SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE ATHLETICS) – Syracuse greats Dwight Freeney and Marvin Harrison are 2021 candidates for induction in the National Football Foundation (NFF) College Hall of Fame.
Freeney and Harrison, who played seven seasons together in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts, are two of the 78 players and seven coaches from Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools included on the 2021 ballot that was released today by the NFF.
This is the third year in a row Harrison is being considered for enshrinement and Freeney’s first time on the ballot. The Orange currently boast 18 College Football Hall of Fame members, second-most among ACC schools.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.4 million people have played college football and only 1,027 players have been inducted,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The Hall’s requirement of being a first-team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game.”
Freeney was a dominant force for the Orange from 1998-2001, setting the Syracuse career records for tackles for loss (50.5) and forced fumbles (14). He registered 104 tackles in his four seasons at defensive end and finished second in school history with 34 sacks.
A two-time unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection, Freeney turned in the finest individual season by a defensive player in team history as a senior in 2001. He set the NCAA single-season records (since broken) for sacks (17.5) and forced fumbles (8) in his final collegiate campaign on his way to being voted a unanimous All-American and the BIG EAST co-Defensive Player of the Year. Freeney was also a finalist for the 2001 Lombardi, Nagurski and Bednarik Awards.
Freeney was chosen by the Colts with the 11th pick in the first round of 2002 NFL Draft. He went on to earn seven Pro Bowl invitations over 16 seasons with the Colts (2002-12), San Diego Chargers (2013-14), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Atlanta Falcons (2016), Seattle Seahawks (2017) and Detroit Lions (2017).
In 218 career NFL games, Freeney logged 341 tackles, 63 tackles for loss, 125.5 sacks, 16 passes defended, 47 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He retired in 2018 and was inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor in 2019. At the time of his retirement, Freeney was tied for 17th in NFL history in sacks and ranked fifth in forced fumbles.
A star for the Orange from 1992-95, Harrison was a three-time All-BIG EAST selection at wide receiver and led the conference in receiving twice. In 1995, he caught 56 passes for a then school-record 1,131 yards (20.2 avg.) and eight touchdowns. He also averaged a BIG EAST-best 16.8 yards per punt return, running back 22 punts for 369 yards and two scores. For his efforts, Harrison was named the 1995 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year and garnered first-team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Sporting News as a punt returner.
Harrison finished his Syracuse career with 135 receptions for 2,728 yards and 20 touchdowns. His career receiving yardage total stood as the program record for more than two decades before it was broken by Steve Ishmael (2,891) in 2017.
In 1996, Harrison was selected by the Colts in the first round of the NFL Draft. An eight-time Pro Bowler, he played 13 years in Indianapolis before retiring after the 2008 season. Harrison totaled 1,102 catches for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns in his NFL career. At the time of his retirement, he held outright or shared more than 30 Colts team records and his 1,102 receptions ranked second in league history. Harrison was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
The 2021 College Football Hall of Fame ballot was emailed today to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF Honors Court, which will deliberate and select the class. The announcement of the class will be made early next year.
Members of the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame class will officially be inducted during the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7, 2021 at the New York Hilton Midtown. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2021 season.