On the record, Reggie Bush never won the Heisman Trophy in 2005 because he received illegal gifts, which led to him forfeiting it. But anyone who had the privilege of watching the running back and do-it-all force suit up for the Trojans knows different. And even if it says “Vacant” next to the year in the annals of college football, we all know whose name goes there.
Bush was a force in every facet of the game right away with USC. As a freshman, he only notched 90 carries but still rushed for 521 yards and three touchdowns, caught 15 balls for 314 yards and four scores and also returned 18 kicks for 492 yards and a score. That continued as a sophomore as he rushed for 908 yards (143 carries) and six touchdowns while notching 43 receptions for 503 yards and seven scores, returning 21 kicks for 537 yards and returning 24 punts for 376 yards and two scores.
In his famed 2005 season, however, Bush did it all at the highest level. The USC running back had 200 carries for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns along with 37 receptions for 478 yards and two scores. Meanwhile, he stayed a special teams ace too with 28 kick returns for 493 yards and 18 punt returns for 179 yards and one touchdown as well.
Over three years, Bush ranks eighth all-time in rushing yards and touchdowns and was obviously and all-purpose yard monster. The running back is one of the defining figures in college football of the 2000s and there’s no denying his place in USC football history — no matter what the NCAA has to say about it.