For the next five weeks, The Juice Online will be counting down the top 5 running backs in Syracuse history. Jim Nance is No. 5 on our list.
WHY HE’S NO. 5: Like so many others in Syracuse history, James “Big Jim” Nance was good in more sports than just one. In 1963 and 1965, Nance was the NCAA heavyweight-wrestling champion and an All-American. On the gridiron, Nance was just as good. He led the team in rushing in 1964. During that season, he scored in 10 straight games and is highly regarded as one of the best backs in Syracuse history.
AFTER SYRACUSE: Nance was drafted by the Buffalo Bills of the AFL and the Chicago Bears of the NFL in 1965, and signed with the Patriots. He led the AFL in rushing in his second and third years, and went on to become the only AFL player to rush for more than 1,400 yards in a season. With New England, he would rush for 45 touchdowns and 5,323 yards, the second most in team history. He would also play for the New York Jets and the Houston Texans/Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League. Nance was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2009.