Ranking the 10 best USC running backs of all-time

Harry How/Getty Images
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7. Ricky Bell

Ricky Bell is not among USC’s five Heisman Trophy-winning running backs, but his career accomplishments say more about his success than the bad luck of his Heisman candidacy.

After waiting his turn behind fellow Heisman snub Anthony Davis, Bell carved his name on the Trojan record books with an outstanding campaign in 1975, beginning with a USC single-game-record 256-yard, four-touchdown game against Duke. Continuing his trailblazing ways, Bell set a Pac-10 record for a junior running back and led the nation with 1,957 yards.

Despite putting up ungodly numbers and earning unanimous All-American honors, Bell fell short of the Heisman as Archie Griffin took home his second helping of the award as a senior.

The following season Bell once again led the way with a more muted 1,433 yards, a dip in production largely due to injury troubles — he had 1,000 yards by the fifth game of the season which is an NCAA record he shares with Marcus Allen for fastest to the 1,000-yard mark.

Despite the injuries, Bell broke his own USC record for rushing yards in a game with a 347-yard performance against Washington State. His exceptional performances once again had his name in the Heisman discussion but Tony Dorsett’s record-setting season overshadowed all else.

In the pantheon of USC running backs, few outrank Bell. His career rushing total of 3,689 yards is fourth all-time for a Trojan and it could have been so much more.