Local Sports Journal

Earl Morrall, one of the greatest athletes ever to come out of Muskegon High School, died Thursday at the age of 79, according to the Naples (Fla.) Daily News.

Morrall was a consensus first-team All-American as a senior for Michigan State. He also is a member of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame.


Earl Morrall as a member of the Miami Dolphins

Morrall won varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball on Big Red teams from 1949 to 1952.  In his senior football season (1951), Morrall gained national attention by leading Muskegon to an undefeated season and a state championship, establishing the school’s then single season record of 851 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“He’s been in a struggle with his health for a while now,” Ryan Richael, who worked in marketing with the Miami Dolphins from 2003-2009, and helped run Morrall’s charity golf tournament, told the paper. “Everybody has been trying to prepare for this. In the end, when you have somebody like Earl Morrall who’s a legend on and off the field, it’s still very difficult in the end.”

Morrall also finished second in the nation in punting and was fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. He led MU to Rose Bowl victories in 1954 and 1956.

The San Francisco 49ers made him their first-round pick in 1956 and he played 21 years in the National Football League and played in four Super Bowls.

Morrall also played for Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Miami and the New York Giants.