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College football notes: Hall of Fame 2019 class includes Goodyear Blimp, USC's Troy Polamalu

The College Football Hall of Fame’s newest class includes an unusual member: the Goodyear Blimp.

The blimp will become the hall’s first non-human, named on Monday as an honorary inductee for its contribution to the way fans view the game.

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“College players and fans know that when the Goodyear Blimp shows up, it’s a big game,” said Archie Manning, the National Football Foundation chairman. “Its presence is intrinsically known and tied to the traditions that make college football great.”

The blimp first hovered over a college game at the 1955 Rose Bowl when network executives wanted aerial coverage of the match-up between USC and Ohio State. Since then, it has participated in the broadcast of more than 2,000 games.

“For me, playing under the blimp felt like a payoff for the hard work that goes into game day,” said Kirk Herbstreit, the former Ohio State quarterback who is now a television analyst. “So I’m excited it’s getting recognized for its contributions.”

As for the more traditional inductees, former USC star Troy Polamalu joins a list that includes Raghib Ismail, former coach Dennis Erickson and Vince Young, the Texas quarterback who defeated the Trojans in the 2005 national championship.

USC defensive back Troy Polamalu leads the Trojans in a victory song following a 44-13 win over Notre Dame on Nov. 30, 2002.
USC defensive back Troy Polamalu leads the Trojans in a victory song following a 44-13 win over Notre Dame on Nov. 30, 2002. (Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times)

A two-time All-American at safety who later played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Polamalu becomes the 44th inductee with USC ties and the 13th in the past 20 years.

The class of 13 players and two coaches will be formally inducted at a later ceremony in New York.

Buckeyes’ Haskins declares for draft

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. announced on social media that he is leaving school to enter the NFL draft.

The third-year sophomore became the starter this season and set several school and Big Ten Conference season passing records. He was third in Heisman Trophy voting.

Haskins is projected to be a first-round draft pick.

The announcement Friday that Georgia quarterback Justin Fields would transfer to Ohio State divulged Haskins’ decision. Haskins said he and Fields talked before Fields made the decision to transfer to Ohio State.

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More players are on the move

Iowa State junior running back David Montgomery announced he is leaving for the NFL. Montgomery ran for 1,216 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. ... Washington redshirt sophomore cornerback Byron Murphy said he’s entering the draft after being a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection. ... Former Oklahoma receiver A.D. Miller will play for Illinois next season. He is a graduate transfer who will be immediately eligible for one season.

Ohio State hires coordinators

Ohio State announced that Greg Mattison, Michigan’s defensive line coach the last four seasons, will join the staff of new Buckeyes coach Ryan Day as defensive co-coordinator.

A second defensive coordinator, Jeff Hafley, also was hired Monday. That means Greg Schiano, who was Urban Meyer’s defensive coordinator for three seasons, is out of a job.

Hafley, who spent the last seven seasons as an NFL assistant, also will coach Ohio State’s secondary.

Deal is finalized

Miami finalized the hiring of Blake Baker as defensive coordinator and announced that Ephraim Banda will remain in a co-coordinator capacity on defense.

Baker joins the Hurricanes from Louisiana Tech. He has a long history with new Miami coach Manny Diaz, who gave him his start in coaching on the staff at Texas.

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