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A first in Razorback football

A first in Razorback football

As a part of its series in celebration of Black History Month, the Razorback Athletic Department is saluting Trailblazers from the African-American community who have attended the University of Arkansas and excelled as student-athletes.

Leotis Harris broke through the color barrier becoming the University of Arkansas’ first black All-American football player in 1977.

A mainstay in the football trenches for the Razorbacks from 1974-77, Harris literally paved the way for one of the most prolific offensive eras in school history. The standout offensive guard was a key component to some of the most dominating offensive fronts for Arkansas. He earned All-America and All-Southwest Conference honors as a senior in 1977 after helping the Hogs to an 11-1 record. Arkansas boasted a 412.9 yards of total offense in 1977, including 273.7 yards-per-game on the ground. In his sophomore season, he helped the Razorbacks average a school record 320.3 yards rushing and clinch a share of the SWC championship. He was named to the Razorback All-Century Team selected in 1994 as part of the UA football centennial celebration. He is also a member of the 1970s All-Decade Team. He was a sixth-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 1977 NFL Draft. He spent six seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman for the Packers (1978-83).

Harris helped the Razorback offense defeat 11 of its 12 opponents including a 31-6 victory over No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Arkansas finished the year ranked No. 3 nationally by both AP and UPI that season.

In 2005, Harris was named to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor. Born June 28, 1955, Harris is a Little Rock, Ark., native.

For more notable first women of African American heritage, please jump to The Legacy of Silas Hunt pages presented by the University of Arkansas.

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