USC's Ricky Bell Named To College Football Hall Of Fame

March 24, 2003

LOS ANGELES-The late Ricky Bell, a 2-time unanimous All-American tailback at USC who was the Heisman Trophy runnerup in 1976 and third in 1975, has been named to the 13-member 2003 Division I-A class of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Bell will be inducted at a Dec. 9 dinner in New York City and then enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in ceremonies in 2004 in South Bend, Ind.

He is the 32nd Trojan, including 25 players, in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Bell's 2003 classmates include 10 others players-defensive back Murry Bowden of Dartmouth (1967-70), guard Tom Brown of Minnesota (1958-60), offensive tackle Jimbo Covert of Pittsburgh (1980-83), end Jerry LeVias of Southern Methodist (1965-68), tackle Billy Neighbors of Alabama (1959-61), linebacker Ron Pritchard of Arizona State (1966-68), quarterback John Rauch of Georgia (1945-48), tailback Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State (1986-88), quarterback Joe Theismann of Notre Dame (1968-70) and defensive back Roger Wehrli of Missouri (1966-68)-and 2 coaches: Doug Dickey of Tennessee and Florida (1964-78) and Hayden Fry of Southern Methodist, North Texas State and Iowa (1962-98).

Known for his relentless, bull-like rushing style, Bell ran for 3,689 yards in his 4-year (1973-76) career to rank fourth on USC's all-time rushing list. He led the nation in rushing as a 1975 junior with 1,957 yards. As a 1976 senior, he rushed for 1,433 yards while earning Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, as well as winning the Voit Trophy (Pacific Coast's top player) and Pop Warner Award (top senior on the Pacific Coast). Against Washington State in 1976, he set still-standing USC game records for rushing yards (347) and carries (51). He was a member of Troy's 1974 national championship squad, played in 3 Rose Bowls (1974-75-77) and was MVP of the 1975 Liberty Bowl.

The No. 1 pick of the 1977 NFL draft by Tampa Bay, he played for the Buccaneers (1977-81) and San Diego Chargers (1982) before dying in 1984 at age 29 from cardiac arrest brought on by a rare skin and muscle disease. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

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