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Johnstown native Solich in College Football Hall of Fame class with Pitt's Fitzgerald, Penn State's Posluszny

Jan. 9—The College Football Hall of Fame class of 2024 included some of the most prominent names in the sport, including four inductees with local and regional sports ties.

Johnstown native and Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame member Frank Solich, who coached at University of Nebraska and Ohio University, was among 19 players and three coaches elected by the National Football Foundation.

Monday's announcement also included former University of Pittsburgh Heisman Trophy runner-up and Biletnikoff Award winner Larry Fitzgerald, the prolific wide receiver who played 17 years with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

Former Penn State University linebacker Paul Posluszny also is in the class of 2024, which will be inducted on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas. The hall of fame is based in Atlanta.

Posluszny played 11 NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Solich, 79, was born in Johns- town and spent his formative years in Robindale, Indiana County, before his family moved to Cleveland when he was in seventh grade.

He arrived at Nebraska in 1962 and played fullback for Cornhuskers coach Bob Devaney. Eventually, he served the program as an assistant coach from 1979-97, and as the head coach who followed legend Tom Osborne from 1998-2003.

Solich had a 58-19 record as Nebraska's head coach, including a three-year run when his teams posted a 33-5 mark from 1999 through 2001. In 1999, the Cornhuskers were 12-1 and finished third nationally.

After being let go by Nebraska, Solich took over the Ohio University program in 2005 and led the Bobcats to a 115-82 mark in 16 seasons before retiring in 2021.

Solich earned Big 12 coach of the year honors in 1999 and 2001, and was Mid-American Conference (MAC) coach of the year in 2006.

The Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Solich into its class of 2004.

Fitzgerald posted 161 catches for 2,677 yards and a school- record 34 touchdowns over two seasons at University of Pittsburgh. He caught a touchdown in 18 consecutive games to set an NCAA record.

The Cardinals selected Fitzgerald third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. Fitzgerald earned 11 Pro Bowl selections while catching 1,432 passes for 17,492 receiving yards and 121 touchdowns.

Fitzgerald nearly broke the hearts of Pittsburgh Steelers fans with his late 64-yard touchdown catch and run in Super Bowl 43 in Tampa, Florida.

The Steelers answered with Santonio Holmes' amazing catch of a Ben Roethlisberger pass among three defenders, capped by Holmes' toe-tap in the right corner of the end zone with 42 seconds left in a 27-23 Pittsburgh victory.

Posluszny played at Penn State from 2003-06 and earned All-American honors his final two seasons. The linebacker made 372 career tackles with the Nittany Lions and twice won the Chuck Bednarik Award presented to the nation's top defensive player.

He earned the Butkus Award as a junior and was a finalist for the honor as a senior. Posluszny was a two-time finalist for the Lombardi Award, presented to the nation's top lineman or linebacker.

Colorado's Deon Figures played for the Steelers from 1993-96.

Pro Football Hall of Fame member Randy Moss will be inducted at the college level for his electric play at Marshall University, where he earned All-American honors as both a receiver and a return man.

Other players in the class of 2024 include Florida State's Warrick Dunn, Stanford's Toby Gerhart, North Carolina's Julius Peppers, Chadron State's Danny Woodhead, Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, UCLA's Paul Cameron, Kentucky's Tim Couch, Appalachian State's Armanti Edwards, Arkansas' Dan Hampton, Michigan's Steve Hutchinson, Alabama's Antonio Langham, Oklahoma's Dewey Selmon, Utah's Alex Smith, Texas A&M's Kevin Smith and Ohio State's Chris Ward.

Joining Solich as coaches honored in the class of 2024 are Cincinnati's and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Bloomsburg's and West Chester's Danny Hall.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.