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Ricky Bell

Running Back

Ricky Lynn Bell

Inducted 2003

Date of Birth



Houston, TX


University of Southern California (1973-1976)


Originally a linebacker, Ricky Bell survived two position changes to become a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. After spending his freshman season on defense, he was moved to offense spending a season at fullback blocking for Anthony Davis. His relentless rushing style made him the featured tailback in 1975. That year, he led the nation in rushing with 1875 yards, became a unanimous All-America, and placed third in the Heisman voting. In the post-season, he was named MVP of the Liberty Bowl. The following season, Bell placed second in the Heisman balloting and repeated as an unanimous All-America selection. He established a single game school record with 51 carries and 347 yards against Washington State. Ricky was also the Conference Player of the Year and played in both the Hula and Japan Bowls. During his career he had 16 games where he exceeded 100-yards rushing. He was the number one overall selection in the 1977 NFL draft. He played six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sadly, he died in 1984 at the age of 29 from cardiac arrest brought on by a rare skin and muscle disease. His life story was made into "Triumph of the Heart" a made-for-television movie.


Height 6'2

Weight 220

Career Highlights

  • 1976 All-Conference
  • 1976 Conference MVP
  • 1976 Heisman - Second
  • 1976 Unanimous All-America
  • 1975 All-Conference
  • 1975 Heisman - Third
  • 1975 Led nation in rushing
  • 1975 Unanimous All-America
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