**Pac-10 record (shared)
CAREER: As a 4-year starter, the experienced, strong-armed Palmerthe Pac-10's career passing and total offense leaderowns 7 Pac-10 career records and such USC career records as: total offense (a Pac-10 record 11,621), plays (a Pac-10 record 1,824), passing yardage (a Pac-10 record 11,818), passing touchdowns (72, third on the Pac-10 ladder), completions (a Pac-10 record 927), attempts (a Pac-10 record 1,569) and interceptions (49). His 3 seasons with 2,500-plus yards of total offense ties a Pac-10 record. He is fourth on the NCAA career ladder for passing yards (11,388) and eighth in total offense (11,093); the NCAA does not include bowl yardage prior to the 2002 season. With 45 career starts, he completed at least 60.0% of his passes 24 times (including 9 contests at 70.0%-plus), with 9 of those coming in 2002. He has thrown for 300-plus yards in a USC-record 11 games in his career, with a trio of 400-yard outings (a USC record), and his 31 200-yard games is a Pac-10 mark. He is the first player to lead USC in passing for 4 years. He owns 3 USC game records: total offense (434), passing yards (448) and TD passes (5, shared with Rodney Peete), all set at Oregon in 2002.
2002: Palmer, the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner (USC's fifth), also won the 2002 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback, the Pop Warner Award as the top senior on the West Coast and The National Quarterback Club's National College Quarterback of the Year Award. He was named the National Player of the Year by The Sporting News and CNNSI.com and to the 2002 AP, Football Writers, The Sporting News, ESPN.com, CBS.Sportsline.com, CNNSI.com and All-american Football Foundation All-American first teams (USC's first All-American quarterback since Rodney Peete in 1988). He was selected as the 2002 Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year and to the All-Pac-10 first team. He also was The Sporting News' Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and All-Pac-10 first team. He was 1 of 3 finalists for the 2002 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, 1 of 5 finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and a finalist for the Archie Griffin Trophy. He was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week 3 times in 2002. Overall in 2002 while starting for his fourth season, he completed 309-of-489 passes (63.2%) for 3,942 yards, 33 TDs and 10 interceptions. He also ran 50 times for 122 yards (-2.4 avg.) with 4 TDs. He was fifth nationally in passing efficiency (149.1, first in Pac-10) and eighth in total offense (293.9, second in Pac-10). In his last 7 games, he threw for 2,309 yards and 24 TDs (and in his last 9 games, he had 2,979 yards and 28 TDs). He threw a TD pass in every game in 2002, including at least 2 in 9 consecutive outings (he threw at least 4 TDs in 5 of the last 7 games). His 33 TD passes were the second most in the country. His 63.2% completion rate was tops in the Pac-10. In 2002, he set USC season records for passing yards (3,942), passing TDs (a Pac-10 record-tying 33), pass completions (309), pass attempts (489), total offense (3,820) and TDs rushing and passing (37). He threw a USC record 147 consecutive passes without an interception in 2002. In 2002, he completed passes to 13 different receivers. He threw for 300-plus yards in a USC-record 7 games in 2002, including 6 of the past 9. His 3 consecutive 300-yard outings (all this year) is a USC record (his 12 200-yard games in 2002 is a school record). He completed at least 60.0% of his passes 9 times in 2002. A team captain, he also was USC's MVP and Player of the Game versus UCLA. He was invited to play in the 2003 Senior Bowl. He completed 23-of-32 passes (71.9%) for 302 yards with 1 TD and 2 interceptions against Auburn (he had 3 drops) and also scored the game-winning TD on a 1-yard sneak with 1:26 to play to earn Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was 11-of-13 in the second half and completed passes to 8 different receivers in the game. He hit 22-of-30 passes (73.3%) for 244 yards with 1 TD at Colorado and also scored a TD on a 1-yard sneak. He hit his first 6 passes in the game and then was 8-of-8 in the second half. His completions went to 7 different receivers. At Kansas State, he hit 18-of-46 passes (8 throws were dropped) for 186 yards and a TD while setting USC career records for plays, completions and passing yards. He completed 23-of-41 passes for 231 yards with 2 TDs against Oregon State while setting the USC career total offense mark. At Washington State, he hit 32-of-50 passes (both career highs and just 1 completion short of the USC game record) for 381 yards and 2 TDs (with an interception), plus he