Former Panther linebacker Nicholas Morrow honored at first Legacy Weekend
Published: April 26, 2023
A former Greenville University football standout who has parlayed his collegiate athletic successes into a career in the National Football League was honored last weekend for those accomplishments by having his GU jersey retired.
“I’m grateful and humbled by this expression of support,” said Nicholas Morrow, who played linebacker for the Panthers from 2012 through 2015. “My experience here propelled me to a life I never thought I’d have. This university and this city are near and dear to my heart, because I did a lot of growing here.”
The University’s first-ever Legacy Weekend featured six events over two days. On Friday, Morrow spoke at a special athletic chapel service, participated in a press conference (pictured below), and mingled with GU supporters at a VIP reception. Saturday’s events included a ceremony at which Greenville Mayor George Barber proclaimed it Nicholas Morrow Day and presented Morrow with a key to the city, a football clinic for area junior high students (pictured above), and a banquet at which Morrow’s jersey number was retired.
After college, Morrow was picked up by the Oakland Raiders as a non-drafted free agent and had four successful seasons there. Last year, he was signed by the Chicago Bears and led the team in tackles. And in recent months, he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in this year’s Super Bowl. Currently, he’s one of only six players from Division III schools playing in the NFL.
At Saturday’s banquet, Panther Coach Robbie Schomaker recalled a conversation with Morrow during his sophomore year. “He asked me if I thought he could make it in the NFL,” Schomaker said. “I told him that I’d help him do everything we could to make that possible.
“This young man was blessed with great natural talent, but he also dedicated himself to do the work to achieve his dream. When the pro scouts started coming around, I told them that Nick worked harder than anyone on the team, that he was faster than anyone on the team, that he was stronger than our defensive linemen, and that he watched more film than most of my staff.
“The way he fought for his dream is incredible. And that’s why I’m so proud of him.”
Edwin Estevez, a former GU administrator, said Morrow’s story is one of triumph. “He’s someone who came out of nowhere to achieve his dream,” Estevez said. “His hard work, attention to detail, faith, and passion in pursuit of his dream are inspiring. And we’re proud to say that his achievements represent the culture of this institution.”
While on campus, Morrow spoke to a large crowd at a special Friday morning chapel service. There, he urged students to look to God for validation, not to worldly achievements or praise from people.
“It’s not the things of the world or the accolades of the crowd that saves you; it’s the blood of Christ,” he said. “I Peter 2 tells us to get rid of things that keep us from loving others and crave the things that God gives us to overcome the challenges we’ll face in life. Like David said so often in the Psalms, we should praise God for the many times he’s delivered us.”
Morrow closed out the weekend with a short address at the Legacy Weekend banquet.
“When I arrived on campus, I couldn’t imagine that something like this was even possible,” he said. “I’m deeply humbled by this honor.
“To the young people here, I encourage you to keep dreaming, keep seeking opportunities to better yourself, keep loving others, and keep developing the gifts that God has given you. Someday, you too may have your jersey retired.”
GU Athletic Director Tom Ackerman said Morrow is the perfect person to kick off the Legacy Weekend recognition program (pictured below). “Nicholas did an amazing job and he proved why we are so proud to call him our own. He’s humble, articulate, dedicated, considerate, passionate, and he loves the Lord. He embodies all the characteristics we want our student athletes to show to the world.”