Matt Kalil became the 22nd USC offensive lineman to be drafted in the first round since 1968. Give your choices for the all-time USC offensive line, one player for each position.
Note: The player did not have to be a first-round pick to qualify for this list.
OT -- I didn’t get a chance to see Ron Yary play in person but from what I’ve seen on film, and from what I’ve been told by those who did see him, it’s a pretty solid pick to have him at one tackle spot. The next spot is a little more delicate because for me it comes down to Anthony Munoz or Tony Boselli. My gosh, how do you go wrong with either guy? If I have to pick, I’ll go with Boselli, primarily because the injuries Munoz had at USC impacted his playing time so much. Boselli was just a beast, he had size and athleticism and a mean streak.
OG -- Brad Budde gets one spot, pure and simple. There aren’t too many who played the position as well as he did at the college level. For the second spot I’ll go with Bruce Matthews and I feel pretty good about those two choices.
C -- With so much attention paid to Matt Kalil in recent days, let’s give older brother Ryan a little pat on the back and recognize him as possibly the best center to play at USC. He led the way for some pretty potent offenses after making the transition from being a high school tackle.
OT -- How do you pick among some of the finest offensive tackles in the history of the sport? Well, the first selection is a slam dunk. It is Ron Yary, who is the Trojans' only Outland Trophy winner ('67), a two-time All American and a member of the college and [ro football halls of fame. The other tackle spot is trickier. If you go merely by ability, it has to be Anthony Munoz, who went on to prove in the NFL that he was possibly the finest tackle in history. But at USC, injuries limited his career so much he never even was an All American. If you go by production, I'd have to pick Marvin Powell, a two-time All-American in the mid '70s and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, in a photo finish over Tony Boselli and Sam Baker, both multi-time All-Americans.
OG -- Brad Budde is an easy choice. He is the university's only Lombardi Award winner ('79), a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and someone who went on to become a great perennial Pro Bowl guard. The other choice would be Bruce Matthews, an All-American in the early '80s, the Pac-10 offensive lineman of the year in '82 who went go on to have a great NFL career and be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
C -- Ryan Kalil. This position isn't as deep as the others, but there were still some excellent candidates. Kalil wins out because he was an All-American, a Pac-10 Morris Trophy (best offensive lineman) winner and a four-year letterman in the Pete Carroll glory days who played on two national championship teams. Oh yeah, the Trojans went 48-4 in his career and he has gone on to become a Pro Bowl center. Hard to top that.
OT -- Ron Yary. The greatest offensive tackle in Trojans history. The only Outland Trophy winner and a two-time All-America selection (1966-67), a consensus choice his senior season. The key to helping lead tailback O.J. Simpson to glory on the 1967 team. As great as he was, Yary stayed humble and was the epitome of a team player. My other tackle is Tony Boselli. He didn’t play on dominant Trojans teams, but he ranks right behind Yary. A two-time All-American (1992, ‘94), he did it all by being the Trojans MVP and captain in 1994. A Morris Trophy winner as outstanding offensive lineman in the Pac-10, he continued his outstanding career at the NFL All-Pro level. A brute with brains, Boselli will be inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame this year.
OG -- Perhaps the most intense offensive lineman in Trojans history and the only Lombardi Award winner in the school’s storied past, Brad Budde was a man when he arrived and lived up to his high school legend. A 1979 unanimous All-American, he was the Outland Trophy runner-up his senior season and was the Trojans offensive player of the year his senior season. Did we mention he was a three-time All-Pac-10 performer? Roy Foster was a two-time All-American (1980-81), consensus his senior season, and a two-time Morris Trophy winner, as well. A three-time all-conference selection, he was a former fullback converted into an offensive guard. His ability to pull out on the famed Trojans sweeps was breathtaking. You could argue his pro career wasn’t as dominant as his Trojans career, but he did play in two Super Bowls (XVlll & XlX).
C -- There have been a number of fine centers in the history of Trojans football and some All-Americans, too, like Tony Slaton, but Ryan Kalil took it to another level his season year by being named an All-American in 2006. A member of two national titles (2003-04), Kalil was yet another Morris Trophy (2006) winner as the best offensive lineman in the Pac-10. Kalil, who is now amongst the elite centers in the NFL, is the standard for all future Trojans centers.
LT Tony Boselli, LG Brad Budde, C Ryan Kalil, RG Bruce Matthews, RT Ron Yary
Boselli gets the nod over Anthony Munoz purely based on their USC careers. It's tough to leave out guards such as Roy Foster, Jeff Bregel and Johnny Baker. But this group of five players features eight All-American seasons, three Morris Trophies, a Lombardi Award and an Outland Trophy, two college football hall-of-famers and two pro football hall-of-famers. I understand that a phenomenal all-time USC offensive line could be put together with five completely different players, but I'll go ahead and line up with these five in any game and see how it plays out.