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O/NSO: The USC Mount Rushmore series – The Offensive Tackles

The Obvious: When you partake with your college football buddies regarding which Division 1 school has had the most impact in producing offensive linemen, certainly the University of Southern California is in that debate mix. All those great USC running backs will tell you that the history of Trojans offensive linemen is second to none, and that’s what makes it so difficult to name a four-man O/NSO USC Football Mount Rushmore as it pertains to the “Big Uglies.”

The Not So Obvious: The O/NSO admits that it’s probably impossible to name just four offensive line in the glorious history of USC football, so in talking with our O/NSO editorial board – namely me, myself, and I – it was decided to break down the offensive line into three separate categories: tackles, guards, and centers. This will give maximum exposure to those that deserve the recognition at their respective positions along the O-line.

Like the other positions on our Mount Rushmore, it’s not so much whom you select, but whom you eliminate from our four-man mountain of greatness. Even though these titans didn’t make our four-man group of offensive tackles, let’s recognize those blocks of irresistible force that still deserve recognition for their greatness.

The O/NSO is humbled to give recognition to offensive tackles like Tay Brown, John Ferraro, Sid Smith, Marv Montgomery, Pete Adams, Steve Riley, Booker Brown, Marvin Powell, Keith Van Horne, Don Mosebar, Dave Cadigan, Jacob Rogers, Sam Baker, Tyron Smith, Matt Kalil, and Charles Brown.      

As great as he was – a two-time All-American – offensive tackle Marvin Powell (photo above) just missed being on the O/NSO USC Mount Rushmore for offensive tackles.

As always, feel free to dissent from our selections and tell us your own selections on the Garry P. WeAreSC message board. A reminder, our selections are not ranked in order of greatness but as a group and not by what they accomplished after their playing days at USC.

The O/NSO now proudly presents our four offensive tackles for the O/NSO’s USC Football Mount Rushmore.

The Obvious: Ronald “Ron” Jack Mix (1957- 1959) is one of USC’s all-time offensive tackles, a graduate of Hawthorne (Calif.) High, who turned himself into one of football’s all-time greats.  

Ron Mix (photo above) was a legendary tackle for the USC Trojans who was one of the first lineman to be devoted to a weightroom program before it became a way of football life.

The Not So Obvious: In 1959, Ron (6-3, 215) was named First Team All American, AP First Team All-Pacific Coast, First Team All-Big Five, and won the USC Lineman of the Year Award in 1959. In 1959, he was also named co-captain of the Trojans. At Hawthorne High, Ron made only honorable mention his senior season and his calling card position was as an end. However, at a time when lifting weights was frowned upon, Mix felt he needed to develop physically and was actually ahead of his time by going to gyms off campus to get bigger and stronger.

At Troy, Ron continued to get bigger and besides mastering offensive tackle, he played defense, as well. In fact, in 1957, he actually led the team in interceptions (1). In his senior season in 1959, his Trojans finished the season at 8-2 and were ranked 14th in the final AP Poll.

During his time in pro football, Ron was elected to the AFL All-Star team for eight straight years as a Charger, was a nine-time All-AFL selection, is a member of the All-time ALL-AFL team, and is one of only 20 men who played the entire 10 years of the AFL. He was the first Charger to have his number retired in 1969 after he announced he was retiring from football after playing injured that season.

In 1969, Ron was unanimously voted to the All-Time AFL Team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and named to the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1978. He was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. In 1997, Ron was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Below is a Ron Mix video that recounts his football career and his devotion to racial inclusion.

The Obvious: Anthony Ronald “Ron” Yary (1965-67) is arguably the greatest offensive tackle in USC football history.

There is general consensus that the greatest USC offensive tackle was Ron Yary (photo above), who is Troy’s lone Outland Trophy Award winner in school history.

The Not So Obvious: Ron (6-5, 245) was born in Chicago and attended Bellflower High and then Cerritos College (1964). In the spring semester of 1965, he transferred to USC. As a sophomore in 1965, Ron was voted the Pac-8 Defensive Lineman of the Year and All-West Coast for his play at defensive tackle.

Because the 1966 Trojans were in need of offensive linemen,  Ron, now a junior, was moved to the O-line where he became a consensus All-American. In 1967, he was a unanimous All-American choice, helping lead the Trojans during his senior season to the national championship. He was also the 1967 winner of both the Outland Trophy (USC’s only Outland winner) and the Knute Rockne Award, awards that annually go to the nation’s top collegiate lineman.