scrambled for a 3-yard score. He was 25-of-39 for 289 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions against California. He hit 21-of-34 passes for 348 yards with 4 TDs (equaling a then-career best) against Washington. He had a record-setting performance at Oregon: he set USC single game marks for passing yardage (448) and total offense (434) while hitting 73.8% (31-of-42) of his throws (he had 1 interception) and his 5 TD tosses equaled a USC record. He was 14-of-18 for 216 yards in the first half and then 12-of-14 for 183 yards in the third quarter. For this, he was named National Player of the Week by CNNSI.com, USAToday.com and SportingNews.com, as well as Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week. At Stanford, he threw 4 touchdowns while going 22-of-32 for 317 yards and no interceptions. He threw for 2 touchdowns (on 20-of-34 passing with no interceptions) and ran for another (2 yards) against Arizona State. At UCLA, he became the Pac-10's career leader in passing yards, completions and attempts as he was 19-of-32 for 254 yards and 4 TDs with no interceptions (he started off 7-of-7 for 128 yards with 2 scores) and he also had a 22-yard scramble where he somersaulted to the 1-yard line to set up a TD. He was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week. Palmer was 32-of-46 passing (one completion shy of the USC game record) for 425 yards and 4 TDs against Notre Dame (in the national Top 10 in every defensive category), the most yards and TDs ever against the Irish. In the process, he became the Pac-10's career total offense leader and set a Pac-10 season record for passing yards, as well as USC season marks for TD passes and total offense. He also set a USC record with 147 consecutive passes without an interception before being picked off twice. He was named the 2003 Orange Bowl MVP as he completed 21-of-31 passes for 303 yards and a TD against Iowa while setting the USC season record for completions.
2001: Palmer had a solid year as a junior in 2001 in USC's revamped offense and, while starting for his third season, proved to be one of the nation's better quarterbacks. Overall in 2001 while starting all 12 games, he completed 221-of-377 passes (58.6%) for 2,717 yards with 13 TDs and 12 interceptions. He also ran for 34 yards on 88 carries (0.4 avg.) with 1 TD. He was on the "Watch List" for the 2001 Davey O'Brien Award, given to the top collegiate quarterback. His 58.6% completion rate in 2001 was tops among Pac-10 starting quarterbacks. His 221 completions in 2001 is fourth on the USC season chart and his 2,751 yards of total offense in 2001 is fifth on Troy's season list (23rd on the Pac-10 list). He had a span in 2001 where he threw 87 consecutive passes without an interception before getting picked off at Notre Dame. He was 21-of-28 for 213 yards (with an interception) and hit his first 9 aerials in the San Jose State opener. Against Kansas State, he ran for a team-best and career-high 60 yards on 12 carries (the most rushing yards by a Trojan quarterback since Reggie Perry's 60 versus Memphis State in 1991) and hit 16-of-36 passes for 197 yards. He set the USC single game total offense record with 419 yards at Oregon and his career-high 411 passing yards were 4 yards shy of another school mark; he completed 25-of-40 aerials, including TDs of 93 and 75 yards (the 2 longest passes of his career), but he was intercepted 3 times and sacked 5 times. He was 22-of-42 for 240 yards against Stanford, but he threw 2 interceptions. He was 8-of-14 for 152 yards and 2 TDs at Washington, including a perfect 7-of-7 for 94 yards and a score in the first half; it was his fewest completions since the 1998 Washington State game and his fewest attempts since the 1999 Oregon game. Against Arizona State, he was 18-of-26 for 295 yards and 3 TDs (the second most of his career) and also ran for 28 yards on 8 tries. He was 19-of-30 for 230 yards with 2 TDs at Notre Dame, but was intercepted twice and sacked 5 times. He was 24-of-49 for 248 yards with 2 TDs at Arizona, but was intercepted twice. He scored the game-winning TD in overtime against Oregon State on a 4-yard naked bootleg run in which he broke one tackle and dove to the flag while getting slammed by another Beaver; passing, he was 21-of-28 for 171 yards and an interception (including 13-of-15 for 80 yards in the first half while connecting on his first 9 aerials) despite getting sacked 6 times. At California, he hit 18-of-35 passes for 230 yards and a TD (with no interceptions) and also ran for 45 yards (with a career-long 54-yard scramble) on 8 carries. He was 14-of-23 for 180 yards and a TD (with an interception) against UCLA. He hit 15-of-26 passes for 150 against Utah, but was sacked 4 times for 45 yards.
