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Cliff Branch, Football & Track

 

  • 1971 Football News first team All-American
  • Set CU and NCAA records for career TD's on kick returns
  • 1971 & '72 Big Eight Indoor Champion in 60-yard dash
  • Four-time NFL All-Pro selection with Oakland Raiders

Cliff Branch remains to this day one of the most exciting athletes to ever wear football and track uniforms in CU history, as few are able to generate the buzz and anticipation like he did every time the ball was snapped or when the start gun went off ... A first-team All-American by the Football News as a senior in 1971 (honorable mention by the Associated Press) ... Winner of the Zack Jordan Award for CU's most valuable player (1971) ... Set CU and NCAA records for career touchdowns scored on kick returns with eight (six punts and two kickoffs); the CU record still stands and it took three decades for his national mark to be bested ... He had four each in both 1970 and 1971, still CU single-season records, as are his six career punt return TDs... Ended his CU career second in school history in punt return yards (733; was third in kickoff return yards with 755)... His six punt return TDs were all between 59 and 75 yards, while his two kickoff return scores covered 100 and 97 yards... He caught 36 passes for 665 yards, which averaged 18.5 yards per catch, best in school history at the time for 35 or more career catches (it's still sixth)... Equally dangerous as a runner, with 354 yards on 31 career attempts, a whopping 11.4 yards per carry ... He scored 16 career touchdowns, adding five rushing and three receiving to his return count ... He had 11 plays of 59 yards or longer in his career ... A world class sprinter, he set numerous school records on the track, topped by a 10.0 clocking in the 100-meter dash at the 1972 NCAA Outdoor Championships; that is still CU's school mark ... His relay teams for the 4x400 and mile relay also still are school record holders ... He also set school marks at the time for the 60- and 300-yard dashes ... The Big Eight Conference indoor champion in the 60-yard dash for both 1971 and 1972 ... A fourth round pick by Oakland in the 1972 NFL Draft (98th overall)... Played in 183 career NFL games, all with the Raiders (1972-85), and caught 501 passes for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns for Oakland, all numbers second at the time in team history... He won three Super Bowl Rings with the Raiders (1976, 1980, 1983)... A four-time NFL All-Pro selection (1974-75-76-77), playing in the Pro Bowl those four years... Finished out his football career in the Arena Football League with Los Angeles (1988).

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