The University of Georgia, the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame announced Thursday that they will jointly honor 2020 College Football Hall of Fame electee David Pollack, a Shiloh graduate, with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute this weekend.
The ceremony will take place Saturday, Sept. 18, during the Bulldogs’ home football game against South Carolina. Coverage of the game will start at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
“I appreciate the surprise,” Pollack said after being surprised live on-air with the Hall of Fame announcement during “SportsCenter” in March 2020. “You never do anything like this by yourself. Great coaches, I’m here at Georgia right now, obviously that’s a big part of it. My high school coaches, my family being a part of it growing up. You never do any of this stuff alone, there’s always a ton of people to thank and to be thankful for.”
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural College Football Hall of Fame Class in 1951, has become a hallowed tradition, and to this day the singular events remain the first of numerous activities in the Hall of Fame experience.
During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each electee returns to his respective school to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will stay on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many Hall of Famers cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and be recognized in front of their home crowd.
The 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Classes will be officially inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas Dec. 7 at the ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas. The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19.
“David Pollack left Athens as one of the most decorated players in school history, following the legendary Herschel Walker as just the second Georgia player to earn First Team All-America accolades in three seasons,” said NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are thrilled to honor him at Sanford Stadium.”
A consensus first-team All-American in 2002 and 2004, Pollack received the Bednarik Award, Rotary Lombardi Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy following his senior campaign. The 2002 SEC Player of the Year and 2004 SEC Defensive Player of the Year led Georgia to consecutive conference title games, taking the crown during his sophomore season.
The only two-time recipient of the Ted Hendricks Award as the top defensive end in college football, Pollack was a three-time first-team All-SEC selection and two-time Nagurski Trophy finalist. The 2004 team captain guided the Bulldogs to top 10 finishes in his final three seasons, highlighted by a No. 3 ranking in 2002 when the team posted a 13-1 record and a Sugar Bowl win over Florida State.
Pollack earned Defensive MVP honors following a 2004 Capital One Bowl win over Purdue, and he followed that up with MVP honors after a school bowl record three sacks in a 2005 Outback Bowl victory over Wisconsin.
The two-time Vince Dooley team MVP is Georgia's all-time leader with 36 sacks, a mark that ranks fourth in SEC history. Pollack also holds school career records for 58.5 tackles for loss and three blocked punts, and he boasts two of the top five single-season sack performances in Bulldogs history — 14 in 2002 (No. 2) and 12.5 in 2004 (No. 5).
The 2003 Atlanta Touchdown Club Lineman of the Year led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss during his sophomore and senior seasons. A four-year starter, Pollack was named to the Freshman All-SEC team in 2001.
A first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Pollack's pro career was cut short after an injury, and he retired in 2007. The 2009 Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame inductee was named to Sports Illustrated's All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Pollack started his broadcasting career in 2008, doing studio work for CBS and hosting a sports radio talk show in Atlanta for 790 The Zone. A college football analyst at ESPN since 2009, he previously worked as an analyst for the network's Thursday night college football games and co-hosted "Palmer & Pollack" on ESPNU. Pollack now contributes to "College Football Live" and has been part of the Emmy Award-winning "College GameDay" since 2011.
Pollack becomes the 15th Bulldog player in the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Kevin Butler (1981-84), Bill Hartman (1935-37), Terry Hoage (1980-83), Bob McWhorter (1910-13), John Rauch (1945-48), Jake Scott (1967-68), Frank Sinkwich (1940-42), Vernon Smith (1929-31), Bill Stanfill (1966-68), Matt Stinchcomb (1995-98), Fran Tarkenton (1958-60), Charley Trippi (1942, 1945-46), Herschel Walker (1980-82) and Scott Woerner (1977-80).
Four former Georgia coaches are also in the Hall: Wally Butts (1939-60), Jim Donnan (1996-2000), Vince Dooley (1964-88) and Pop Warner (1895-96).
The 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class includes Lomas Brown (Florida), Keith Byars (Ohio State), Eric Crouch (Nebraska), Eric Dickerson (SMU), Glenn Dorsey (LSU), John “Jumbo” Elliott (Michigan), Jason Hanson (Washington State), E.J. Henderson (Maryland), E.J. Junior (Alabama), Steve McNair (Alcorn State), Cade McNown (UCLA), Leslie O’Neal (Oklahoma State), Anthony Poindexter (Virginia), David Pollack (Georgia), Bob Stein (Minnesota), Michael Westbrook (Colorado), Elmo Wright (Houston) and coaches Dick Sheridan (Furman, North Carolina State) and Andy Talley (St. Lawrence [NY], Villanova).
The 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class includes Harris Barton (North Carolina), David Fulcher (Arizona State), Dan Morgan (Miami [FL]), Carson Palmer (Southern California), Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Kenneth Sims (Texas), C.J. Spiller (Clemson), Darren Sproles (Kansas State), Aaron Taylor (Notre Dame), Andre Tippett (Iowa), Al Wilson (Tennessee) and coaches Rudy Hubbard (Florida A&M) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).
The accomplishments of both classes will be forever immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, and each inductee will receive a custom ring created by Jostens, the official and exclusive supplier of NFF rings.
Including the 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame Classes, only 1,038 players and 223 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.47 million who have played or coached the game during the past 151 years. In other words, less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of the individuals who have played the game have earned this distinction.