Former Syracuse great Monk inducted into College Football Hall of Fame

Art Monk didn’t think he had the talent to succeed in football. So when he earned a scholarship to play at Syracuse, it came as a surprise to both him and his family.

Over 30 years later, Monk said he was surprised once again to learn he was being inducted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, adding another accomplishment to Monk’s stellar football career. The former Orange wide receiver was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

But on Tuesday, he was honored for his career at Syracuse. He was inducted during a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

“This is quite an honor for me. I grew up loving the game of football not too far from here, White Plains, N.Y,” Monk said on Tuesday at a press conference. “But I never thought I had the ability or the talent to really do anything with it.”

The former Syracuse great finished his SU career with 31 kickoff returns for 675 yards, and also returned 44 punts to rack up 430 yards. During his senior season in 1979, Monk caught 40 passes for 716 yards, and scored three touchdowns. In 1977, he caught 41 passes for 590 yards and four touchdowns, a school record for most catches and receiving yards by a sophomore.

He finished his time with the Orange with 1,644 yards in 35 games, and holds a program record with an average of 47 receiving yards per game.

On Nov. 5, 1977, he caught 14 passes for 188 yards in a game against Navy, still the best game for an SU receiver ever.

Monk said on Tuesday that it was at Syracuse where he really started to come into his own on the football field.

“It was a place where I really developed not only as an athlete but as a young man,” Monk said Tuesday.

The Washington Redskins selected Monk with the 18th overall pick of the 1980 NFL Draft. In 16 years in the NFL – 14 with the Redskins and two with the New York Jets – Monk made 940 receptions for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns. He also had 332 rushing yards.

So while Monk might not have thought he could succeed in football, he would go on to have one of the greatest careers for a wide receiver in NFL history. That was a surprise to Monk.

And so was the honor bestowed upon him on Tuesday.

“Of course now, being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame comes as a surprise as well,” Monk said. “But I’m very appreciative and very excited about it.”


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