Joe Morris followed in the footsteps of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little, shattering almost every record they had. It only made sense for him to take their number as well. Head Coach Dick MacPherson offered number 44 to Morris for his senior season, but the tailback decided he was not worthy. Instead, he made a name for his number 47.
Morris ranks first in program history in career yards (4,299), yards per game (113.1), carries (813) and 100-yard games (22).
For the three number 44’s to be ranked ahead of Morris on this list is still understandable, but 35th is too low for the All-American.
The biggest dent on Morris’ resumé is the team struggles when he played from 1978-1981. The Orange went 19-25-1 in his four seasons on the Hill, but Morris had no support. His quarterbacks combined for a touchdown-interception ratio of 21-49. Defenses knew the Orange were running, and they still could not stop the 5’7” speedster.
Then again, many Syracuse fans believe Morris set the program up for success later in the 1980s.
But it’s important for Syracuse fans to appreciate Morris for who he was as a player, and what he meant to the program, rather than compare him to Brown, Davis and Little. He never wanted to be the next ____. He wanted to be the only Joe Morris.