collegiate all-star, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia. But as he fought the disease, he also found the strength to maintain the Syracuse tradition, recruiting future All-America Floyd Little.

Davis died at 23 in May, 1963, but the memory of the player Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder called "the perfect kid," lives on forever.


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