During Ron’s three seasons, the Trojans compiled a 24-7-1 record. In 1987, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2012, No. 77 was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame . In 2015, Ron was named to the Pac-12 All-Century team. 

Professionally, Ron was the first overall pick of the 1968 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He was named All-Pro six consecutive seasons (1971–76), All-Pro second team in 1970 and 1977, and was an All-NFC choice from 1970 through 1977. He played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls and in 2001 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Below are three Ron Yary videos. The first is Ron informing why he selected USC to play college football, the second are his thoughts of playing UCLA, and the third is a podcast with pictures. All three videos are quite informative.

The Obvious: Michael Anthony Munoz (1976-79) had one of the most heartbreaking careers in USC football history because he suffered three knee injuries during his time as a Trojan, but when he was healthy, he was arguably as great an offensive tackle that has ever played at USC. While you can arguably debate – based on his playing time at Troy – that he should not have made the O/NOS’s Mount Rushmore for offensive tackles, his production when he played was never in debate.

Despite three knee surgeries during his USC career, Anthony Munoz (photo above) was so great that when he was healthy, it’s almost impossible to leave him off the O/NSO Mount Rushmore for offensive tackles.

The Not So Obvious: You might be surprised to know that in Anthony’s four season career at Troy, he never made All-America and was only named to the All-Pac-10 team his junior season (1978). Because of his knee issues, he played in a reported 16 games, but when he was healthy, he was truly a great one. With major size (6-7, 280), Anthony had extraordinary athleticism. In fact, at Ontario (Calif.) Chaffey High, he was not only a Parade All-American in football but excelled in basketball and baseball, a sport he played at USC as a pitcher, contributing to the Trojans 1978 national championship baseball team.

And despite his injuries as a Trojan, he still managed to be the third selection overall in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s quite apparent that Anthony would have made all the post-season college football all-star teams had he not been injured for most of his senior season. In recognition of his greatness at Troy, he was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

In 1998, Anthony was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (9 consecutive years an All-Pro selection and 11 consecutive Pro Bowl selections). Shortly after receiving the Hall of Fame honor, his hometown of Ontario renamed its Colony Park “Anthony Muñoz Hall of Fame Park.”

Below are two videos with Anthony Munoz. The first, Anthony speaks passionately to a youth group on how he overcame injuries at USC, the 1980 Rose Bowl Game, and his own personal work ethic. The second video was his final game as a Trojan, the 1980 Rose Bowl game against Ohio State, where Anthony (No. 77) returned to have a spectacular game, a game he claims was probably his best game in four seasons as a Trojan – especially the final game-winning drive, which eventually led to his high draft selection.  

The Obvious: Don Bosco Anthony “Tony” Boselli Jr. (1991-94) was a bright shining star for the Trojans’ offensive line during his time. Tony was recruited out of Fairview High in Boulder, Colorado.

When you get right down to it and examine all his credentials, Tony Boselli (photo above) checked off all the boxes to be the O/NSO’s fourth and final offensive tackle to be on our Mount Rushmore.

The Not So Obvious: Tony (6-6, 305) was a USC two-time All-American (1992 and 1994). He was a consensus selection in 1994. He was also a three-time, first-team All-Pac-10 selection in 1992, 1993, and 1994. In 1994, Tony also won the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the conference.

A co-captain for the 1994 Trojans team, Tony was also the USC team MVP in 1994, quite a feat considering he was an offensive lineman and not a skill player.

In 2016, Tony was inducted into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2014, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Professionally, Tony was selected as the second overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft, the first-ever draft pick of the new Jacksonville Jaguars franchise. He went on to be a five-time Pro Bowl player and was named three times first team All Pro (1997-1999). Tony was also selected to the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team.

Below are two videos of Tony Boselli. The first is Tony being interviewed in the Coliseum during a Trojans Live spring game, and the second video a College Football Hall of Fame press conference for his induction.

The Obvious: And finally, when you listen to old-timers talking that the Trojans don’t have the offensive linemen they used to have, you can point to our four Mount Rushmore selections as the standard-bearers.   

The Not So Obvious: Moving on to next Friday, the O/NSO will announce our four-man Mount Rushmore of offensive guards. Do you already have your selections?

Previous O/NSO USC Football Mount Rushmore selections:

The head coach: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-football-mount-rushmore-series-edition-presenting-the-immortal-head-coaches/ 

The quarterbacks: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-quarterbacks/  

The running backs: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-tailbacks/  

The wide receivers: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-wide-receviers/

The fullbacks: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-fullbacks/

Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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