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Carson Palmer named to College Football Hall of Fame

USC quarterback Carson Palmer is one of 13 new members of the College Football Hall of Fame. Palmer will become the 34th former player and 45th overall inductee with USC ties so honored.

Palmer started four seasons at quarterback for the Trojans and is one of the players most closely tied to USC’s most recent rise to prominence. During his career, which spanned from 1998 through 2002, Palmer set or tied 33 Pac-12 or USC records.

His 2002 season was spectacular, as Palmer threw for 3,942 yards and 33 touchdowns, led the Trojans to a No. 4 national ranking and walked away with the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Sporting News Player of the Year, Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Consensus All-American honors and First-Team All-Pac-10. His passing yardage and touchdown numbers were all then-USC records.

He finished his USC career as the Pac-10’s all-time leader in total offense and passing yards. Palmer was USC’s first-ever quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy and that 2002 season marked USC’s first 11-win season since 1979. His No. 3 jersey has been retired by USC.

That 2002 season set the stage for back-to-back national championships in 2003 and 2004, and a magnificent seven-year run as college football’s best overall program.

He became the No. 1 overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, the fifth time that distinction had gone to a former Trojan. Over a 15-year NFL career, Palmer threw for 46,247 yards and 294 touchdowns. He led both the Bengals and Arizona Cardinals to the playoffs and was inducted into the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor in 2019.

He’ll be joined in this Hall of Fame class by North Carolina offensive tackle Harris Barton, Arizona State defensive back David Fulcher, Miami linebacker Dan Morgan, Eastern Illinois quarterback Tony Romo, Texas defensive tackle Kenneth Sims, Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, Kansas State running back Darren Sproles, Notre Dame offensive tackle Aaron Taylor, Iowa defensive end Andre Tippett, Tennessee linebacker Al Wilson, Florida A&M coach Rudy Hubbard and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. 

Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.

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