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Published: May 21, 2015 at 10:51 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2015 at 11:08 a.m.

11 most iconic college football jersey numbers

Perhaps the most iconic number in college football is No. 44 at Syracuse. Heck, both the university's zip code and phone exchange have "44" in them.

11 Photos Total

  • It's famous because running backs Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little wore the number for the Orangemen (yes, the nickname now is "Orange" -- but not when those gentlemen were running roughshod over opponents). The school decided in the mid-2000s to retire the number. It announced Tuesday that beginning this season, "<a target="_blank" href="http://cuse.com/news/2015/5/19/FB_0519152430.aspx?path=football">Orange fans may see the famed number</a> back on the field." Wednesday, though, the school somewhat reversed course, with a senior vice president telling the Syracuse Post-Standard that <a target="_blank" href="http://www.syracuse.com/orangefootball/index.ssf/2015/05/syracuse_football_may_not_put_no_44_on_the_field_quite_as_often_as_it_appears.html">it would take "someone extraordinary</a> given the honor it would be to wear 44."
<br><br>So, what are some other iconic college numbers? Glad you asked. Here are 10 more, in numerical order. 11

    National Football League/Associated Press

    No. 44

    It's famous because running backs Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little wore the number for the Orangemen (yes, the nickname now is "Orange" -- but not when those gentlemen were running roughshod over opponents). The school decided in the mid-2000s to retire the number. It announced Tuesday that beginning this season, "Orange fans may see the famed number back on the field." Wednesday, though, the school somewhat reversed course, with a senior vice president telling the Syracuse Post-Standard that it would take "someone extraordinary given the honor it would be to wear 44."

    So, what are some other iconic college numbers? Glad you asked. Here are 10 more, in numerical order.

  • <b>For:</b> Navy QB Roger Staubach (1962-64)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> Staubach attended New Mexico Military Institute before arriving at Navy, where he was a three-year starter for the Midshipmen. He won the Heisman in 1963 as a junior, the last player from a service academy to win the award. Navy retired Staubach's jersey number during his graduation ceremony in 1964. 10

    Associated Press

    No. 12

    For: Navy QB Roger Staubach (1962-64)
    Buzz: Staubach attended New Mexico Military Institute before arriving at Navy, where he was a three-year starter for the Midshipmen. He won the Heisman in 1963 as a junior, the last player from a service academy to win the award. Navy retired Staubach's jersey number during his graduation ceremony in 1964.

  • <b>For:</b> Florida QB Tim Tebow (2006-09)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman in 2007 and was part of two national title teams at Florida (2006 and 2008). No. 15 jerseys remain ubiquitous on game days in Gainesville. Florida does not retire jersey numbers and walk-on QB Jacob Guy is set to wear the number this season. 9

    Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

    No. 15

    For: Florida QB Tim Tebow (2006-09)
    Buzz: Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman in 2007 and was part of two national title teams at Florida (2006 and 2008). No. 15 jerseys remain ubiquitous on game days in Gainesville. Florida does not retire jersey numbers and walk-on QB Jacob Guy is set to wear the number this season.

  • <b>For:</b> Ole Miss QB Archie Manning (1968-70)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> His sons are great NFL quarterbacks, but neither had anything on their dad in college. Archie was a great college player and his best performance might have come in a loss, in 1969 to Alabama in one of the first nationally televised prime-time college games. Mississippi retired his jersey in 1986 and in an homage to Manning, the speed limit on the school's campus is 18 miles per hour. 8

    Associated Press

    No. 18

    For: Ole Miss QB Archie Manning (1968-70)
    Buzz: His sons are great NFL quarterbacks, but neither had anything on their dad in college. Archie was a great college player and his best performance might have come in a loss, in 1969 to Alabama in one of the first nationally televised prime-time college games. Mississippi retired his jersey in 1986 and in an homage to Manning, the speed limit on the school's campus is 18 miles per hour.

  • <b>For:</b> Boston College QB Doug Flutie (1981-84)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> Flutie was a little guy wearing a non-quarterback number, but still playing quarterback. Who didn't like the guy? He won the Heisman as a senior and BC retired his number in 1998. 7

    Peter Morgan/Associated Press

    No. 22

    For: Boston College QB Doug Flutie (1981-84)
    Buzz: Flutie was a little guy wearing a non-quarterback number, but still playing quarterback. Who didn't like the guy? He won the Heisman as a senior and BC retired his number in 1998.

