Countdown to College Football Kickoff 2015 Day 39: Larry Csonka, a Rare Breed


The 2015 college football kickoff just 39 days away, and one of the greatest fullbacks to ever lace up a pair of cleats wore number 39 at Syracuse. Larry Csonka

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Immediately when you hear the name Larry Csonka you generally think of the Miami Dolphins, and his power running for coach Don Shula’s teams. But Csonka made his mark in college as well, wearing number 39 and playing fullback for Syracuse from 1965-1967.

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At 6-foot-3 and nearly 250 pounds, Csonka didn’t have the typical build of a running back, which is why in high school he lined up at defensive end. His ability to run the ball was discovered completely by accident, as he came in as a substitute on a kick return unit and proceeded to bowl his way over would-be tacklers.

During his freshman season at Syracuse they tried him at middle linebacker, but Csonka knew he wanted to run the ball, and once he was allowed onto the varsity team, his running style and skills were showcased.

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In his three seasons with the Orange(men), the tagged “big and slow” Csonka rushed for a school record 2,934 yards, including busting out 100 yards in 14 different games, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He broke school records held by legendary running backs such as Ernie Davis, Jim Nance, Floyd Little, and Jim Brown.

Csonka went on to be the 8th overall pick by the Miami Dolphins in the 1968 NFL Draft, and was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989. Truly a one of a kind running back whose size and style you rarely see on the field anymore.

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