By the time Charles White came to the USC campus, the Trojan running game was in it's heyday of dominance after Mike Garret, O.J. Simpson, Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell all took turns in what was college football's glamour position. By the time he left, he had the most productive career of an Pac 10 running back ever.
During White's freshman year, he had to play second fiddle to Ricky Bell who ran for 1,417 yards and 14 touchdowns. Even though Bell finished 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting, White made a name for himself rushing for 858 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass. With the job all White's, he ran for 1,478 yards in his sophomore year, 1,859 in his junior season and 2,050 in his senior year for a Pac 10 record 6,245 yards setting the record after just his junior season. The NCAA doesn't count bowl games, but he finished his career #2 with 5,598 regular season yards. During his career, he set or tied 22 NCAA, Pac 10, USC and Rose Bowl records. You have to give credit to his ridiculously talented offensive line which included Anthony Munoz, Pat Howell, Brad Budde, Keith Van Horne and Roy Foster.
White didn't just beat up on the patsies, he made himself a legend in the biggest games ... the Rose Bowls. In the 1977 Rose Bowl, he stepped in for an injured Ricky Bell and ran for 122 yards and a touchdown in a 14-6 win over Michigan. In the 1979 17-10 win over the Wolverines, White ran for 99 yards and an infamous phantom three-yard touchdown dive. In 1980, he saved his best for last tearing off a Rose Bowl record 247 yards with 71 coming on an epic eight play, 83 yard drive with 5:21 to play culminating in a one-yard touchdown run.
Taken with the 27th pick in the 1980 draft by the Cleveland Browns, White was a major bust. He hooked up with his former coach John Robinson and the Los Angeles Rams tearing off a huge 1987 season leading the league with 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns.
College Football Hall of Fame - 1996
Heisman Trophy - 1979
Unanimous All-American - 1978, 1979
Maxwell Award - 1979
Walter Camp Award - 1979
Rose Bowl Hall of Fame - 1979
USC Hall of Fame - 1995
In its third and fourth seasons, American Gladiators held special "Pro Football Challenge of Champions" shows. Charles White participated in both and won both, both times coming from behind in the Eliminator thanks to slip-ups by his opponents.
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