Syracuse Football Top 25 Players of All-Time: No. 7 Art Monk

Syracuse football, Art Monk (Photo by Joseph Patronite/Getty Images)
Syracuse football, Art Monk (Photo by Joseph Patronite/Getty Images) /

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. 7 Art Monk.

Syracuse Football wide receiver Art Monk is sort of a forgotten wide receiver in the history of Orange Football by most millennials. Though he played before I was even born and did not rack up nearly as many yards at Syracuse as Marvin Harrison did, he still made one heck of an impact on the game of football. Much like tight end John Mackey before him, also on this list, he made catching the football an attractive option when all Syracuse wanted to do was run the dang ball.

Monk played for Syracuse from 1976-1979. During that time, Syracuse Football loved to just run the ball over and over again; whether that was from the running back position or from quarterback Bill Hurley. That created fewer opportunities for Monk to get the ability to catch the ball.

Still wanting to use his talents, Syracuse coaches moved Monk to the running back position his sophomore year and had him catch passes out of the backfield. The results were decent, catching 41 passes for 590 yards (an average of 14.4 yards per catch) and four touchdowns, according to He also ran the ball 110 times for 566 yards (good for 5.1 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.

The good news for Monk is that future Orange star Joe Morris, also on this list, joined Syracuse during Monk’s junior season, moving Monk back to his normal position at wide receiver. Monk would still rush the ball occasionally to the tune of 136 carries for 573 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, but would also catch the ball 19 times for 293 yards (15.4 yards per reception) and two touchdowns.

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When Morris was more settled in 1979, Monk finally had his opportunity to shine as a wide receiver. In that senior season, Monk would have 40 receptions for 716 yards (good for 17.9 yards per reception) and three touchdowns. He would only rush the ball eight times for 35 yards. He would be named an All-American at the end of the season in 1979, according to

His career at Syracuse was good enough for Monk to be selected 18th overall in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Washington Football Team. It was in the NFL where Art Monk really separates himself from fellow Syracuse star wideout Marvin Harrison.

In his long 16-year NFL career, Monk would play in four Super Bowls, winning three of them (XVII, XXII, and XXVI) with the Washington Football Team, according to He was an enormous reason the Washington Football Team were so consistently good and Super Bowl contenders every year in the 1980s. Sure, the Washington Football Team had a decent defense and great quarterbacks in Joe Theismann and Doug Williams, but Monk gave them a go-to receiver to throw the ball to. It’s no mistake that his nickname was “Big Money” on the football field, according to

For his career, Monk would tally 940 receptions for 12,721 receiving yards and 68 touchdowns in 224 career games, according to He was also the first player in NFL history to have over 900 receptions in his career, according to He would also set a then-NFL record for 183 consecutive games from 1983-1995 with at least one reception.

His best season was probably in 1984 when he had 106 receptions (an NFL record at that time) for a career-best 1,372 yards and seven touchdowns. He would continue that success into his 1985 and 1986 seasons having 1,000+ yards receiving each of those seasons, becoming the first Washington Football Team player to ever do so in three consecutive seasons. In total, he would have five seasons with 1,000+ yards receiving in his NFL career, and nine of his 16 seasons he had over 50 receptions, which is remarkable!

He would be named an All-Pro twice (1984 & 1985) and be selected to the Pro Bowl three times (1984, 1985, 1986). After leaving the Washington Football Team in 1993, he would play two more seasons: one with the New York Jets and one with the Philadelphia Eagles, but to much less success. He would then retire officially after the 1997 NFL season, according to

After his career was over, Monk was selected to the Syracuse All-Century team in 1999. He was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, according to

Art Monk may not have been the star on campus like Marvin Harrison was almost a decade later at Syracuse, but he did go on to possibly have a better pro career. Though many turn of the century Orange fans will not know of Monk, they should.

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

Monk was a one of a kind receiver who left his mark not only in the NFL, but also at Syracuse in how he changed the outlook on the passing game. The Orange have had many amazing wide receivers in their history, but Monk ranks as one of the best, if not the best all-time to have played for Syracuse Football. It’s only a matter of time before he has his jersey retired at Syracuse as he truly was one of the greatest wide receivers who ever played.