SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Wofford College Board of Trustees recently approved the official retirement of the No. 7 jersey number worn by Eric Breitenstein. A ceremony will be held at halftime of the Sept. 21 football game against Gardner-Webb.
Breitenstein is the school’s all-time rushing leader at 5,730 yards, which ranks second all-time in the Southern Conference. He led the team to four NCAA playoff appearances and two Southern Conference championships.
“What a truly great honor,” said Breitenstein. “It is hard to know what to say. Wofford was my first offer and was loyal to me throughout the recruiting process. That loyalty didn't waver while I was at Wofford, nor has it since I left. I was given countless opportunities to succeed as a part of some of the greatest teams to ever play at Wofford. I played behind offensive lines that were made up of multiple all-conference performers, Jacobs Blocking Trophy winners, a Remington Award winner, and a couple of Wofford Hall of Famers.
“I was an option in the best rushing attack in the country, and luckily for me, it was a triple option where I was frequently the lesser of three evils. I was also the option that would let a defense bleed slowly. And so defenses allowed it and I, in turn, kept getting opportunities! Apparently if you do that for four years (and some change), it eventually adds up to some rather large numbers. I am so grateful to have had the chance to play at Wofford College, for Mike Ayers and his coaching staff, and with all of my teammates. We had a couple of incredible runs and this honor will stand as a testament to the success we all achieved.”
“Retiring a jersey means that the person who wore it was so extraordinary on the field that we never expect to see his like again,” said Wofford College Director of Athletics Richard Johnson. “Eric Breitenstein was so much fun to watch. Everyone in the stadium – including the opponent – knew he would be getting the ball and he would still gain 10 yards.”
Breitenstein, from Valle Crucis, North Carolina, was named Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He was just the fourth player in conference history to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons. A three-time All-American, he holds five Wofford rushing records, two SoCon rushing records and one NCAA rushing record. Following his senior season, he finished third in the voting for the Walter Payton Award. He led the Southern Conference in rushing for the second straight season with 2,035 yards, a school record and the second most in conference history. He had 19 rushing touchdowns to lead the conference and was second in scoring with 114 points.
During his junior year, his 1,474 rushing yards were the most in the conference and rank third in school history. In 2009, he started the first two games of the season with 187 yards and three touchdowns before a knee injury ended his season. He returned in 2010 with 13 starts and 1,639 yards, which was a school record as he earned All-America honors. As a freshman in 2008, played in 10 games with two starts, rushing for 395 yards and two touchdowns and was named the team’s freshman of the year.
He graduated in December 2012 with a degree in environmental studies. He and his wife, Reagan, currently reside in Bloomington, Indiana, with their daughter Lily.
Following Breitenstein’s graduation, the No. 7 jersey was worn for four seasons by Lorenzo Long. Long ended his career with 3,479 career yards, which is ranked fifth in school history. The jersey was last worn in the 2016 season.
Breitenstein becomes just the third football student-athlete at Wofford to have a jersey retired. The No. 1 jersey of Shawn Graves was retired on Nov. 14, 1992, the final home game of his career. The No. 51 jersey of Jerry Richardson was retired on Oct. 29, 2011.