SRU to retire Brandon Fusco's number April 22

brandon fusco

April 6, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University and the football program will honor 2010 alumnus Brandon Fusco by officially retiring his former jersey number in a ceremony at 7 p.m., April 22 at the Smith Student Center.

The jersey retirement ceremony will follow SRU's annual spring game and will begin with a reception. A formal dinner and banquet will follow at 8 p.m.

"We're very fortunate to have a guy like Brandon Fusco come through our program," said former SRU head football coach George Mihalik, who is helping to organize the banquet.

"Brandon has remained humble and has never forgotten where he came from even though he is lacing them up with the best players in the world in the NFL. Everyone involved with our program is really looking forward to celebrating with him."

Fusco has become the most successful football player in the history of SRU's program, carving out a role as a starting offensive lineman for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Originally drafted by Minnesota in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Fusco has spent his entire professional career with the Vikings, and signed a five-year contract extension in 2015.

He became the first SRU player since 1989 to make an NFL roster when he was included on the Vikings' 53-man roster in 2011. He appeared in three games as a rookie before earning a starting job the following year.

Fusco started all 16 games for the Vikings at right guard in 2012 and helped pave the way for the second-best rushing effort in NFL history that season when teammate Adrian Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards. He started 15 games in 2013, helping to block for yet another 1,000-yard season from Peterson. Fusco suffered an injury in 2014 that limited him to just two games.

Fusco returned to the Minnesota lineup last fall and started all 17 games, including one playoff game, this time at left guard. He once again helped Peterson to the NFL rushing title as the running back compiled a 1,485-yard season.

Before he became an everyday starter in the NFL, Fusco put together one of the best collegiate careers in SRU program history. He became the first Rock player to ever receive invitations to the Under Armour Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.

Following his senior season in 2010, Fusco was named the Gene Upshaw Lineman of the Year in Division II and was also awarded with the Rimington Trophy as the best Division II center in the country. He earned first team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association, Daktronics, Don Hansen's Football Gazette and D2football.com. He was also named to AP Little All-America honors.

Fusco came to SRU in the fall of 2006 from Seneca Valley High School and was redshirted his first year on campus. He earned a starting job the next fall and started all 11 games as a redshirt freshman. From that point, Fusco would never miss a start, compiling 44 consecutive starts. He was named to All-PSAC and All-Region honors in each of his final three years at SRU and was named to All-America honors in both his junior and senior seasons.

The retirement of Fusco's No. 74 will be just the third officially retired number in SRU football history, joining SRU Hall of Famers Jerry Bejbl (No. 31) and Jim McElhaney (No. 82).

Tickets for the reception and dinner are priced at $40 each. Registration is limited to the first 300 people. For additional information, contact the SRU athletic department at: 724.738.4117.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jon Holtz | 724.738.4925 | jonathan.holtz@sru.edu