2000: Palmer returned as USC's starting quarterback as a sophomore in 2000 after an injury knocked him out of the lineup early in 1999. Although he struggled somewhat in 2000, he often exhibited his outstanding potential. He completed 228-of-415 passes (54.9%) for 2,914 yards and 16 TDs with 18 interceptions. His 228 completions in 2000 put him second on USC's season passing list and his 2,919 yards of total offense was second on the Trojan season total offense list. He ranked 24th nationally in total offense (243.3, second in Pac-10). His 18 interceptions in 2000 tied a USC season mark. His 2,914 yards and 16 TDs in 2000 were the most by a Trojan sophomore. His completions (228), attempts (415) and yardage (2,914) in 2000 were the second most in USC history. With 5 rushing yards on 63 carries (0.1 avg.) with 2 TDs, he was the first fulltime USC quarterback since Reggie Perry in 1991 to finish a season with positive rushing yards. His 5,159 career passing yards through the 2000 season were the most by a Trojan at the end of his sophomore year. In his first game after an 11-month layoff, he was 10-of-20 passing for 87 yards (with an interception) against Penn State. He bounced back from that shaky debut by hitting 25-of-30 passes (83.3%) for 275 yards and a TD (3 of his passes were dropped) against Colorado (on USC's game-winning drivea 9-play, 72-yard drive that began with 1:14 on the clock and culminated with a game-winning field goal with 13 seconds to playhe was 6-of-6 for 68 yards). Then, for the second game in a row (and the first time since Rodney Peete did it in 1987 against Arizona and UCLA), he led USC on another late game-winning scoring drive: this time against San Jose State, he brought Troy back from a 12-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter by guiding the Trojans to 22 unanswered points (overall, he hit 22-of-38 passes for a then-career-high 338 yards with 2 TDs, including 10-of-12 for 148 yards and a TD in the fourth quarter; he had 6 passes dropped. At Oregon State, he was 19-of-38 for 282 yards and 2 TDs, but threw a career-high 3 interceptions. He was 26-of-50 (a career-best in attempts) for 321 yards and a TD against Arizona, but for the second week in a row he threw a career-high 3 interceptions. He hit 15-of-35 passes for 194 yards with a TD and an interception against Oregon and also ran for 31 yards on 5 tries (with a then-career-long 28-yard scramble). At Stanford, he was 15-of-30 for 190 yards (with 2 interceptions) and also ran for a 1-yard TD. He was 19-of-39 for 202 yards and a TD against California, but threw 2 picks and was sacked 7 times. He was 22-of-37 for 279 yards with 2 TDs (and 2 picks) at Arizona State. Against Washington State, he was 12-of-26 for 145 yards and an interception in the first half and was replaced by Mike Van Raaphorst in the second half. He had career highs in passing yards (350) and TD passes (4) in the dramatic win at UCLA while completing 26-of-37 passes (he also gained 31 yards on 5 rushes, including key 35- and 16-yard scrambles, with the 35-yarder being a career long); for his performance, he was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week and USC's Player of the Game versus UCLA. He was 17-of-35 for 251 yards with 2 TDs and 2 picks against Notre Dame and also led USC in rushing with 22 yards (with a TD) on 10 attempts (the first time a quarterback led Troy in rushing since Peete did so against Michigan State in the 1988 Rose Bowl).
