But that's not the case in Los Angeles, where Seau first made his name as a terrorizing linebacker for the USC Trojans. After a slow start to his career due in part to academic concerns, Seau roared onto the scene in 1988 and 1989, collecting 107 tackles and 33 for loss.
His '89 season was one of the best in USC's distinguished defensive history as he totaled 19 sacks and 27 tackles-for-loss en route to All-American honors. He was named the 1989 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.
Seau's time at USC wasn't just about numbers, though; during his two-year career the Trojans amassed a 19-4-1 record, won two Pac-10 titles and played in back-to-back Rose Bowls. The following year Seau was taken by the Chargers in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft.
Seau's legacy lives on at USC in multiple ways, most substantially via the jersey number he wore for the Trojans, No. 55. Though not the founding member of the "55 Club" -- he was preceded by Trojan great Jack Del Rio -- Seau's success helped turn the jersey number into a Trojan tradition carried on by the likes of Willie McGinest, Keith Rivers, and Chris Claiborne.
Seau was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009 and one year earlier became a member of the Trojan "Ring of Honor" at the L.A. Coliseum where he had first made his name:
So it's no surprise that several Trojans both past and present mourned Seau's loss via Twitter Wednesday:
#RIPJuniorSeau You were one of the greatest Trojans of all time!— Matthew Barkley (@MattBarkley) May 2, 2012
I hope its not, but If what I heard is true, SC needs to retire #55 forever.— Keary Colbert (@kearycolbert) May 2, 2012
Wow shocked right now, I tapped Juniors picture every single day before heading out to practice at USC. R.I.P. to a legend n awesome person.— Brian Cushing (@briancushing56) May 2, 2012
Extremely sad about the passing of Junior Seau. Just 3 weeks ago I spent the weekend w/him at USC. He was a great Trojans & will b missed!— Tony Boselli (@TonyBoselli) May 2, 2012