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Stephen Sellner | | August 29, 2014

Pillars of the Program: Southern California

Pillars of the Program: USC football

The top three pillars of the program are in the video above -- now check out who just missed the cut ...

They don't call Southern California "Tailback U" for nothing. Six of our eight players named here were running backs, and many played a large role in helping the Trojans to nine national championships. These are the players that have made USC one of the consistently great programs in college football.

Marcus Allen
Running Back | 1978-81
♦ 1981 Heisman Trophy
♦ Career: 4,810 rush yds., 45 TDs
O.J. Simpson
Running Back | 1967-68
♦ 1968 Heisman Trophy
♦ Career: 3,432 rush yds., 36 TDs
Ronnie Lott
Defensive Back | 1978-1980
♦ Consensus All-American (1980)
♦ Career: 14 interceptions
Anthony Davis
Running Back | 1972-74
♦ All-American (1974)
♦ Career: 3,724 rush yds., 44 TDs
Morley Drury
Running Back | 1925-27
♦ All-American (1927)
♦ 1927: 1,163 rush yds.
Mike Garrett
Running Back | 1963-65
♦ 1965 Heisman Trophy
♦ Career: 3,221 rush yds., 25 TDs
Matt Leinart
Quarterback | 2003-04
♦ 2004 Heisman Trophy
♦ Career: 10,693 pass yds., 99 TDs
Charles White
Running Back | 1976-79
♦ 1979 Heisman Trophy
♦ Career: 6,245 rush yds., 49 TDs

Anthony Davis
Davis is USC’s third all-time rusher with 3,724 yards in three years. In 1974, he racked up 1,421 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns, earning All-American honors and finishing as the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy behind Ohio State’s Archie Griffin. Davis was the first player in Pac-8 history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in three consecutive seasons as he did so from 1972-74. Davis helped the Trojans win a pair of national championships in ’72 and ’74, and while his near-Heisman campaign is most notable, he rushed for 1,191 yards and 17 touchdowns in ’72 as a sophomore.

Morley Drury
Drury’s legacy at USC is arguably the greatest in school history. After all, you don’t the nickname “The Noblest Trojan of Them All” for nothing. Drury was the program’s first-ever 1,000-yard rusher when he tallied 1,163 in 1927, and it took 38 years for another Trojan to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. He was an All-American in ’27 and in the final game of his career, Drury had 180 yards and three touchdowns against Washington, prompting the crowd at Memorial Coliseum to give him a 10-minute standing ovation. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Mike Garrett
Garrett was USC’s first Heisman Trophy winner when he took home the prize in 1965 after rushing for 1,440 yards -- a school record at the time – and 13 touchdowns. Nicknamed “Iron Mike,” his 3,221 career rushing yards was tops in NCAA history and he was a two-time All American. Garrett rushed for 25 touchdowns in his career and played on both sides of the ball, starting at cornerback on defense. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and Garrett was USC’s athletic director from 1993-2010.

Matt Leinart
Leinart is the Trojans’ most decorated quarterback. A three-time All-American, he was the signal-caller during USC’s dominance in 2003-2005, going 37-2 in that time and winning consecutive national championships in 2003 and 2004. Leinart won the Heisman Trophy in 2004 as a junior, passing for 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns against only six interceptions. In addition to the Heisman, He was the Walter Camp Player of the Year and The Associated Press Player of the Year. Despite his tremendous junior season, his sophomore campaign was his best statistical season, throwing for 3,556 yards, 38 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 807 completions and 10,693 passing yards are second in school history.

Charles White
USC churns out top running backs and White was among the program’s best. He racked up 6,245 rushing yards in his four-year career, which was second-most in college football history at the time and is currently fourth all-time. He was the 1979 Heisman Trophy winner after leading the nation with 2,050 yards (6.2 yards per carry) to go along with 19 touchdowns. White was a two-time All-American and was the Rose Bowl Player of the Game in 1978 and '79. He rushed for 49 touchdowns in his career and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

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