One of the greatest linemen in USC history, Marvin Powell led the Trojans to the 1974 national title.
IRVING, Texas (Oct. 3, 2022) – Marvin Powell, a 1994 College Football Hall of Fame inductee who played offensive tackle at Southern California from 1974 to 1976, passed away Sept. 30. He was 67.
He earned many titles during his lifetime: Marvin Powell the athlete, Marvin Powell the scholar, Marvin Powell the writer, Marvin Powell the lawyer. He fulfilled all of these roles with class and a commitment to excellence.
“One of the greatest linemen in USC history, Marvin Powell was as special off the field as he was on,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “He was a powerhouse on the line, paving the way for future Hall of Famers Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell. He would go on to an amazing career in the pros while also earning his law degree. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the entire USC community.”
A two-time First Team All-American, Marvin Powell stood 6-5 and weighed 270. As a sophomore in 1974 playing for future Hall of Fame coach John McKay, Powell helped the Trojans win the national championship. The team went 10-1-1, and Powell blocked for future Hall of Fame running back Anthony Davis, who rushed for 1,421 years and 13 touchdowns on the season. The Trojans capped the season with a 18-17 victory over No. 3 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
The following season, Powell blocked for another future Hall of Famer, Ricky Bell, who amassed 1,957 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. The team went 8-4 and finished No. 17 in the AP Poll after a 20-0 win against Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl.
In his final season at USC, Powell starred on the o-line during future Hall of Fame coach John Robinson’s inaugural season in Los Angeles. The team beat No. 2 Michigan, 14-6, in the Rose Bowl and finished 11-1 with a final No. 2 ranking in both the AP and UPI Coaches polls. Behind Powell’s blocking, Bell rushed for 1,433 yards and 14 touchdowns.
During Powell’s USC tenure, the Trojans beat Notre Dame three times, including the famous 1974 game. Southern Cal trailed at the half 24-6, then scored 49 points and won 55-24. A three-time all-conference player, Powell graduated in 1977 with a degree in political science and speech.
The No. 4 overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft, Powell played professionally from 1977 to 1988 with the New York Jets and the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his time in the NFL, he wrote a newspaper column, and he was elected president of the NFL Players Association for two years. He also worked as an intern at the New York Stock Exchange while spending six offseasons earning his law degree from New York Law School. During his 11 seasons in the NFL, he was selected to the Pro Bowl five straight seasons and was named an All-Pro three times.
In an interview for a Southern California alumni publication, Powell talked about personal goals: “I was never afraid to set a lofty goal and then go for it. I didn’t care what anybody thought. My father always encouraged me to shoot for everything. The key is striving to achieve a goal. If you fall short, so what? At least you went for it. As long as you want it and are willing to sacrifice for it, it doesn’t matter whether you get there.”
Born Aug. 30, 1955, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Powell attended Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville before heading to USC.