The ACC announced the Legends class for 2014 in football on Thursday. Former Tar Heel Greg Ellis was selected as UNC's representative in this year's class. Ellis will be honored along with 13 others at the ACC Night of Legends on December 5th in Charlotte.
Ellis (1994-97) was one of the lynchpins of a stifling North Carolina defense for Coach Mack Brown that led the ACC in total defense for three consecutive years in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and led the nation in scoring defense in 1996. He earned honorable mention All-American honors as a sophomore, second-team All-America accolades as a junior and was a consensus first-team pick as a senior. He is still the all-time career leader at North Carolina in quarterback sacks and his career total of 32.5 sacks is still the fourth-best in ACC history. During his four seasons in Chapel Hill, he helped lead the Tar Heels to an overall 36-12 record including a 21-3 mark in his final two years and four consecutive bowl appearances. UNC was ranked seventh in the nation following his senior season.
He was the eighth overall selection in the first round in the 1998 NFL Draft by Dallas and went on to enjoy a 12-year NFL Career, the first 11 with the Cowboys. From 1998 through 2008, he started 155 of 162 games for the Cowboys and finished his career in 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He totaled 84.0 quarterback sacks and 525 tackles with 23 forced fumbles and returned both a fumble (98 yards) and pass interception (87 yards) for touchdowns. He was named to the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl and was also named that year as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. A native of Wendell, N.C., he played for East Wake High School and was named the North Carolina Male High School Athlete of the Year in 1993. He currently lives in Dallas, Texas.
You need to look no further than the 1998 Gator Bowl for an illustration of how good UNC's defense was in those days. The Heels crushed Virginia Tech 42-3 to finish 11-1 on the season. The defense was a big reason for UNC's dominance in that game. Greg Ellis recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the during the game.