When Syracuse University Running Back Joe Morris came home to Ayer, Mass. the other day for a respite before submitting himself to the rigors of August football practice, his mother greeted him, unseen, from elsewhere in the house. "Joe, clean your feet," she hollered.
"And don't mess up my kitchen."
"And wash your dishes."
"And close the door unless you want to pay my electricity bill."
So it was that Joe Morris, 20, the leading rusher in the history of Syracuse football (3,105 yards and this year still to play) was welcomed home. This was the same Joe Morris who had—in three seasons, including 1980, when he was hurt and missed five of the 11 games—eclipsed all the rushing records of the great Syracuse backs before him: Jim Brown (2,091 yards), who went on to establish the NFL career rushing record of 12,312 yards; the late Ernie Davis (2,386 yards), the Heisman Trophy winner who in 1959 led the Orange to their only national championship; Floyd Little (2,704 yards); and Larry Csonka (2,934 yards). Morris also shattered Csonka's single-game school rushing record (216 yards against West Virginia in 1965) by blitzing Kansas for 252 yards in 1979.
Measured against this crowd, Jim Nance, who led pro football in rushing (1,458 yards in 1966) after completing his Syracuse career, and John Mackey, a running back briefly at Syracuse before becoming an All-Pro tight end for the Baltimore Colts and being voted the Ail-Time Team's outstanding tight end in 1969 by the Hall of Fame selectors, are also-rans.