1999: Palmer, coming off an eye-opening 1998 campaign, was off to an impressive beginning while starting USC's first 3 games (Hawaii, San Diego State and Oregon) of 1999 at quarterback as a sophomore. But he broke his right collarbone 2 plays before halftime (scrambling for a 3-yard gain) at Oregon and was sidelined the rest of the season (because of the early-season injury, he was allowed to redshirt). Overall in 1999, he completed 39-of-53 passes (73.6%) for 490 yards with 3 TDs and 3 interceptions. He also had 7 carries for 2 yards (0.3 avg.) with a TD. He was a near-perfect 14-of-16 (87.5%) for 167 yards and a 32-yard TD pass at Hawaii (he was never sacked) and also ran 9 yards for a score on a bootleg in just over 2 quarters of action. He played the whole game against San Diego State, where he was 16-of-24 for 188 yards and 2 TDs, but threw a pair of interceptions. At Oregon, he completed 9-of-13 passes for 135 yards (with a pick) before getting injured.
1998: Just a first-year freshman, Palmer showed his precociousness with an impressive showing at quarterback. After sharing playing time with starter Mike Van Raaphorst in USC's first 8 games, Palmer took over the starting job against Washington to become only the second true freshman to start at quarterback for USC (along with Rob Johnson, who started once in 1991) and continued as the starter against Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame and TCU in the Sun Bowl. Overall while appearing in all 13 games in 1998, Palmer was 130-of-235 (55.3%) for 1,755 yards and 7 TDs with 6 interceptions. His 130 completions ranks 17th on USC's season passing chart. He also carried the ball 47 times for 116 yards (-2.5 avg.) with a TD. In the Purdue opener, he appeared on 3 series in the second half and led USC to 17 points while going 3-of-6 for 79 yards. The pattern held true against San Diego State, as he was 5-of-8 for 50 yards and 1 score (the first of his career) seeing action in 3 second-half series. Against Oregon State, he hit just 1-of-7 throws for 6 yards playing in 5 series in the second and third quarters. He struggled at Florida State (2-of-10 for 18 yards) while playing all but the first series of the second half. In the Arizona State game, he came off the bench late in the third quarter to guide Troy on a TD drive and spark USC's comeback (he was 4-of-7 for 69 yards and a TD overall in 3 series). He played just 2 series in the third quarter against California, hitting 1of2 passes for 9 yards. He was 8-of-16 for 143 yards and a TD while leading USC to 28 unanswered points at Washington State when he came in midway through the second quarter when Van Raaphorst became ill. At Oregon, he was 10-of-19 for 179 yards as he saw action in most of the second quarter, the end of the third quarter and all of the final quarter. He played the entire Washington game, hitting 18-of-31 passes for 279 yards (all then-career highs) and a TD to become only USC's second true freshman starting quarterback. At Stanford, he went 19-of-26 (a then-career-best for completions; 2 passes were dropped, including 1 in the end zone) for 203 yards and a TD while going the whole way. He was 28of43 (both career bests; he since upped his career high in attempts) for 252 yards and a TD (but he threw 2 interceptions) while going the whole way at UCLA. He was 14of32 for 188 yards against Notre Dame and he ran for his first career touchdown (a 2yarder to put USC on the board and give Troy its decisive points) while playing the entire game. Against TCU in the Sun Bowl, he completed17-of-28 passes for a then-career-best 280 yards and 1 TD, but was sacked 6 times.
