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USC Offensive Line 1978 and 1979

The Ohio State Buckeyes may be gaining on the USC Trojans, but the men of Troy still have had more players drafted in the first round than any other school in the history of college football.

But, at the moment I am writing about Offensive Lines. Is there any doubt that over the years, the USC Trojans have fielded more talented Offensive Linemen in the history of the game? Only possibly Nebraska and Ohio State can argue that, but the evidence indicates otherwise.

I could just type out the name Anthony Munoz and stop right here.

Munoz, Ohio State’s Orlando Pace and Tony Boselli also of USC are the all time greatest Offensive Linemen in my book. Others may disagree, but those three were top notch. There are plenty of other talented Offensive Linemen that are really close.

But, my question for football fans is, has there ever been better Offensive Lines than the 1978 and 1979 USC Trojans?

The Nebraska Cornhuskers had some great Offensive Lines particularly in the early 1980s and the

mid 1990s.

But, as far as college production and the NFL Draft, it’s hard to beat the Trojans.

At Left Tackle, which is generally your top guy in 1978 was Anthony Munoz. Way ahead of his time at 6-6, 280, Munoz was such a talented athlete that he also pitched for the Trojan’s national championship baseball team. He was the 3rd player picked in the 1980 NFL Draft and is considered maybe the best Offensive Lineman in NFL history. He’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only problem with Munoz at USC was he missed a lot of playing time his junior and senior seasons.

Losing a talent like Munoz could be bad, but not so much when his replacement was a young Don Mosebar. Even bigger than Munoz, Mosebar was 6-6, 305. He was also a 1st round pick of the then Los Angeles Raiders where he went on to play 12 seasons and was a multiple year All-Pro.

It’s really hard to beat Anthony Munoz and Don Mosebar sharing the Left Tackle position. When Munoz was out his junior year in 1978, he was replaced by Otis Page, who was a talent also.

Over on the right side of the line of scrimmage was another extremely talented Tackle in Keith Van Horne. Listed as 6-7, 265, Van Horne was just a sophomore in 1978, but he went on to be honored as a consensus All American in 1980. The Chicago Bears drafted him with their first pick in the 1981 NFL Draft and he started right away blocking for the great Walter Peyton. He played for the Bears for 13 seasons even with maybe the greatest NFL team ever in the 85 Bears. He wasn’t there to cause no trouble, he was there to do the Super Bowl Shuffle.

The Guards were Pat Howell and Brad Budde and it just keeps getting better.

Howell was a senior in 1978, earning consensus All American that season. Guards aren’t usually as valuable to NFL teams as those prototypical Tackles so Howell wasn’t taken until the 2nd round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Howell was a Parade All American coming out of high school and he just had that look of a USC football player with the long blond hair. He would have fit

in well at USC, or at the beach with a surf board.

Budde is the son of former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Lineman, Ed Budde, and he was a 4 year starter at Offensive Guard for the Trojans.

Budde was a unanimous 1st team All American in 1979 and then was a 1st round draft pick by none other than the Kansas City Chiefs.

After Howell graduated, he was replaced by Roy Foster on the 1979 team. Amazingly, Foster was named All American in 1980 and 1981 and was a 1st round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1982.

This is just amazing. The talent level at USC in those days was mind boggling.

At Center for the Trojans was Chris Foote. Surprisingly, Foote lasted until the 6th round to be drafted when the then Baltimore Colts picked him up. He played for the Colts, New York Football Giants,  did a stint in the USFL, before playing more in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings.

Seven starters over two seasons and five first round draft picks, with a second round pick and a sixth round guy mixed in. That’s an incredible amount of talent.

The 1978 team finished 12-1 and shared the national championship with Alabama even though they had beaten the Crimson Tide in Birmingham 24-14.

Trojan tailback Charles White rushed for 1,859 yards and 13 Touchdowns in 1978 and it’s easy to see why with his Offensive Line. Lynn Cain ran for an additional 977 yards.

The 1979 team completed an 11-0-1 record and finished 2nd, at least in the Associated Poll standings.

Charles White finished with 2,050 yards rushing and sophomore Fullback and star of the future Marcus Allen ran for 649 yards.

In football, it’s always started up front, and the USC Trojans of these days were loaded in the Offensive Lines.