Syracuse Football Top 25 Players of All-Time: No. 8 Tim Green

Syracuse football, Tim Green (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football, Tim Green (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse Football has had a long history of success. We look back at some of the best players to play at Syracuse University. Up next, No. 8: Tim Green.

Syracuse Football defensive tackle and linebacker Tim Green is third of the six athletes on this list to have had his jersey/number retired. Green was probably the best defensive player (statistically speaking) that Syracuse has ever had. There will be one more defensive player in this Top 10, however, that player is only higher on this list because he will someday also be a Hall for Famer in the NFL as well. What sets Green apart though is that his Syracuse career was one for the ages.

A local kid from Liverpool, N.Y., Green played for the Orange from 1982-1985. During that time, Green was a bruising player who constantly got into the backfield taking opposing runners and quarterbacks down for a loss. In his career on the Hill, he set multiple defensive records, and was high on the list of multiple others.

In terms of single-season records, his 101 tackles in 1984 rank second all-time for a down lineman, one behind Michael Connors, according to He also ranks third with 94 tackles (1983), and fourth with 88 tackles (1985). In addition, Green also ranks second, third and fourth in sacks: 15.0 in 1984 (2), 14.5 in 1983 (3), 13.5 in 1985 (4). In other words, from his sophomore season on (1983-1985), he was the one guy on the field you didn’t want to cross paths with.

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To this day, Green ranks highly all-time at Syracuse in sacks by class (except freshman year): 14.5 sacks his sophomore year-1983 (1st), 15.0 sacks his junior year-1984 (1st), and 13.5 sacks sack his senior year-1985 (2nd).

In terms of individual game performances, in 1983 Green registered 3.0 sacks against Temple and would follow that up with 3.0 sacks as well against both Maryland and Rutgers in 1984. Those 3.0 sack games are tied for 7th all-time at Syracuse. His best game in terms of sacks was in 1985 though when he recorded 4.0 sacks against Virginia Tech.

The one performance that might stick out more than others for Syracuse Football fans would be his game against No. 1 ranked Nebraska in 1984. In that game, the Cornhuskers came to the Dome with confidence knowing they were favored by 24 points against Syracuse, according to Nebraska showed their ranking was true, scoring a touchdown on just their second possession to make it 7-0. However, the Orange would buckle down defensively and hold the rest of the half without surrendering another point. They would also get a field goal before halftime to only trail 7-3 at the break.

In the second half, Green came alive, making a huge sack and a fumble recovery which gave momentum to the Orange. You can see that play below:

Syracuse as a result would pull off the huge upset, 17-9 behind Green’s team-high 12 tackles. To this day, it is the only time in Syracuse Football history that the Orange have beaten the No. 1 ranked team in the country.

Tim Green also set two very impressive Syracuse Football career records:

  • 341 tackles by a down lineman (1st)- Kevin Mitchell is next with 275- 66 tackles behind!
  • 45.5 sacks (1st)- next closest is Dwight Freeney with 34.0 sacks, 11.5 sacks behind!

Green was also named to the All-American team twice, once in 1984, and again in 1985 as a unanimous All-American. He was also a scholar in the classroom: earning good enough grades to be Co-Valedictorian of his graduating class, twice receiving CoSIDA Academic All-American honors, and also was recognized as a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete, according to

He would go on to be selected 17th overall in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, according to He would have a decent career with them in his eight years with the team.

In his time with the Falcons he would play in 99 games, starting 71 of them. He was asked to play multiple positions: left and right outside linebacker and the right defensive end position. Overall, he recorded one safety, 24.0 sacks, and had nine fumble recoveries before retiring after the 1993 season.

Next. SU Football: Top 10 players that should have jerseys retired. dark

In 1999, he was also named to the All-Century Team and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.  In addition, he also had his No. 72 jersey retired in 2019, one of only a select few who have had that honor for Syracuse Football. There may never be a defensive player again for Syracuse quite like Green, and he more than deserves his place at No. 8 on Syracuse Football’s Top 25 Players of All-Time list.