The fourth running back from the University of Southern California to win the Heisman Trophy, Marcus Allen did it by being the first rusher to cover more than 2,000 yards in one season. He finished his senior year with 2,342 yards. Marcus was the first man to have 4 straight 200-yard plus games. On October 31, 1982 in USC's 41-7 win over Washington State, Allen toted up 289 yards on 44 carries and scored 4 touchdowns
Allen played running back from 1978 to 1981. He was recruited as a defensive back, but head coach John Robinson switched him to tailback. Allen spent his first season at USC as a backup to Heisman Trophy winning running back Charles White. In 1979, he was moved to fullback. Eventually, in 1980, Allen became the starter at tailback and rushed for 1,563 yards, the second-most in the nation that year.
Allen shares the NCAA record for most 200-yard rushing games with Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne, each completing the feat twelve times.
USC has retired his jersey number (33), and coach Robinson has called Allen, "the greatest player I ever saw." On December 14, 2006, Allen hosted the USC Football Awards banquet at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.
Southern Cal's Marcus Allen won five of the six sections and outdistanced Georgia's Herschel Walker, 441-204, in first place votes. Walker's second place finish was the highest for a sophomore since Glenn Davis of Army in 1944.