George Barclay stood only 5'9 and weighed just 158 pounds, but his athletic prowess on the football field led Lafayette to claim a share of the national title, along with Princeton, in 1896.
That season the Leopards scored 242 points and allowed
just 10 in finishing with an 11-0-1 mark. Reports show
that this speedy halfback scored a spectacular total of
43 touchdowns and kicked more than 11 field goals in
the three seasons on College Hill. Francis A. March,
Jr., in his "Athletics at Lafayette," published in 1926,
wrote that Barclay was "nationally famous" and
selected him to his all-Lafayette team before 1905. In
four games against rival Lehigh, Barclay ran for eight
touchdowns. In a 28-0 win in 1894, he scored 24 points,
including two 80-yard runs for scores. Barclay invented the first football helmet when the "threat of cultivating cauliflower ears" led him to have an Easton saddlemaker piece together three thick leather straps around his head during the 1894 football season. Also utilized by many of his teammates, Barclay's "head harness" gained notoriety at the Leopards' 1896 upset victory over Penn, which kept Lafayette's undefeated season intact en route to the National Championship.