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Troy Polamalu

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Polamalu, who started for his third yeat at strong safety as a senior in 2002, became USC's first 2-time All-American first team pick since offensive tackle Tony Boselli in 1992 and 1994 by making the 2002 AP, Football Writers, Walter Camp, and All-American first teams, The Sporting News All-American second team and All-American honorable mention. He was 1 of 3 finalists for the Thorpe Award in 2002. He also was a repeat All-Pac-10 first teamer in 2002. He also made The Sporting News' All-Pac-10 first team. Overall in 2002 while appearing in 12 games (all but California), he had 68 tackles, including 9 for losses of 44 yards (with 3 sacks for 27 yards), plus an interception which he returned 33 yards, 6 deflections and 3 forced fumbles. He did all this despite playing with a nagging ankle sprain for the second half of 2002 (he hurt it early in the Washington State game and was sidelined versus California) and missing all but 2 plays of the Orange Bowl against Iowa because of a hamstring injury. Sports Illustrated named him as 1 of 5 "Terminators" in college football in 2002, a player "boasting an otherworldly combination of speed, strength and athleticism…who can single-handedly kill off drives and wreak havoc on game plans." His jersey currently was on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in the "Race for the Pantheon" exhibit that highlighted the nation's 10 leading candidates for post-season individual honors. A team captain for the second consecutive year, he also won USC's Most Inspirational Player Award and Co-Lifter Award. He was invited to play in the 2003 East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. He had 7 tackles (1 for a loss) against Auburn. He had a team-high 11 tackles at Colorado, earning Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors. At Kansas State, he had 7 tackles (2 for losses, with a sack), a deflection and forced a fumble (which was recovered by USC for a TD). He had 4 tackles and a deflection against Oregon State. He sprained his ankle on the first series at Washington State and saw only brief action late in the second half (he didn't make a tackle), then sat out the California game with the ankle sprain. He returned to the starting lineup against Washington and had 5 tackles, an interception (which he returned 33 yards to set up a USC field goal) and a deflection. At Oregon, he had 7 tackles (1 for a loss). He had a game-high 13 tackles at Stanford, including 2 for losses (with a sack). He made 5 tackles and had a deflection against Arizona State. He had 4 tackles (with a sack), a forced fumble and 2 pass deflections at UCLA. He had 5 tackles (2 for losses, with a sack) and forced a fumble against Notre Dame. He got in for only 2 plays against Iowa in the Orange Bowl because of a hamstring injury (he didn't make a tackle). Source


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