Charles White, the Heisman Trophy winner at USC who went on to a nine-year NFL career in 1979, died on Wednesday; according to his alma mater. He was 64 years old.
No cause of death has been confirmed for USC, but White The Los Angeles Times reported from last July to be a contender for insanity.
White’s lifelong legacy comes almost entirely from Los Angeles, where he was a four-year star at USC and a Pro Bowler long after. Los Angeles Rams. He found early success with the Trojans, rushing for a school record 858 yards as a freshman and leading the Pac 8 with 1,478 yards as a sophomore.
His junior and senior seasons were more successful. Centra was part of USC’s 1978 national championship team, then took home the college’s top honor in 1979 after passing for 2,050 yards and 19 touchdowns.
White remains the Pac-12 all-time leader in yards with 6,245 and ranks as the NCAA’s No. 2 all-time rushing leader. It remains fifth on the sports list, if you count stage games.
After a highly successful college career, White was chosen by him Cleveland with the 27th overall pick in the 1980 NFL draft. His professional career unfortunately saw more ups and downs than variety, as he never rushed for more than 350 yards in five years with the Browns.
According to the Times, White was already using marijuana and cocaine when he entered the NFL, but his drug use during his time with the Browns, as did injuries, became a problem. He was eventually released by the Browns and returned to Los Angeles in 1985 with the Rams, where former USC coach John Robinson became the head coach.
White’s problems continued in LA, and came to a head in 1987, when a high-profile cocaine dealer was found near the Rams’ training complex and arrested on misdemeanor charges; through the ages. Robinson stuck by the old player, despite working out a deal with the NFL for White to continue his career while repeatedly testing drugs.
That faith was rewarded the following season, when White rushed for an NFL-best 1,374 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn his first and only career All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, plus the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
One season after this album, the career continued. He was suspended for four games in 1988 after testing positive for alcohol, violating his contract with the NFL, and announced his retirement the following offseason, losing his starting spot. In retirement, he worked at USC as a special assistant to the athletic director, running backs and specific administrative duties.
At USC, White is survived by his wife Judianne White-Basch and their children Nicole, Julian, Tara, Ashton and Sophia, as well as his granddaughter Giovanna Hemmen.