HIGH SCHOOL: He earned 1997 Super Prep National 50, The Sporting News Top 100, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star Dream Team, Prep Star All-American, USA Today All-USA honorable mention, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-Western Region Super 30, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team (unanimous), Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division V Offensive Co-MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Orange County first team, Orange County Register All-Orange County first team and All-Seaview League Offensive MVP honors as a senior at Santa Margarita High in Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.). In 1997, he completed 136-of-216 passes (63.0%) for 2,685 yards, 31 TDs and just 4 interceptions, plus ran for 290 yards and 3 scores. He did all this despite missing 2 earlier-season games with a foot injury. Santa Margarita went 14-0 in 1997 and won its second consecutive CIF Division V championship; in that title game, Palmer threw for a school-record 419 yards with 5 TDs and ran for another TD. Earlier in 1997, he threw for 356 yards in a game and had 5 TD tosses in less than 2 quarters of action in another contest. As a junior in 1996, he made the Cal-Hi Sports Junior All-State second team, All-Seaview League first team and team Offensive MVP while completing 58.0% of his passes for 2,089 yards, 25 TDs and 5 interceptions. Santa Margarita went 13-1 in 1996 and was the 1996 CIF Division V champ. In his career, he set 23 school records while going 261-of-435 (60.0%) for 4,692 yards and 55 TDs with just 10 interceptions. He also ran for 565 yards (including 150 yards in a game) with 10 scores in his career. Palmer also played basketball at Santa Margarita (he averaged 8.0 points and 8.0 rebounds as a 1998 senior) and was named to the 1998 Student Sports Grid-Hoops All-American second team. Santa Margarita went 32-2 in 1998 and won the 1998 CIF and State Division II titles.
PERSONAL: He's a public policy and management major at USC. As part of the "Read Across America" program, he read books to local elementary school classes in 1999, 2000 and 2001. His personal quarterback coach was Bob Johnson, the father of ex-USC (1991-94) and NFL signalcaller Rob Johnson. He was born in Fresno, Calif. He says the funniest thing that happened to him in a game was when he twice "lined up to take a snap from the left guard." His most thrilling moment in sports was winning the 1998 state high school basketball title. His brother, Jordan, is a freshman quarterback at UTEP.
CARSON PALMER ON: Being coached by offensive coordinator Norm Chow: "I really didn't know much about coach Chow until the first day he got here. When I saw his bio, I was like, 'Wow!' I had no idea. I thought, 'I can't wait to work with this guy.'"...He has no ego. And he's old-school. When I say he's old-school, I mean he dresses old-school, too! His shorts are up over his belly button and his shirt is tucked into his shorts." Coach Chow's offense: "We are running a lot of routes that are completely different now. I had never thrown a comeback or a hook-and-go off a five-step drop before. Coach Chow wants to throw it all game. And I love that...The key to it is taking what the defense gives you. That's what coach Chow tells me. I had been greedy, trying to throw the long ball when there's a guy 5 or 6 yards in front of me who's open. He told me I just have to be more patient." His hype: "A lot of that stuff about me is falsethe Golden Boy, Gold Arm, all that crap. It's just the media talking. I think I know who I am. I really don't pay attention to what all those other people are saying...I haven't done anything yet. I haven't won any big games. I don't even think I've played well...You just have to block it out and not worry about it too much. There are a lot of people on magazine covers, so it really doesn't mean a whole lot. What matters is who's on the magazine covers at the end of the season...I guess that's one of the things about playing quarterback. The quarterback gets most of the recognition." His struggles in 2000: "The 2000 season was a huge learning experience. It made me grow up a lot more as a quarterback...I was shocked when I would look at the stats and see all those interceptions...It was all new to me. My first couple of years, I hadn't been behind in a game...A couple times, I tried to make plays when there was nothing there. I'd get frustrated and try to make a play...It got me almost every time...When you're a quarterback, you're either the bum or the hero. And in 2000 I was the bum all year...I tried as hard as I could to block it out. I was throwing a lot of interceptions and people were saying a lot of things. You have to just keep plugging away. You can't let the outside world affect your game. You can't hold back anything. You can't play a different game." Returning from his 1999 injury: "Playing football is like riding a bike. You never really forget...I felt clumsy at times with my footwork and sitting in the pocket. And I had to get