Willie Burden was a product of Raleigh’s Enloe High School and North Carolina State. As a star running back for the Wolfpack, he became one of the school’s leading ground gainers in history and was named ACC Player of the Year in 1973.
Turning down draft opportunities with both the Detroit Lions and the Portland Storm of the defunct World Football League, Burden took his talents to Canada and became one of the CFL’s all-time football stars. He carried the ball for 6,234 yards in his career with the Calgary Stampeders, including 1,896 in 1975 when he became the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player. He was chosen as one of the league’s 50 greatest stars and is a member of the CFL’s Hall of Fame.
Burden’s star began to rise when he starred as a running back at Enloe, then stayed at N.C. State. For three seasons, from 1971 through 1973, he was among the best running backs ever produced by the Atlantic Coast Conference finishing his collegiate career with 2,529 and picking up the ACC’s Player of the Year award in 1973.
He died in December 2015.
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