  • <b>For:</b> USC TB O.J. Simpson (1967-68)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> Simpson only played two seasons at USC after transferring in from junior college, but he was spectacular in both of them and won the Heisman as a senior. He rushed for 3,423 yards in 22 career games (a per-game average of 155.9 yards). USC retired his jersey in 1968. 6

    Charles Knoblock/Associated Press

    No. 32

    For: USC TB O.J. Simpson (1967-68)
    Buzz: Simpson only played two seasons at USC after transferring in from junior college, but he was spectacular in both of them and won the Heisman as a senior. He rushed for 3,423 yards in 22 career games (a per-game average of 155.9 yards). USC retired his jersey in 1968.

  • <b>For:</b> Pitt RB Tony Dorsett (1973-76)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> Dorsett grew up in the Pittsburgh area and was a four-year starter for the Panthers. His senior season coincided with a national championship season for Pitt; he also won the Heisman that season. He finished his career with 6,082 rushing yards, a record that stood for 32 years. His jersey was retired at halftime of his final game. 5

    Associated Press

    No. 33

    For: Pitt RB Tony Dorsett (1973-76)
    Buzz: Dorsett grew up in the Pittsburgh area and was a four-year starter for the Panthers. His senior season coincided with a national championship season for Pitt; he also won the Heisman that season. He finished his career with 6,082 rushing yards, a record that stood for 32 years. His jersey was retired at halftime of his final game.

  • <b>For:</b> Georgia RB Herschel Walker (1980-82)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> He singlehandedly carried Georgia's offense as a true freshman in 1980, when he led the Bulldogs to the national title. He should've won the Heisman that season, but freshmen didn't have realistic shots at the trophy in those days. He won the Heisman in 1982 as a junior, then left school a few months later to play in the USFL. Georgia retired his jersey in 1985. (Auburn's Bo Jackson also wore No. 34, but as productive as he was as a Tiger, he was not as good as Walker.) 4

    Associated Press

    No. 34

    For: Georgia RB Herschel Walker (1980-82)
    Buzz: He singlehandedly carried Georgia's offense as a true freshman in 1980, when he led the Bulldogs to the national title. He should've won the Heisman that season, but freshmen didn't have realistic shots at the trophy in those days. He won the Heisman in 1982 as a junior, then left school a few months later to play in the USFL. Georgia retired his jersey in 1985. (Auburn's Bo Jackson also wore No. 34, but as productive as he was as a Tiger, he was not as good as Walker.)

  • <b>For:</b> Ohio State RB Archie Griffin (1972-75)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> Griffin's first year at Ohio State coincided with the NCAA rescinding its rule on freshman ineligibility, so he was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes. He won the Heisman as a junior and senior and remains the only two-time winner of the trophy. The school officially retired his jersey in 1999. 3

    Associated Press

    No. 45

    For: Ohio State RB Archie Griffin (1972-75)
    Buzz: Griffin's first year at Ohio State coincided with the NCAA rescinding its rule on freshman ineligibility, so he was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes. He won the Heisman as a junior and senior and remains the only two-time winner of the trophy. The school officially retired his jersey in 1999.

  • <b>For:</b> Illinois RB Red Grange (1923-25)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> A player with one of the most distinctive nicknames ever -- "The Galloping Ghost" -- certainly wore a distinctive number. Illinois officials surely understood his greatness, as his jersey number was retired upon the completion of his final game on Nov. 21, 1925. 2

    Pro Football Hall of Fame

    No. 77

    For: Illinois RB Red Grange (1923-25)
    Buzz: A player with one of the most distinctive nicknames ever -- "The Galloping Ghost" -- certainly wore a distinctive number. Illinois officials surely understood his greatness, as his jersey number was retired upon the completion of his final game on Nov. 21, 1925.

  • <b>For:</b> Michigan RB Tom Harmon (1938-40)<br />
<b>Buzz:</b> How closely associated is Harmon with this number? His nickname was "Ol' 98." As with Dorsett and Pitt and Grange and Illinois, Michigan knew what it had: The school announced a few weeks before his final college game that it was retiring his jersey. 1

    Associated Press

    No. 98

    For: Michigan RB Tom Harmon (1938-40)
    Buzz: How closely associated is Harmon with this number? His nickname was "Ol' 98." As with Dorsett and Pitt and Grange and Illinois, Michigan knew what it had: The school announced a few weeks before his final college game that it was retiring his jersey.