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Frank Clarke, Football

  • First African American Varsity Football Player At CU
  • All Big 7 Conference Honorable Mention
  • Fifth Round Draft Pick by Cleveland Browns in 1956
  • Played 11 NFL Seasons With Browns and Dallas Cowboys

The first African-American varsity football player at Colorado(and the first to letter), joining the Buffaloes in September 1954 after attending Trinidad (Colo.) Junior College for two years where he had a brilliant career (he had to sit out the ’54 season after transferring)... He was so popular on campus, he was elected “King” of the annual CU Days festival... Also was one of the first blacks to play in the old Big 7 Conference... An honorable mention All-Big 7 performer as a junior, when he was second in the league in receiving...Colorado ran the single-wing during his career, so passing downfield was rare, but he led the team both years in receiving and averaged 26.6 yards for 20 catches in his career, seven of which went for touchdowns... Ended his career fifth at the time in receiving yards at Colorado... He also blocked two kicks in his career, of which he also handled most of the kickoff chores... He had one catch for 18 yards in CU’s win over Clemson in the ’57 Orange Bowl, and he played in the Copper Bowl All-Star game following his senior year... He was selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the ’56 NFL Draft (61st pick overall, he was eligible due to his age), and joined the Browns after his senior year at CU; he played three seasons in Cleveland and then eight (1960-67) with the Dallas Cowboys. He caught 291 passes for 5,426 yards and 50 touchdowns in 140 NFL games... His final game was in the ’67 NFL Championship game against Green Bay and former teammate Boyd Dowler in what is known as the “Ice Bowl,” won by the Packers, 21-17.

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