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22 days ‘til Alabama football kickoff: The Italian Stallion, Johnny Musso

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The tough-as-nails Musso epitomizes manball.

Johnny Musso 1971

For the silver age Alabama fans there are a handful of running backs that stand out. Wilbur Jackson, Steadman Shealy, Major Ogilvie among others. But there is one who may have been the very best of them all, Birmingham’s native son, Johnny Musso.

Musso, or the Italian Stallion, was the piston that drove the Alabama offense from 1969 to 1971, in particular ‘70-’71. For that era, Musso was considered a bigger back. He would not even be too out of place in a modern SEC offense, standing at close to six feet and weighing over 200 pounds.

The bruising Musso, and he was a battering ram, shattered nearly every Alabama rushing record, some of which would not fall until the late 90s or even the Nick Saban era. By the time he graduated, Musso had led the SEC in rushing and scoring back-to-back years. And, notably, he held school records for both yards (2742,) and touchdowns (34.) His total touchdown record would stand for nearly three decades before Shaun Alexander would eventually eclipse it.

Musso was All-SEC in 1970 and 1971, a consensus All-American in 1971, and that year finished fourth in Heisman balloting. In 1971 he would lead the Crimson Tide to a perfect regular season record and an SEC Championship en route to an 11-1 year.

Johnny Musso was a fantastic competitor and is still beloved by fans from the Bryant era and fans of old-school, SEC power football from the wishbone days.

He epitomizes Alabama football.

22 days ‘til kickoff.

Roll Tide.