No. 24 on our SU Top 100 was the first two-sport athlete at SU since the great Jim Brown. Excelling in both football and track, Qadry Ismail set multiple Big East hurdle records while also leaving his mark as an All-American, on the gridiron.
On the football field, Ismail enjoyed plenty of success as a wide receiver, but certainly left his mark on special teams as well. The former Orange great racked up over 1,300 career receiving yards at Syracuse and was also a handful for opponents as a kick returner. He certainly came on strong in the pass game for his last two seasons at SU, but Ismail made his presence felt right off the bat. while returning kicks as a freshman.
Ismail’s freshman and sophomore years were certainly his highest in volume as a returner. In both 1989 and 1990, Ismail returned over 30 kicks, topping 700 return yards in ’89 and notching 699 in ’90. After becoming more involved as an offensive weapon in Paul Pasqualoni’s offense as a junior, his workload on special teams was scaled back just slightly, but Ismail was still certainly utilized on both ends.
As a junior in 1991, Ismail had his best season in average yards per kick return and even took one to the house. He also snatched 37 receptions, for 693 yards and three touchdowns. Furthermore, Ismail was also a part of the running game for the Orange in the ’91 season – rushing for 216 yards on just 12 carries, scoring three touchdowns. By season’s end, Ismail had helped lead the 1991 squad to a 10-2 record and Hall of Fame Bowl victory (over No. 25 Ohio State), while taking home All Big East honors as a receiver and an All-American selection as a kick returner.
Ismail would return to shoulder the same workload, as a senior in 1992. Just as he did the year prior, Ismail most certainly answered the call. His stats were close to identical, except this time, Ismail helped lead the Orange to a No. 6 final ranking at the end of year, following its Fiesta Bowl win over No. 10 Colorado.
After his days on The Hill, Ismail was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He would ultimately go on to enjoy a successful 10-year career in the pros, playing for five different teams and helping the Ravens capture their Super Bowl XXXV victory in the 2000-2001 season.