- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach
A movie based on the life of former Syracuse star Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, will make its world premiere at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, N.Y., on Sept. 12.
"The Express" stars actor Dennis Quaid as legendary Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder and Rob Brown (previously appeared in "Finding Forrester," "Coach Carter" and "Take the Lead") as Davis, who won the 1961 Heisman Trophy. The movie documents Davis' struggles during the turbulent 1960s and his relationship with Schwartzwalder.
Davis was named MVP of the 1960 Cotton Bowl, in which he led the Orange to a 23-14 victory over Texas to win the school's only national championship in football. At a banquet after the Cotton Bowl, Davis was told he could only accept the award and then leave the hotel. Davis refused and his teammates boycotted the banquet.
After Davis was drafted by the Washington Redskins and traded to the Cleveland Browns, he developed leukemia and died at the age of 23 before ever playing in an NFL game.