Heisman Winner Carson Palmer Among 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class

USC quarterback Carson Palmer. Photo Credit: Kathe Osborne

Carson Palmer, the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner out of USC, was among 11 first-team All-Americans and two coaches announced today as part of the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class by the National Football Foundation (NFF).

Palmer is the 66th Heisman Trophy winner to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, following Nebraska’s Eric Crouch’s inclusion in the 2020 class. Most recently before Crouch was Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 2018 and Palmer’s USC teammate Matt Leinart in 2017.

To be eligible, a player must have “received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise its consensus All-America teams,” per the NFF and “a player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.”

Players currently playing professionally are not eligible until they retire. The full release for the 2021 class and the complete criteria for the award is available here.

The 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7 alongside the 2020 Hall of Fame Class (the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19).

Below is Palmer’s bio in the NFF press release:

The winner of the 2002 Heisman Trophy, Carson Palmer helped usher in a new era of dominance at USC and finished his career as the Pac-10’s all-time leading passer. The Rancho Santa Margarita, California, native becomes the 33rd Trojan player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

A consensus First Team All-American in 2002, Palmer was the first USC quarterback to win the Heisman, and he also received the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Pop Warner Award and Sporting News National Player of the Year. The Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, he guided the 2002 USC squad to its first 11-win season since 1979, a share of the conference title and a No. 4 national ranking. The 2002 co-captain and team MVP capped his stellar career earning MVP honors in the Trojans’ 2003 Orange Bowl victory.

The USC record holder with 1,569 career pass attempts, Palmer finished his time in Los Angeles as the Trojans’ all-time leader in career passing yards and career total offense, and he currently ranks second in both categories. His 11,818 passing yards and 11,621 yards of total offense – both also Pac-10 career records at the time – currently rank sixth and eighth in conference history, respectively. A two-time recipient of the Marv Goux Award for efforts in the annual USC-UCLA rivalry game, Palmer ranks second all-time in single-season passing at USC with 309 completions for 3,942 yards in 2002. A teammate of College Football Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu at USC, Palmer is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and his No. 3 jersey has been retired by the program.

The first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Palmer played 15 seasons with the Bengals (2003-10), Oakland Raiders (2011-12) and Arizona Cardinals (2013-17). A three-time Pro Bowler, he was named the 2005 AFC Player of the Year after leading the Bengals to their first winning season and playoff appearance in 15 years. A member of the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor, Palmer ranked 12th all-time in both passing yards and passing touchdowns when he retired from the NFL.

Off the field, he established the Carson Palmer Foundation to assist abused and abandoned children. Palmer has provided aid and support to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He and his wife recently pledged to make a challenge gift of $300,000 for Compassion International’s “Fill the Stadium” initiative, which seeks to provide essential food, medical care and support for children and their families during the Coronavirus pandemic.