Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu is congratulated by his uncle, Kennedy Pola, after USC beat Oregon in Eugene in 2002.

Troy Polamalu, who is close to being a first-ballot inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will have at least one Hall of Fame induction to his name as of Tuesday night.

The 1999 Douglas High School graduate will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame thanks to his performances at Southern California, where he was a two-time All-American safety and helped set the groundwork for the Trojans’ stretch of college-football dominance in the early part of the 21st century.

A public ceremony will take place on Dec. 27 in Atlanta, but Polamalu’s official enshrinement will take place during the National Football Foundation’s Annual Award Dinner on Tuesday night in New York City. He’ll be part of a class of athletes that includes Texas quarterback Vince Young, Notre Dame receiver Raghib Ismial and Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer.

Two coaches — former Oregon State coach Dennis Erickson and longtime coach Joe Taylor — will also be inducted.

Heavily recruited by college scouts when he was at Douglas, Polamalu settled on Southern California in part since his uncle, Kennedy Polamalu, was slated to be an assistant coach there in 2000. It turned into a collegiate career that made him the 32nd player in USC history to be elected into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Accolades included being selected as a two-time All-American, winning consensus honors in 2002. He was also a finalist for the Thorpe Award that year as a senior at USC, helping the Trojans win the Pac-10 title under then-coach Pete Carroll and post their first 11-win season since 1979.

That helped him become the 16th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who went on to reach three Super Bowls — winning two of them — in his 12-year career. Polamalu’s career also included eight Pro-Bowl selections.

Polamalu and his wife also set up the Troy & Theodora Polamalu Foundation, raising millions for charities.

Finalists for the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced in January. Five of those 15 finalists will be announced on Feb. 1, the night before Super Bowl LIV.

Erickson coached Oregon State from 1999-2002, guiding the Beavers to an 11-1 season, a share of the Pac-10 title and a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2000. In his first season, the Beavers posted their first winning season in 29 years and had their first bowl appearance in 35 seasons.

He is the first coach to earn Pac-12 coach of the year honors at three separate schools within the conference and finished with an overall coaching record of 179-96-1, which included a pair of national championships at the University of Miami. His record at Oregon State — 31-17 — is the best winning percentage among coaches who have led the program for at least three years.

Jon Mitchell is a page designer, photographer and writer for The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4214, or at Follow him on Twitter @byJonMitchell.

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