Ernie Davis became the first black player to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 1962 NFL Draft. Davis led Syracuse University to the 1959 college championship in the Cotton Bowl and captured the MVP award. Davis was later awarded the Walter Camp Memorial Trophy and was the first black recipient of the Heisman Trophy and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame after his death. Davis received a telegram from President John F. Kennedy for his achievement. Syracuse retired his jersey number in 1961. Davis was selected by the Washington Redskins in 1962 then traded to the Cleveland Browns where he signed a three-year $200,000 contract. Sadly, Davis was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia and died three months after diagnosis in 1963.
Today in Sports History: December 4