Before Rocky Balboa, Johnny Mussso was known to football fans as the “Italian Stallion” Musso was a star running back for Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide from 1969-71, where he excelled on the football field and in the classroom at the University of Alabama.
Musso had his best years with the Crimson Tide in 1970 and 71, when he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each season against SEC opponents, leading the conference both years. He also led the SEC in scoring in 1971 as he picked up 100 points.
Thanks to his great success in 1971, Musso finished fourth in the Heisman voting and was named Player of the Year by Football News. He also was selected as a First Team All-American while being voted as a Consensus All-American the following year.
A member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Musso finished his Crimson Tide career with a school-record 34 rushing touchdowns and 2,741 rushing yards. When his college career ended, Musso was signed by the Chicago Bears but chose to play with the CFL’s British Columbia Lions instead. After three seasons in Canada, Musso played in the World Football League for his hometown Birmingham Vulcans before finishing his playing days with the Bears, where he rushed for 365 yards and six touchdowns.
A member of the College Football Hall of Fame since 2000, Johnny Musso joins the class of 2007 in the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.