Ranking the 10 best USC running backs of all-time

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images /
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8. Mike Garrett

It might be harsh on Mike Garrett to have USC’s first ever Heisman trophy winner so low on this list. Unfortunately for Garrett, his precedent-setting accomplishments were surpassed by a trio of non-Heisman winners whose total careers and ability require extra recognition.

Take nothing away from Garrett though. The two-time All-American was the trendsetter who laid the stage for the string of successful USC running backs to follow.

Those running backs were often prototypical and particularly athletically gifted but Garrett managed to achieve all he did despite being slightly undersized, utilizing speed and toughness to get the best of defenses.

Garrett set 14 NCAA records in three years leading the Trojan offense, including the NCAA record for career rushing yards, which he set at 3,221. His 1,440 yards in 1965 were a USC record, the first time a Trojan had broken the 1,000-yard mark since the 1920s, and marked his third straight season leading the conference in rushing.

In addition to the Heisman trophy, Garrett was honored with the Voit and Pop Warner Awards as the top player in the west.

Notably, Garrett did all that while spending time as a returner and a cornerback on defense. He also spent his offseasons on the baseball diamond.

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