Flanked by his four best friends, LeGrand battled two inches of snow in his wheelchair in his first on-field appearance during a game since his tragic injury a year earlier.
Two months later with 29.3 percent of the vote, fans across the globe voted LeGrand's personal triumph as the Sports Illustrated Best Moment of 2011.
"This is Eric," said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. "He's such an inspiration to so many. ... He's an inspirational guy. That's all you can say. I think, how do you touch people's heart? It's when you're so positive. I don't know how he does it, but that's who he is."
In a year of milestones and triumph for the courageous LeGrand, earning the Sports Illustrated cover may be his favorite moment.
"Growing up, that's the magazine that you know," LeGrand said. "If you would say that I would be on the cover of it, I wouldn't even know what to say."
"I can't find the perfect words to describe it," Greene said. "Just having Eric around us whenever he comes to the Hale Center is good. To see him come out and the fans acknowledge him in the way they did. I don't know man, it's snowing, it's tough and he's still leading us out of the tunnel. I just can't find the words. It's the best feeling I've ever had."
LeGrand, whose most recent rehabilitation milestone includes being able to sit up on his own, has his eyes set on the moment that could give him a second Sports Illustrated honor.
"I remember thinking how cold I was going to be, but as I came out, I think my adrenaline just went rushing," LeGrand said. "I was seeing everyone cheering and the fans just yelling out there. It didn't even feel like the snow was there. Then I got back upstairs and I started freezing. ... I remember I tweeted, this time I left tracks in the snow, next time I want to leave footprints."