used to having defensive linemen flying at me again...I felt like a rookie, clumsy and goofy. I hadn't felt like that in a long time...The entire time I was out I was itchy. The hardest part was watching games, especially the losses. I realized that if I kept thinking about it, it would always put me in a bad mood. I thought about it for a while, but it's time to move on...It made me think I couldn't take football for granted. You really can't take anything for granted. I used to come to practice and go through the motions. I don't do that anymore. I look forward to practices. I enjoy every rep, every snap that I get. Before, I wouldn't go as hard as I could. Now I try to be perfect every chance I get...Sitting on the sidelines all that time made me understand that you have to use every day in practice to get better...I never thought I'd ever say this, but I really don't want to see practice end...I even enjoy the wind sprints now...It might have been the best thing to happen to me. It taught me a lot about myself and about this game...By sitting out all that time, when I had football taken away from me, I learned something. I learned that football means everything to me. I learned I missed every practice, every drill. I missed hurting from working my hardest...I've learned so much. Everybody said when it happened that it would make me a better person, and it's true...I am never going to complain again about practice or work or anything. I think I've grown up a lot...When I got hurt, it gave me a new perspective. I take every snap like it's my last." His 1999 injury: "I was so excited about the 1999 season. I had worked hard and I couldn't wait to see what would happen. Then, in one instant, it was gone...One second changed my life...I see the hit all the time. It's going to be with me always. I'm going to replay the hit when I work out or run. It's real good motivation...Next time I'll run out of bounds...I couldn't believe what happened...I lost 15 or 20 pounds. I watched my right shoulder atrophy. I saw the muscle disappear. I couldn't do anything and I wasn't hungry and that first day (early February) I was able to throw the ball again, I felt so weak." His 1998 performance: "I never expected to be starting. I just hoped to contribute...Not a lot of people do start at quarterback as a freshman. I'm thankful I got the chance...My goal was to come in and play. I didn't want to redshirt. I didn't think I would start. The playbook was so overwhelming. I didn't think I would get it down in one year...I didn't know what to expect. I was kind of overwhelmed by everything. I was hoping I'd make the travel team, or maybe redshirt. I didn't know what was going on. I was probably guessing on 20 percent of the plays...Everything was going a million miles an hour, trying to learn the offense and stuff." His on-field composure: "I just don't have a bad temper. I'm pretty easygoing about everything...I'm just concentrating on the plays and what's going on, so I don't get that nervous. I'd always been the youngest guy on the team ever since fifth grade because I weighed more than everybody else, and I had to go up to the higher division. So maybe that's where it comes from." Improving: "I still have a long, long, long way to go. I've learned a ton, but there's twice as many things I need to learn in the next couple of years...It's not technique as much as it is mental. You've got to know what the defense is doing. I think that's where I've come along the most, reading coverages, picking out where the corners aren't as good as the opposite ones, and deciding where to go with the ball...You can always get quicker and faster, work harder on your dropback, accuracy on your deep ball. But the main thing is to get those footsteps down...Now, I'm smarter, quicker and read defenses better. From my freshman year, everything has improved. There's no comparison." Choosing USC: "It probably started when I was in the ninth grade and some of my friends' parents would take us to USC football games. I just fell in love with everything about their football games and the tradition. I always imagined myself running out of the Coliseum tunnel toward the field." His future: "I'm not setting myself up for the NFL. I'm not trying to do anything special to go to the NFL, but if it happens, it happens. If that's where God wants me to go, it's going to happen. But I also want to work in business, maybe work in health insurance." His bi-coastal family during his prep years (his father took a job in Connecticut prior to his junior year in high school, while the rest of the family stayed in California so he could continue at Santa Margarita): "I felt real guilty because I was putting them through this for me. My dad only got to see his family one-and-a-half days a week. But it kept me aligned, kept me focused, because I knew all the sacrifices my family was going through." His cooking ability: "I don't cook anything unless I can pop it into the microwave. I don't even have pots or pans. Mostly, I eat at a catering truck by my place!"
WHAT OTHERS SAY: