||CHICAGO: JAY BERWANGER 1935
There wasn’t great fanfare when Jay Berwanger won the first Heisman Trophy presented by the New York Downtown Athletic Club in 1935. Instead of
an arsenal of cameras highlighting his face on national TV, Berwanger had to notified by telegram at his Chicago University fraternity house. Not only
was this a new award, but Berwanger’s Heisman only touted him as the best player east of the Mississippi River instead of the whole nation.
However there’s little doubt that the first Heisman Trophy winner set the tone for future recipients by displaying a variety of skills on the football field.
Chicago coach Clark Shaughnessy had given No. 99 to Berwanger because it was as close as you could get to a perfect 100. Most of Berwanger’s
opponents agreed considering that 104 of 107 defenders he faced in 1935 named him as the nation’s best halfback. Berwanger was described as a
“one-man gang” for Chicago as he gained 1,839 yards in his 23 games for the Maroons. Berwanger was also a force as a passer, kicker, and punter
while adding 22 career touchdowns.
Despite being the first pick in the NFL’s inaugural draft held in 1936, Berwanger unofficially started the Heisman jinx when he decided not to tackle
pro football. The Maroon star opted for private business, coaching, military service and refereeing instead.
||Salaam "Buffaloed" his
opponents with 24
touchdowns his Heisman
||COLORADO: RASHAAN SALAAM 1994
Righteous, faith and peace are the Islamic meanings behind the name Rashaan Iman Salaam. While the former Colorado running back's name
might symbolize peace and harmony, Salaam declared war on his gridiron opponents in 1994 and captured college football's top individual award.
The junior tailback led the nation by dashing for 2,055 yards and an incredible 24 touchdowns. Highlights during the march toward Heisman glory
included a 317-yard rushing effort against Texas and 259 yards against Iowa State in the regular season finale to eclipse the 2,000 yard barrier.
Salaam was selected in the first round of the 1995 draft by the Chicago Bears.
Once named Harold “Teddy” Washington, Salaam’s father, Sulton Salaam also played pro football with the Cincinnati Bengals and in the CFL.
||FSU featured Ward on
their 1993 media guide
cover and Heisman
voters featured Ward on
||FLORIDA STATE: CHARLIE WARD 1993, CHRIS WEINKE 2000
When searching America for Heisman Trophy displays, the last place one might expect to find one of the bronzed statues would be Thomasville,
Georgia. However, Charlie Ward’s Heisman not only resides in the small city, but in the humble setting of Thomasville’s public library. The trophy’s
location is a natural considering that Ward grew up in Thomasville learning the “good book” and becoming a devout Christian.
Besides joining Christ’s team at an early age, Ward accepted Coach Bobby Bowden’s offer to attend FSU and play for two more. Instead of being
pinned to one sport, Ward was welcome to play basketball and football for the Seminoles. Before earning FSU’s starting quarterback position in the
fall of 1992, the Seminole guard had already led his basketball team to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 that spring.
As if taking a cue from the basketball court, Ward began engineering FSU’s potent “Fast Break” offense at peak efficiency. By the next season, Ward
gained Heisman form and had the Seminoles scouting for a national title. Ward set the Seminole’s individual season mark that fall with 27
touchdown passes en-route to becoming FSU’s all-time offensive leader.
Heisman voters took special interest when Ward’s stellar play helped the Seminoles bury their dreaded rival, the Miami Huricanes 28-10. Botched
field goal attempts against Miami in the recent years had scalped FSU’s title hopes, but a Ward touchdown bomb and scoring run kept face out of a
FSU did slip slightly with a narrow loss at Notre Dame, but Ward solidified his Heisman stance with late season heroics. Ward threw four touchdown
passes against Florida to shatter the Gator’s 23-game home winning streak and then directed FSU’s Orange Bowl win over No. 1 Nebrasksa.
Ward became the first Heisman Trophy winner to play for a national champion since Tony Dorsett suited up for Pittsburgh in 1976. Despite Ward
earning the second largest Heisman voting victory margin at the time over Tennessee’s Heath Shuler, doubts about his NFL potential loomed.
Pro scouts weren’t completely sold on Ward’s 6-2, 190 pound frame faring well in the NFL. Ward had indicated he’d play football if drafted in the first
round, but the NFL call never came. However, Ward’s fastbreak days would continue, after the NBA’s Knicks drafted ward in the first round of the
league’s 1994 draft.
After winning one of the closest votes in Heisman history, FSU’s Chris Weinke narrowly passed Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel for college football’s top
award. While Weinke reached the apex of the college ranks, his success was a stark contrast
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||FLORIDA: STEVE SPURRIER 1966, DANNY WUERFFEL 1996,
TIM TEBOW 2007
Gator opponents and media members that were rankled by the sometimes overwhelming self-confidence of Steve Spurrier. However, no one can
argue against the fact that Spurrier’s influence on Florida football as a player and coach was simply superior.
While donned in Gator pads, Spurrier was a two-year All-American and the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner. During Spurrier’s Heisman season the
Florida signal caller threw for more than 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. Spurrier earned the nickname “S.O.S.” for his late game heroics that
reached its pinnacle in a late season 1966 game against Auburn.
Heisman ballots had just been mailed the week before and Spurrier’s Gators were attempting to stretch their winning streak to seven games, a feat
not accomplished for 38 years in Gainesville. Spurrier was at his best against the Tigers. In perfecting his Heisman resume, Spurrier kicked a late
40-yard field goal to provide the winning margin in a 30-27 win. He also threw for 257 yards and punted for a 46.9-yard average.
Before joining the NFL as a No. 1 pick of San Francisco, Spurrier owned all of the Gator passing records. Spurrier returned to coach the Gator
program and three decades after his Heisman season he became the first Heisman winner to coach a Heisman winner. Florida achieved its first
national championship in 1996 with a 12-1 record that included a 52-20 whipping of Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.
Besides gaining the nation’s No. 1 ranking, Spurrier also became the first Heisman Trophy winner to coach a Heisman recipient when Danny
Wuerffel led the Gators with 39 touchdown passes and 3,625 yards passing
Know for his precision passing, Wuerffel’s career passing efficiency rating of 163.56 was the best in major college history. Wuerffel’s 114-career
touchdown passes were the best in SEC history and the second best mark achieved on the Division 1-A level. The New Orleans Saints selected
Wuerffel in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft.
A record breaking season-long performance helped Tim Tebow to earn Heisman fame in 2007 as he became the first sophomore to win the award.
Besides completing 217 of 317 passes for 29 TD's vs. only 6 INT's, Tebow made his biggest Heisman statement on the ground. The Gator QB
rushed for an amazing 838 yards and 22 TD's. The TD total broke the SEC single season rushing TD record, surpassing figures that legends such
as Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and Emmit Smith were unable to muster.added to his SEC single season rushing TD record that surpasses the
likes of Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and Emmit Smith.
Tebow finished ahead of Arkansas' Darren McFadden, another famed SEC RB that finished as the Heisman runner up for the 2nd consecutive
season. Under Tebow's direction, the Gator's finished with a 9-3 regular season.
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||GEORGIA: FRANK SINKWICH 1942, HERSCHEL WALKER 1982
The Bulldog’s top two decorated players both headlined Georgia’s greatest teams. Frank Sinkwich won the coveted trophy in 1942 after rushing for
17 touchdowns; passing for 10 more and throwing for an SEC record 1,392 yards. The Georgia Bulldog captain’s stellar play helped the Bulldogs to
an 11-1 record and a victory over UCLA in the Rose Bowl. The effects of World War II impacted Sinkwich's Heisman ceremony since he did not
receive a trophy because wartime restrictions precluded the use of metal.
Along with his great talents, Sinkwich also displayed great toughness. Hobbled by two sprained ankles, Sinkwich scored Georgia’s only touchdown
in their Rose Bowl win over UCLA. The previous season, Sinkwich was forced to played most of the season with a protective mask after breaking his
In 1943, Sinkwich began a promising NFL career by earning All-Pro status with Detroit his first two seasons. However, a 1945 knee injury sent
Sinkwich to the sidelines and ended his playing career.
Rarely has college football witnessed the excitement and fanfare that Herschel Walker’s arrival in 1980 generated. With an amazing blend of power
and speed, Walker set an NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,616 yards. After a third place Heisman finish his first season that was followed by
second place sophomore effort, Walker’s claiming the trophy his junior season seemed almost a formality.
Herschel’s Heisman season included 1,752 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns. Walker jumped to pro ball after his third year, but not before leading
Georgia to an overall 33-3 record, three consecutive SEC titles and a 1980 national title.
Had Walker not exited the college ranks after his junior campaign, it’s very likely that he would hold the NCAA’s career rushing mark. Walker
displayed his professional talents with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals and with Dallas, Minnesota, Philadelphia and the New York Giants in the
||HOUSTON: ANDRE WARE 1989
Houston’s most acclaimed player is Andre Ware, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1989. Ware threw for 4,699 yards and 46 touchdowns while
guiding the Cougars to a nine-win season and a national ranking. Guiding the Run-N-Shoot offense to perfection, Ware passed for 517 yards against
SMU, while throwing for 514 in the Baylor game and 503 against Arizona State.
Besides not playing for a traditional national power, Ware overcame additional obstacles to win the bronzed trophy. Houston was on NCAA probation
for past recruiting violations and no player had won a Heisman under those sanctions. The Cougars were banned from television, making it more
difficult for Andre to display his wares before national voters.
Another factor threatening to sack Ware’s Heismany candidate Trophy hopes were key losses to Texas A&M and Arkansas and a bloodletting of
SMU. Jack Pardee’s squad created a national outrage when Houston dismantled the recently death penalty revived Mustangs by a grotesque 95-21
Despite the controversy surrounding Houston’s 1989 season, Ware ‘s dominating play influenced Heisman voters enough for him to narrowly
outdistance Indiana’s Anthony Thompson. Ware left Houston following his junior season and was a No. 1 draft choice of the Detroit Lions.
||Pictured is a book cover
telling the story of a
||IOWA: NILE KINNICK 1939
Iowa’s only Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick, is considered the model Iowa football player. The “Cornbelt Comet” was a standout on the field
and in the classroom. Not only did he win the 1939 Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Trophy and Maxwell Trophy as the nation's top player; he was the
senior class president and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the national scholastic honor society.
Kinnick was often outspoken about his political views and dreamed of representing Iowa in the United States Senate after his football days were
over. With America facing World War II, Kinnick put football and politics on hold when he joined the Navy. However a 1943 training accident would
claim the life of Iowa’s favorite son when his fighter jet crashed during a training mission in the Caribbean.
Kinnick was attempting to land his plane on the aircraft carrier, USS Lexington, when mechanical problems disabled his plane’s ability to safely land
on a crowded flight deck. To keep others from danger, Kinnick ditched his plane in the sea within sight of the carrier. Crewmen reported that Kinnick
waved and appeared to be ok. before sinking beneath the water with his plane.
Kinnick’s father summarized a nation’s sorrow when he discussed his son’s death. “The Stars will not shine as brightly, but they will keep on
shining.” The Kinnick lights dimmed 15 months later when Nile’s brother died after having his plane shot down over the Pacific.
To honor their great star, the university’s 70,397 seat football stadium was renamed Kinnick Stadium in 1972. When Nile’s plane was discovered in
1996, initial plans had the wreckage being placed outside the stadium to serve as a memorial. However, it was later decided to leave the site
Still seeking a visual tribute for Kinnick, a 12-foot bronze statue of the Heisman Trophy winner was placed in the new south end zone plaza of the
refurbished stadium in 2006. The statue depicts the former Hawkeye as a student holding books in his right arm and carrying a bag over his left
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||This punt return
touchdown against Ole
Miss, all but sealed Billy
Cannon's Heisman run.
||LSU: BILLY CANNON 1959
Even by today’s standards, Billy Cannon displayed great athleticism by combining sprinter speed with brute force. Cannon’s tremendous size, 6-1,
210 pounds, enabled him to overpower the opposition as well as outrun them.
As a junior, Cannon was the driving force behind LSU’s undefeated 1958 national championship season. Cannon passed for a touchdown and
kicked the extra point in the Tigers’ 7-0 blanking of Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
While continuing his dominating play at LSU the next season, it was an historic punt return that directed the Heisman spotlight towards Cannon in
1959. The top-ranked Tigers trailed Ole Miss 3-0 early in the fourth quarter when Cannon broke seven tackles en route to an 89-yard return for the
winning score. Los Angeles drafted Cannon in the first round of the 1960 NFL Draft.
The NFL received another Cannon shot in 1984 when Billy’s son Billy Jr. was selected in the first round of the 1984 draft. When cannon entered the
league out of Texas A&M, it marked the first time that the son of a Heisman winner joined the professional ranks.
||MIAMI: VINNY TESTEVERDE 1986, GINO TORRETTA 1992
Although Miami had already established a successful quarterback tradition, it was Vinny Testaverde that captured the school’s first Heisman Trophy
in 1986. The senior quarterback threw for 2,557 yards and 26 touchdowns as the Hurricanes narrowly missed a national championship with an 11-1
record. Testeverde’s Heisman popularity was so overwhelming that it ranked as the second-highest margin of victory in the award’s history.
The path for Vinny’s march to Heisman glory nearly reached a dead end after the 1984 season. Testaverde had used up two years of eligibility while
serving as Bernie Kosar’s backup and the Elmont, New York native considered transferring or converting to tight end.
Despite his early disappointment, Testaverde held firm to his lofty goals that he and his father had both shared since he was a six-year-old in Pop
Warner Football. Their close relationship had focused many times on their mutual dream of Vinny one-day hoisting the Heisman Trophy. Vinny’s
father, Al, had said that he thought that Vinny was trying to win the Heisman more for him than for himself.
Testeverde’s daily Heisman thoughts were reflected in a T-shirt that he wore for conditioning workouts before the 1986 season. Called his
“motivation shirt,” the sleeveless shirt featured the Heisman Trophy insignia. The shirt seemed prophetic when Testeverde won the Heisman that
Vinny was the selected by Tampa Bay as the first pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. After more than a decade with the Bucs, Testeverde joined the New York
Jets and led them to within one win of the Super Bowl in 1998.
Gino Torretta, Miami’s top passing leader of all-time, became the second Hurricane to win the Heisman in 1992. The quarterback totaled 7,690
career passing yards including the 3,060 he gained while throwing for19 touchdowns his senior season. Under Torretta’s direction, Miami posted a
1991 national championship and a 23-1 record during his last two seasons. Despite his collegiate success, Toretta wasn’t drafted until the seventh
round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
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|MICHIGAN: TOM HARMON 1940, DESMOND HOWARD 1991, CHARLES WOODSON 1997
The talents displayed by Tom Harmon during his three-year Michigan career were just a sneak preview of the success that he would enjoy throughout
his life. After the power runner and kicker blasted his way to 33 touchdowns and 3,348 yards of total offense at Michigan, he won a Silver Star and
Purple Heart as a pilot in World War II. Following the war, Harmon played two seasons for the Los Angeles Rams before eventually becoming a
popular sports reporter that worked events for CBS, ABC and NBC.
Desmond Howard’s phenomenal touchdown catch against Notre Dame in 1991 helped the Wolverines snap a four-game losing streak against the
Irish while propelling him to the Heisman Trophy. Known by Michigan faithful as “the catch,” Howard’s leaping effort seemed to defy physics. The
junior wide receiver had already forged a sensational reputation with his receiving and kick returning skills.
Howard picked another great moment to display his big play ability when he won Super Bowl MVP honors after his kick returns helped Green Bay
defeat New England in the 1997 classic. Howard had initially entered the league after Washington picked him in the first round of the 1992 NFL
Charles Woodson’s selection as the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner marked the first time that a primary defensive player won the nation’s top
individual award. Versatility and big plays became Woodson’s trademark as the junior defensive back edged out preseason favorite Peyton Manning
of Tennessee for the award.
Woodson’s impact in the regular season finale against Ohio State provided a tremendous boost to his Heisman credentials. Highlights from the Big
10 showdown included Woodson intercepting a pass in the end zone to halt a Buckeye drive, snaring a 37-yard reception to set up a Michigan score
and adding a Buckeye crushing 78-yard punt return touchdown that gave “The Victors” a 13-0 halftime lead. Much of Michigan’s national champion
success was attributed to Woodson who besides collecting eight interceptions added four touchdowns. Despite not returning for his senior season,
Woodson scored one more time as a Wolverine when Oakland selected him with the fourth pick in the 1998 NFL draft.
||MINNESOTA: BRUCE SMITH 1941
Bruce Smith’s grand affect on Minnesota football is a story of redemption. The beginning of the story dates back to 1910 when his father played for
the Gophers in a loss to Michigan that decided the national championship. Legend has it that Smith’s dad, who played tackle and kicked for
Minnesota, felt responsible for the loss and vowed, then and there, to have a son that would avenge the loss. The reason for Lucius Smith’s holding
himself responsible for the 6-0 loss has never been understood.
Lucius Smith’s prediction came true 30 years later when his son Bruce joined his Minnesota teammates to play Michigan for the 1940 national
championship. Late in the first half Smith proved his father’s words prophetic when he took a weak-side reverse 80-yards for the winning touchdown.
Fame for Bruce Smith was much more than a flashing moment. He led the Golden Gophers to another national title in 1941 while winning the
Heisman Trophy. Smith gained great acclaim for the courageousness and clutch play he displayed that season.
Initially held out of the Iowa game due to an injured knee, Smith persuaded Coach Bernie Beirman to let him play after the Golden Gophers had been
completely shut down in the first quarter. Smith touched the ball only nine times, but set up three touchdowns en route to a 34-13 victory that kept the
championship season alive.
||NAVY: JOE BELLINO 1960, ROGER STAUBACH 1963
Navy football shone brightly in the spotlight in the early 1960s with two of its star players winning college football’s highest individual honor, the
Heisman Trophy. Joe Bellino’s combined rushing, receiving and return skills helped Navy steam towards a 9-2 record as the Winchester, Mass.
product scored 18 touchdowns on the way to the Orange Bowl.
Roger “The Dodger” Staubach gained Heisman glory following his Junior season that saw him lead Navy to wins over Michigan, Notre Dame and
Army en route to 9-2 Cotton Bowl season. The victory over Notre Dame still ranks as the Midshipmen’s last one over the Fighting Irish in the series
that’s played annually.
Staubach accounted for nearly 1,900 yards of total offense while completing more than 66% of his passes. Not even a dislocated shoulder suffered
against SMU in week four of his Heisman season could slow down Staubach’s penchant for big plays that often resulted from his unmatched
Despite being forced out of the SMU game twice because of the hurt shoulder, Staubach still managed rush for more than 100 yards that afternoon, a
first for Navy quarterbacks. Following the game, a team doctor told Staubach that he might need surgery, but he wore a harness and didn’t miss a
After becoming just the fourth junior to win the coveted trophy, the Cincinnati, Ohio native returned for his senior season, but failed to repeat his
Heisman performance. Staubach served six years of active duty with the Navy before starting an NFL Hall of Fame career in which he led the Dallas
Cowboys to Super Bowl glory.
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||NEBRASKA: JOHNNY RODGERS 1972, MIKE ROZIER 1983, ERIC CROUCH 2001
Heisman voters saw red in 1972 when Nebraska placed two players in the top three of the Heisman voting. Known best for his sensational punt
returns, Johnny Rodgers won the Heisman in 1972 and middle guard rich Glover placed third.
Through his combined skills of returning, rushing and receiving, Rodgers scored 17 touchdowns during his Heisman winning campaign. The all-
purpose back left Lincoln as the school’s all-time pass receiver with 143 catches that amassed 2,479 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Rodgers capped his collegiate career in tremendous fashion by scoring four touchdowns and passing for another during an Orange Bowl romp over
Nebraska players made an overwhelming Heisman presence again in 1983 when running back Mike Rozier gained Heisman fame while
quarterback Turner Gil finished fourth in the voting. Dean Steinkuhler swept the Lombardi and Outland Trophy awards, marking the first time a school
has swept all three honors the same season.
Rozier’s 2,148 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns helped him outpace the efforts of BYU quarterback Steve Young in 1983. The future Houston Oiler
and Atlanta Falcon finished with 4,780 career yards rushing at Nebraska after eclipsing the 200-yard mark seven times and the century mark 26
Eric Crouch was a dual threat at Nebraska and before his Husker career was over he had amassed 7,915 total yards setting the big 12 record for
career total offense. With Crouch so adept at running and throwing, he became just the 13th player in NCAA Division 1-A history to both run and pass
for 1000 yards in the same season.
While Nebraska had already produced a long-line of running quarterbacks, Eric Crouch positioned himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate by having
already surpassed the career efforts of previous Nebraska quarterbacks.
Crouch’s 2001 Heisman season continued his onslaught on the Husker record books as he added 1,150 yards passing and 1,115 rushing yards
and 25 total touchdowns (7 passing/18 rushing).
While the Heisman Trophy voting was close, Crouch edged out Florida’s Rex Grossman and Miami’s Ken Dorsey for the award. Crouch was drafted
by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and quickly quit football. He eventually returned to the NFL and CFL at other positions, but with little impact
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||NOTRE DAME: ANGELO BERTELLI 1943, JOHN LUJACK 1947, LEON HART 1949, JOHN LATTNER 1953, PAUL HORNUNG
1956, JOHN HUARTE 1964, TIM BROWN 1987
With Notre Dame’s great winning tradition and national spotlight, it should surprise no one that Notre Dame has had more players (seven) win the
Heisman trophy than any other school. Coach Frank Leahy’s switch to the T-formation in 1942 helped Angelo Bertelli become the Irish’s first
Heisman winner one year later.
Despite playing in only six of Notre Dame’s 10 games because of military service in World War II, Bertelli impressed Heisman voters in his new
quarterback position. Under Bertelli’s direction, Notre Dame averaged nearly 44 points per game and claimed a national title despite a season
ending loss to Great Lakes while he was at Marine boot camp. Bertelli played three seasons with Los Angeles and Chicago in the All-America
Football Conference before a knee injury ended his career.
Quarterback John Lujack stepped in as a replacement when Bertelli joined the Marines in 1943. The Irish signal caller led his team to three national
titles despite missing the 1944 and ’45 seasons due to his Naval service in the war.
Known as one of best T-formation quarterbacks in college history, Lujack passed for nine touchdowns during his 1947 Heisman season that saw
Notre Dame go undefeated and win a national championship.
Lujack played four years for the Chicago Bears and led the team in scoring each season. Displaying his defensive skills, Lujack tied a record by
intercepting eight passes his rookie season.
Notre Dame end Leon Hart’s Heisman win in 1949 places him as one of only two linemen to win the coveted trophy. Known for his tremendous
blocking skills, Hart was also a relentless rusher on defense. Hart never tasted defeat in a Notre Dame uniform as his teams posted 36-0-2 record
and three national titles. The NFL’s Detroit Lions enjoyed Hart’s intensity as well. While earning all-pro honors on both sides of the ball, Hart led the
team to three league titles.
Fighting Irish right halfback John Lattner gained Heisman fame in 1953 despite not leading his squad in rushing, passing, receiving or scoring.
However, Lattner contributed in all of those areas while adding 13 career interceptions and excelling on kick returns. Lattner’s 1953 Heisman
season included 651 yards rushing, nine touchdowns, 204 yards receiving, 321 kickoff yard returns (two for touchdowns), 103 punt return yards and
four pass interceptions. The Pittsburgh Steelers enjoyed Lattner’s talents for one season before Lattner joined the service and suffered a career
ending knee injury in a military game.
Even though Paul Hornung ranked second nationally in total offense during his 1956 Heisman season, the better known fact is that he is the only
player on a losing team to win the award. Hornung’s Fighting Irish posted only two wins, but the multi talented athlete who played quarterback, left
halfback, fullback, kicker and safety, accounted for more than half of the Irish’s points.
The Green Bay Packers acquired Hornung with a bonus pick and wound up reaping many of them. As an integral part of Vince Lombardi’s power
running offense, Hornung led the NFL in scoring in 1959, ’60 and ’61.
John Huarte won the Heisman in 1964 after being a key component in Notre Dame’s near national championship run in 1964 after they had won only
two games the year before. The quarterback’s fame gained during Coach Ara Parseghian’s first season came as a great surprise considering that
Huarte missed most of his sophomore season due to injury and he failed to letter his junior year.
Huarte ranked third nationally in total offense with 2,069 yards while setting 12 Irish records. A professional eight-season career with Boston,
Philadelphia, Minnesota, Kansas City, Chicago and the World Football League’s Memphis franchise followed.
Notre Dame flanker Tim Brown’s magical moment in a 1987 early season win over eventual Big 10 champion Michigan State helped return the
Heisman to South Bend. Brown made the nation take notice while shocking the Spartans with back to back punt return touchdowns. With the
combination of his returning, receiving and rushing skills, Brown totaled 1,847 all-purpose yards despite constant double and triple coverage to finish
sixth in the nation.
The Los Angeles Raiders chose Brown with the sixth pick of the 1988 NFL Draft. Brown has continued to shine in the pros by winning numerous NFL
Pro Bowl honors.
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||Eddie George ended a
Heisman drought with
his run to glory in 1995.
OHIO STATE: LES HORVATH 1944, VIC JANOWICZ 1950, HOWARD CASSADY 1955, ARCHIE GRIFFIN 1974 AND ’75 EDDIE
GEORGE 1995 and TROY SMITH 2006.
Ohio State holds the distinction of being one of the top producers of Heisman Trophy award winners. Only Notre Dame and USC with their seven
Heisman awardees, rank ahead of the Buckeyes in achieving the trophy that
honors the nation’s best collegiate player.
The Buckeye’s Heisman glory stands tall against the rest of their Big 10 foes. Excluding Penn State running back John Cappelletti’s Heisman run in
1973 because of the Nittany Lions Independent status at the time, and the rest of the Big 10 has struggled just to match Ohio State’s six
Known as an all-purpose athlete Les Horvath became Ohio State’s first Heisman Trophy winner by helping to lead coach Carroll Widdoes squad to
an undefeated season. Horvath played both quarterback and halfback on
offense while anchoring a safety spot defensively. Horvath had been played an integral role in helping the Buckeyes win their first national title in
Horvath skipped the 1943 season to concentrate on dental school and planned to do the same the next season. Coach Carol Widdoes talked
Horvath into donning the scarlet and gray for the 1944 season and he became the only Heisman winner who didn’t play the previous season.
Horvath played professionally for the
Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns before practicing dentistry in Los Angeles. With his smile producing vocation, Horvath and LSU's Billy
Cannon are the only two Heisman winners who became dentist.
Regarded by many as the greatest athlete to ever play football at Ohio State, Vic Janowicz won the award his junior year despite his team posting an
unimpressive 6-3 record. Heralded for his triple threat offensive talents of running, passing and blocking along with his defensive skills, Janowicz
made his biggest impact in a win over Iowa. Janowicz helped crush the Hawkeyes 83-21 by running for two touchdowns, and passing for four more
while adding 10 extra points.
The Buckeye star opted to play baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates after graduation, but returned to football in 1954. After one full season, Janowicz’s
career was cut short the following fall by a near fatal auto accident that left him unconscious for 30 days.
Helping to fulfill Coach Woody Hayes’ desire for an effective ground attack, Howard Hopalong Cassady gained Heisman fame by rushing for 964
yards and 15 touchdowns. Cassady was also a star defensive back and was an instrumental part in the team’s 1954 national championship.
The success that Cassady enjoyed at Ohio State must have been an answer to his childhood dreams. As a boy Cassady would sneak into Ohio
Stadium to see the Buckeyes play.The Detroit Lions sought to capture Cassady’s talent by picking him in the first round of the 1956 NFL Draft. He
played defensive back with Detroit, Cleveland and Philadelphia before retiring.
Since the first Heisman Trophy was presented in 1935, only one player has won the award twice. That honor belongs to Ohio State’s Archie Griffin
who despite his small frame (5-9, 180 pounds), ripped through opponents for 5,589 career yards and 26 scores. Those totals placed him on top of
the NCAA career-rushing
list. Griffin set the tone for a tremendous Buckeye career when he rushed for a school record 239 yards in just the second game of his freshman
career. With Woody Hayes featuring the Columbus native in his ground
attack, consistency was a key for the three-time Big 10 MVP, as Griffin dashed for 100 or more yards in 31 straight games. Griffin’s four-year run to
daylight helped the Buckeyes achieve a 40-5-1 record and four Big Ten titles.
When Griffin captured his first Heisman after rushing for 1,695 yards in 1974, he became just the fifth junior to win the award. Griffin returned for his
senior season with great fanfare and appreciation. Bumper stickers in the Columbus area featured the slogan “Thank you, Mrs. Griffin” as a tribute to
the Heisman winner’s mother. The scarlet and gray faithful received a hardy “You’re welcome” from the Griffin family as Archie rushed for 1,450 yards
and another Heisman.
The Cincinnati Bengals kept Griffin in the Buckeye State when they made him a first round draft choice. Griffin played eight seasons for the Bengals
before joining the coaching staff at Ohio State.
Despite having practiced his Heisman pose in front of a mirror as a youngster, Eddie George was not expected to make a Heisman run when his
senior season began in 1995. However his childhood actions seemed prophetic when he sprinted out of the starting blocks with a 219-yard
performance against Washington. George used his size (6-2, 227 pounds) to gallop towards 11 more 100-yard games en route to a school record
1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The now defunct Houston Oilers picked George in the first round of the NFL Draft. George continued his award winning success by becoming the
1996 NFL Rookie of the Year en route to an All-Pro career with the Tennessee Titans.
Going into the season as the solid front runner, Troy Smith did nothing to dim his Heisman hopes as he led the Buckeyes to an undefeated regular
season. Smith's performance was consistently brilliant throughout the year
as he amassed 30 TD passes whiile throwing only five interceptions. Heisman voters were quite impressed with Smith's season as the senior
signal-caller won by the second largest victory total in the history of Heisman balloting. Only OJ Simpson's victory margin in 1968 was larger. A major
key to the 6-1, 215-pound QB’s Heisman run was his early season encounter against the Texas Longhorns. It was Texas who had given the
Buckeyes their lone loss the previous season. Facing a hostile crowd in Austin, TX, during a nationally televised
prime time game, Smith threw for 269-yards and two scores as the Buckeyes gained revenge against the defending national champs with a 24-7
Except for some turbulence encountered in an early November win over Illinois, Smith and the Buckeyes cruised through the 2006 season as they
prepared for their season ending rivalry game against Michigan. Smith’s Heisman campaign received another great platform as the two undefeated
teams met in another nationally televised prime time game. Any Heisman doubts for Smith quickly dissipated when Smith’s performance helped to
derail the Wolverines as he passed for four TD’s and 316 yards.
||Barry Sanders dazzled
collegiate defenses on his
way to a Heisman Trophy
and an All-Pro NFL career.
||OKLAHOMA: BILLY VESSELS 1952, STEVE OWENS 1969, BILLY SIMS 1978,
JASON WHITE 2003, Sam Bradford 2008
Considering that Oklahoma has won six national championships and had four Heisman Trophy winners, one would surely think that the Sooners
might have accomplished both feats in one season. Oddly enough however, Oklahoma’s winning Heisman efforts never matched up with one of
their championship seasons.
Prior to the Sooners' most recent Heisman winner, OU’s best players have never been a passing fancy. Instead, the Sooner’s Heisman
winners have reflected the program’s more desired mode of travel. They were born to run.
Billy Vessels was the first OU player to gain Heisman fame when took the honor in 1952. A key figure on the Sooner’s 1950 national championship
team, Vessels exploded for 1,072 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. The Heisman winner also excelled as a pass receiver, punt returner and also
found time to throw two touchdown passes.
With the Sooners badly hurt by graduation following the 1968 season, tailback Steve Owens carried the team on his back in 1969. The 6-2, 215
pound battering ram scored 23 touchdowns and rushed for 1,523 yards on his way to the Heisman. Owens still ranks as OU’s top career scorer with
After leading the nation in rushing and averaging more than seven yards per carry, OU’s Billy Sims gained college football’s top individual honor in
1978. Sims won the award his junior season that included a rushing total of 1,762 yards and 20 scores. Sims set a 1978 school record rushing total
that included four 200-yard plus games.
Jason White became the fourth Sooner to win the Heisman Trophy as he led his team to 12 straight victories and an appearance in the BCS
National Championship game. While the Sooners lost to LSU, White threw for a school record 40 touchdown passes in a season.
Jason White became the fourth Sooner to win the Heisman Trophy when his school-record 40 touchdown passes helped lead Oklahoma to an
undefeated regular season and BCS championship game appearance against LSU in 2003. White was the nation’s top rated passer with 3846
yards passing and just 10 interceptions. What made White’s Heisman winning performances even more remarkable was that he was able to
compete at such a high-level after sustaining and then rehabbing two major knee injuries earlier in his collegiate year. White returned for a
successful senior season in 2004 and joined the Denver Broncos as a rookie after college
OKLAHOMA STATE: BARRY SANDERS 1988
An odd thing happened to Barry Sanders’ quest to being a dominating college football running back when he arrived at Oklahoma State. The
Cowboys already had a dynamic performer known as Thurman Thomas. With Sanders having to bide his time, he excelled in a different area as a
sophomore by earning All-American honors as a kick returner.
By his junior season the 5-8 Sanders assumed the featured back role when Thomas joined the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Sanders quickly made up for lost
time by becoming a human highlight reel while becoming just the eighth junior to win the Heisman. While many running backs bask in the glory of
consistently reaching the 100-yard rushing mark, Barry Sanders made them seem mortal by averaging 200 yards per game in 1988. Sanders
amassed 2,628 rushing yards and 3,249 total yards during his 1988 Heisman season that also produced 39 touchdowns.
Sanders shattered several NCAA single season and career marks before being picked by Detroit in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft. A collective
sigh of relief could be heard from Big 12 Conference defensive coordinators after Barry forgo his senior season. Sanders continued his dazzling
style of play in the pros and was named the 1989 Rookie of the Year and shared Co-NFL MVP honors with Brett Favre in 1997.
OREGON STATE: TERRY BAKER 1962
With the Beavers lack of football success the past few decades, it might be a surprise that Oregon State is a member of the Heisman fraternity.
Considering all the football legends from the likes of USC and UCLA, it seems shocking that Baker was the first West Coast player to win the award.
Terry Baker was a one-man wrecking crew for Oregon State during his career that peaked his senior season. As a quarterback Baker threw for 1,738
yards and 15 touchdowns. Baker also led his squad in net rushing yards averaging 4.5 yards per carry and also punted.
Following his collegiate career, Baker played pro ball for the Los Angles Rams and the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos.
PENN STATE: JOHN CAPPELLETTI 1973
Even though Penn State’s only Heisman Trophy winner earned his honor after bulling his way for 1,522 yards his senior season, John Cappelletti
began his college career as a defensive back. Cappelletti’s switch to the Nittany Lion backfield proved to be the right choice after he amassed 2,639
yards and 29 touchdowns in two seasons.
The emotional Cappelletti’s acceptance speech at the Heisman dinner ranks as the most moving ever given. The tear-filled running back honored
his brother Joey, a victim of leukemia. A movie marking Cappelletti’s love for his brother titled Something For Joey was later released.
The Los Angeles selected Cappelletti in the first round of the NFL’s 1974 draft. Cappelletti retired from the league in 1983.
Click Here For Penn State Nittany Lions Football Gear
PITTSBURGH: TONY DORSETT 1976
When Aliquippa, Pa. native Tony Dorsett signed with Pittsbugh after the Panthers won the recruiting battle against Ohio State, Colorado and Penn
State great things were expected. However, Dorsett’s run to fame nearly ended before it began when Dorsett struggled with transitioning into college
life. The 155-pound running back struggled to break the mental blocks of shyness and the more stringent atmosphere found in Pittsburgh’s
practices. The record books now clearly show that Tony Dorsett overcame a desire to quit football and instead launched a four-year assault on
the NCAA rushing records that culminated in his winning the Heisman Trophy his senior season. Besides helping his Panther teammates win the
1976 national championship, Dorsett eclipsed several key marks with his 1,948 yards rushing for the season that bumped his career total to an
NCAA record 6,082 yards. Dorsett’s rushing record remained intact for more than two decades until Ricky Williams surpassed it in 1998.
Dorsett refused to slow down when he reached the NFL as the Dallas Cowboys first round selection. Touchdown Tony was named the league’s
1977 “Rookie of the Year” after the Cowboys won the Super Bowl. Dorsett retired from the NFL in 1990 and is the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Pittsburgh’s Dorsett legacy grew a new leaf in 1992 when Tony’s son Anthony joined the Panther football program. Instead of following in his father’s
footsteps as a tailback, Anthony focused on defense en route to the NFL. As an Oakland Raider defensive back in 1999, Dorsett changed his uniform
number from 30 to 33 to honor his father.
PRINCETON: DICK KAZMAIER 1951
Even the best Ivy League football players must now accept that they will never cause even a slight tremor on the Heisman Trophy Richter Scale.
However in 1951, the nation’s eyes still focused on the athletic accomplishments in the brainy league.
Dick Kazmaier gained the Ivy League’s last Heisman Trophy that season when the Princeton standout led the nation in total offense with 1,827 yards.
Considering he was once relegated to third string tailback on the Tigers’ freshman team, Kazmaier’s accomplishments were remarkable. Besides
winning college football’s top award, the Princeton signal caller also was named AP Male Athlete of the Year, Ivy League Player of the Decade and
Princeton’s Player of the Century.
After taking the team’s controls his sophomore year, Kazmaier used his lethal running and passing skills to lead Princeton to 22 consecutive wins.
While Kazmaier gained top individual honors in 1951, his squad gained a No. 6 national ranking and the Lambert Trophy. The award crowned them
as the best team in the East.
While Kazmaier aced the many defensive tests that he faced in college football, he decided to apply his problem solving skills in a different arena.
Instead of signing with the Chicago Bears after they selected him in the 1952 draft, Kazmaier scampered to Harvard Business School.
SMU: DOAK WALKER 1948
While playing for the Mustangs (1945,1947-49), Doak Walker earned the 1948 Heisman Trophy, became the only three-time All-American in SMU
history and helped lead SMU to consecutive SWC championships in 1947 and 1948. Walker’s vast array of talents attracted so many fans that the
Cotton Bowl, SMU’s home at the time was expanded by 20,000 seats in 1948. The facility became known as “The House That Doak Built.”
“He embodied SMU, not just athletics,” Mustang SID Jon Jackson said. He was SMU in the 1940s. He was on national magazine covers constantly.”
Jackson added, “If you talk to anyone that saw him play, almost to a man they will tell you he’s the best all-around college football player that’s ever
played. He did everything. He kicked, passed, played defense. He was a great player.”
Although Walker died in 1998, he is still remembered well in college football circles. Each season the nation's best collegiate running back receives
the Doak Walker Award.
SOUTH CAROLINA : GEORGE ROGERS 1980
George Rogers rushed to the top of the Heisman Trophy candidate list in 1980 when he led Division I-A football in rushing with 1,894 yards on his
way to capturing the Heisman Trophy. The Gamecock back’s rise to the top was of meteoric proportions considering that the independent school
was cast in the dim shadows of the national spotlight.
Despite finishing second nationally in rushing in 1979 behind USC’s Charles White, Rogers was a Heisman long shot heading into his senior
campaign. Rogers had helped his Gamecocks reach a school mark eight-win season, but his talents had yet to be featured on national television.
All winners since 1967 had made at least one national television appearance.
When South Carolina’s 1980 contest against Georgia earned a national audience, Rogers had to share the marquee with a freshman sensation
named Herschel Walker. Despite Walker out rushing Rogers by a 219-168-yard margin in the Bulldog’s victory, Rogers’ Heisman Trophy quest was
not to be denied. The Gamecock back had already begun to rule the Heisman roost with a 141-yard effort against USC and a 142-yard game
Rogers was the first selection of the 1981 draft. Eluding the Heisman jinx, Rogers was named The Sporting News’ NFL Rookie of the Year after
gaining 1,674 rushing yards for the Saints in 1981.
STANFORD: JIM PLUNKETT 1970
When Jim Plunkett completed the 1969 season, the NFL was ready to draft the strong-armed quarterback into the professional ranks. However, with
one year of athletic eligibility left, Plunkett instead returned to the Indians with one mission in mind.
While a Heisman Trophy and a Rose Bowl victory would be gained his final season, Plunkett’s focus was gaining revenge from USC. The Trojans
had edged Plunkett’s Indians by 27-24 and 26-24 scores on their way to Rose Bowl bids. Stanford had not defeated USC since 1957 and Plunkett
wanted one more shot at his conference rivals.
Besides leading Stanford to a 24-14 win over USC and a Rose bowl victory over Ohio State, Plunkett became Stanford’s first player to win the
Heisman Trophy. The Indian quarterback easily outdistanced Notre Dame’s Joe Theismann and Ole Miss’ Archie Manning in the balloting Plunkett
finished his collegiate career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in net passing yards (7,544) and total offense (7,887 yards).
New England made Plunkett the top pick in the 1971 NFL Draft. Plunkett later gained Super Bowl famed by leading the Raiders to Super Bowl
championships in 1980 and ’83. Plunkett was named the MVP of Super Bowl XV after passing for 261-yards and three touchdowns to help down the
SYRACUSE: ERNIE DAVIS 1961
While Ernie Davis possessed the many athletic feats often associated with a Heisman Trophy winning season, he will forever be remembered for
other reasons as well. When the Syracuse Orangemen won the award in 1961, he became the first African-American to win the award. Following his
Heisman season that also included a national championship for undefeated Syracuse, Ernie Davis was selected with the first pick of the 1962 NFL
Draft. Davis signed a record contract with the Cleveland Browns and was set to join former Orangemen Jim Brown in the Cleveland
backfield. Tragically, Ernie Davis didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate his crowning achievement for very
long. Before he ever took an NFL snap, Davis was diagnosed with Leukemia and never played football again. Although he is reported to have fought
a courageous battle against the disease, Davis died in 1963. In honor of Davis, the Cleveland Browns retired the #45 jersey, the number that Davis
ws to have worn for the Browns. Ernie Davis wore the famed #44 jersey for Syracuse, a
number also made famous by other Orangemen such as Jim Brown and Larry Czonka. Davis broke many of Jim Brown’s school rushing records
and burst onto the Heisman scene with his stellar 1961 performance. That season saw Davis rush for 823 yards, score 15 touchdowns and lead
Syracuse in receiving. Davis edged out Ohio State’s Bob Ferguson for the award.
Ernie Davis’ life story is chronicled in a novel called Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express. The book written by Robert C. Gallagher, gives great detail
about the courageous athlete from Elmira, NY. Gallagher’s book illustrates the great affection for Ernie Davis as more than 10,000
mourners filed by his coffin as it lay in state in Elmira, NY. The author also writes about a heartfelt telegram that President Kennedy sent to Ernie
Davis’ mother. The letter of sympathy spoke of how impressed the President was with Davis when he had met him shortly after his Heisman
season. President Kennedy noted what a tremendous inspiration Ernie Davis was to people throughout the country.
To further celebrate the life of Ernie Davis, a movie is being scheduled for production. The movie will be called The Express and will feature Dennis
Quaid as Davis’ collegiate coach. An announcement on who will play Ernie Davis in the movie has not been made at this time. Click here for more
Ernie Davis info.
TCU: DAVEY O’BRIEN 1938
After following the legendary Sammy Baugh as TCU’s quarterback, Davey O'Brien more than adequately filled his Baugh's shoes. Much like his
predecessor, the 5-7 and 150 pound O'Brien displayed many talents during his TCU career. He led the nation in passing in 1937 as well as the1938
national championship season. O'Brien terrorized opponents with additional skills that included running, placekicking, returning kicks, punting and
"Little Davey's" achievements didn't go unnoticed. He was awarded the Heisman, Walter Camp and Maxwell trophies in 1938, becoming the first
person ever to win all three awards. Famed sportswriter, Grantland Rice one wrote about O'Briens toughness, "That boy must be stuffed with scrap
After his TCU career ended in 1938, O'Brien earned all-pro honors during his two-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. A job with the FBI lured him
from professional football and later O'brien returned to Fort Worth to enter the oil business.
Although O'Brien died of cancer in 1977, his legacy continues to live on. Each year an award is presented in his name to the best college quarterback
in the nation.
TEXAS: EARL CAMPBELL 1977, RICKY WILLIAMS 1998
Known as the “Tyler Rose,” Earl Campbell was accustomed to being on a team of eleven people when he arrived in Austin to play college football.
Campbell had come from humble beginnings and was the fifth of 11 children raised in the East Texas town of Tyler by his mother Ann Campbell.
Mrs. Campbell was widowed when her sixth child was only ten years old.
With Earl having to share a bed with his brothers in their plank board house, the family attempted to make ends meet by working in their two-acre
rose field. Selling roses didn’t earn enough money to feed the eleven children so Earl’s mother also worked as a maid several days a week. Late in
Campbell’s Texas career, Earl promised his mother that he’d build her a new house when the expected NFL revenue arrived. The Campbell family
enjoyed their first meal in the four-bedroom ranch style house on Easter Sunday following Earl’s rookie year.
Success came early for Earl when he earned the Longhorns’ starting fullback position his freshman season and then ran for 928 yards. As a
sophomore, Campbell earned his first consensus All-American honors when he rambled for 1,118 yards and 13 touchdowns. A pulled hamstring
hampered Campbell’s junior season, but he returned in Heisman form for his final campaign.
While leading the Longhorns to an 11-0 regular season, Campbell rushed for 1,744 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead the nation in both categories
during his 1977 Heisman season. The bruising back finished his Longhorn career with 4,443 yards rushing and 41 touchdowns.
After being picked by the Houston Oilers as the top selection in the 1978 NFL draft, Campbell continued to be a sensation. He ignited an Oiler Blue
frenzy by blasting his way to rookie of the year and league MVP honors. Before Campbell’s career ended in 1986, he had rushed for 9,407 yards and
74 touchdowns. Those marks helped him gain entrance into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1991. Campbell is also in the Longhorn’s Hall of Honor and
his jersey No. 20 was retired in 1979.
Before his college career was over, the Longhorns’ Ricky Williams emerged as Division 1-A’s all-time leading rusher and scorer. Williams broke the
rushing record in his final regular season game against Texas A&M. In dramatic fashion, Williams eclipsed the mark on a 60-yard touchdown run
that was followed by a congratulatory handshake from Dorsett.
Besides totaling 6,279 yards rushing, Williams gained headlines because of his tribute to former Heisman winner and SMU star Doak Walker.
Williams’ friendship with Walker developed after the Texas running back won the Doak Walker Award following his junior year.
When Texas played Oklahoma the next year in the Cotton Bowl Stadium, Williams saluted Walker who had recently died by wearing Doak’s No. 37.
Cotton Bowl Stadium has been long known as “the house that Doak built” because of the large crowds that attended his SMU games in the 1930s.
For more Ricky Williams info click here.
TEXAS A&M: JOHN DAVID CROW 1957, Johnny Manziel 2012
Texas A&M chased Heisman Trophy glory in 1939 and 1940 when fullback John Kimbrough finished in fifth place and then second place in the
voting. The Aggies struck Heisman gold in 1957 when halfback John David Crow won the coveted award.
Crow helped his team achieve an 8-3 Gator Bowl season with his multi-dimensional skills that included rushing, receiving, passing, kick returns and
five interceptions thrown in for icing on the cake.
Crow’s flight to success marked Bear Bryant’s last season in College Station. Despite the six national championship teams that the Bear would
coach at Alabama, Crow was the only Heisman winner that the legendary figure ever coached.
The Chicago Cardinals drafted Crow in the first round of the NFL Draft and the former Aggie wound up playing in the NFL for 11 seasons. Crow
eclipsed the 1,000-yard barrier in 1960, becoming the first Cardinal to reach that goal.
UCLA: GARY BEBAN 1967
Quarterback Gary Beban helped UCLA add another chapter to its sports achievements when he captured college football’s most coveted individual
award in 1967. The Bruins Heisman treat was sweetened more by the fact that Beban had narrowly defeated cross-town rival O.J. Simpson from
During his three years of leading the Bruin’s offense (1964-67), Beban passed for 4,087 career-passing yards while adding another 1271 yards on
the ground. While Beban’s eight touchdown passes during his Heisman campaign didn’t seem overly impressive, he rushed for an incredible 11
touchdowns that season. UCLA posted 7-2-1 record and a No. 10 national ranking his Heisman season and a 24-5-2 overall record with Beban at
USC: MIKE GARRETT 1965, O.J. SIMPSON 1968, CHARLES WHITE 1979, MARCUS ALLEN 1981, Carson Palmer 2002,
MATT LEINART 2004, REGGIE BUSH 2005
While USC teams have won great honors through the years, many individual players have distinguished themselves with stellar play. By running the
I-formation offense to great precision, four Trojan tailbacks have rushed their way to a Heisman Trophy.
Mike Garrett began the run to glory in 1965 when he gained 1,440 yards including a 210-yard effort against UCLA. In a day when 1,000 yard seasons
were nearly non existent, Garrett totaled an NCAA career rushing record of 3,221 yards.
Another record setting back gained the Heisman in 1968 when O.J. Simpson won the award by the most one-sided margin in history. Simpson’s
Heisman campaign saw him set an NCAA record single season rushing mark with 1,709 yards. By the time his USC career had ended, Simpson
had set 19 NCAA, conference and Trojan records.
Simpson later Buffaloed the NFL after the Bills drafted him into the professional ranks. Simpson eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing barrier (2,003-
yards) in 1973 and finished as the second leading NFL career rusher behind Jim Brown.
The assault on the NCAA record books continued when USC’s Charles White won college football’s top award in 1979. While running for more than
100 yards 31 times, White set or equaled 22 NCAA, PAC-10, USC and Rose Bowl records. White’s Heisman season included 2,050 yards rushing
and 19 touchdowns and his career total of 5,598 yards placed him second on the all-time list The NFL’s Cleveland Browns drafted White in the first
round of the 1980 draft.
The running efforts of USC’s Marcus Allen in 1981 not only vaulted him to Heisman status, but enabled him to become the NCAA’s first 2,000-yard
rusher. Allen knocked down records like dominoes with his 2,342 yards that set 14 new NCAA records and tied two others.
Allen’s Heisman rush fulfilled a prediction that he once made to O.J. Simpson. During an awards dinner his senior year in high school, Allen told
Simpson that he would go to USC and win the Heisman Trophy.
With USC having firmly established its Tailback U. tradition, Allen’s role as a sophomore in the Trojan backfield might have doubt his goals of
reaching the Heisman. USC produced a Heisman winning tailback that year, but it wasn’t Marcus Allen. Instead, Allen was the starting fullback
whose mission was to clear the way for Charles White.
Allen was switched to tailback the next season and led the Trojans in rushing and receptions. Unsatisfied with his efforts, Allen intensified his off-
season training and reported for his senior in Heisman winning form.
The Los Angeles Raiders picked Allen with the 10th pick of the 1982 NFL Draft. Allen earned Hall of Fame credentials with his successful career with
the Raiders and Chiefs that spanned 16 seasons. Allen amassed 17,454 yards of total offense and added 145 career touchdowns. The former
Trojan is the only Heisman winner to achieve both an NFL MVP (1985) and Super Bowl MVP award (XVIII-1984).
A flurry of Trojan Heisman winners began in 2002 when Carson Palmer became the fifth USC star to capture this award. Not only did Palmer start a
new procession of Trojan Heisman winners, but he also broke the mold of former USC winners since he was the first Southern Cal QB to win the
award. Palmer had a rather lengthy Trojan career since played in 53 games during five seasons that included an injury-shortened 1999 campaign
that resulted in a redshirt year.
As a 4-year starter, the experienced, strong-armed Palmer was the Pac-10's career passing and total offense leader. Cason broke seven Pac-10
career records and numerous USC career records as well. Palmer left college as the Pac-10 Conferences’ all-time leader in passing yards
(11,818), completions (927) and total offense (11,621) … His 72 career TD passes set a USC record … His 72 career TD passes set a USC record.
Palmer’s most notable Heisman winning performance was against Notre Dame when his 425 passing yards was the most ever by a Notre dame
opponent. Palmer finished his USC Heisman season with a win at the 2003 Orange Bowl where he was selected bowl MVP. Palmer was selected
as the number one pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals
Continuing to forge their developing reputation as the new “Quarterback U,” QB Matt Leinart became the sixth Trojan to win the Heisman Trophy
following the 2004 season. The junior signal-caller led the Trojans to an undefeated season and a BCS championship with a thrashing of Oklahoma
in the Orange Bowl. By also having led USC to the top of the charts in 2003, Leinart became only the third quarterback to lead his to consecutive
national titles Besides leading USC to a 13-0 record, Leinart completed
65% of his passes for 3,332 yards and 33 touchdowns. Not only did Leinart post excellent stats, but he saved his best performances for USC’s
staunchest opponents. Against the Trojans’ four opponents in the final 2004 rankings, (Va. Tech, Cal, Ariz. St. and Oklahoma) Leinart threw for 992
yarts, 14 TD’s and only one interception. Leinart returned for his senior season. Despite another stellar performance, Leinart was unable to lead
USC to another national title and finished third in the Heisman voting (USC’s Bush won). Leinart was drafted in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft
by the Arizona Cardinals.
Multi-talented and a constant reminder of Gayle Sayers, Reggie Bush became the seventh USC star to win the Heisman Trophy. The flashy star set
the college football world on fire in 2005 as he helped to lead the Trojans to an undefeated regular season and a BCS Championship game shootout
with Texas. With the ability to score anywhere on the field, Bush excelled from the backfield and as a punt and kick off return specialist. The average
length of his 18 touchdowns in 2005 was 31.4 yards and he averaged a touchdown every 14.4 times he touched the ball. Bush proved to be
extremely popular off the field as well. His 84% first place Heisman votes game him highest percentage in Heisman voting history. Bush rushed
187 times gaining 1,658 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns in the regular season. Bush also caught 31 passes for 383 yards and 2 additional
touchdowns. His late season performance against Fresno State added icing to the Heisman cake as Bush amassed a PAC-10 record of 513 all-
purpose yards including 294 yards rushing. Bush left USC after his junior season and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the number two
overall selection in the first round.
WISCONSIN: ALAN AMECHE 1954, RON DAYNE 1999
The highest honor claimed by a Wisconsin football player was the Heisman Trophy that Alan Ameche earned in 1954. Nicknamed “The Horse,”
Ameche totaled 641 yards and nine touchdowns his Heisman winning year. A three-time All American, Ameche was voted Wisconsin’s all-time
greatest player in 1969. His No. 35 jersey has been retired by the school.
Before joining the NFL’s Baltimore Colts, Ameche left Wisconsin as the NCAA’s all-time career rushing leader with 3,345 yards. Ameche’s success
continued in the pro ranks. He led the NFL in rushing his rookie year and was a five-time pro bowl pick while leading the Colts to two NFL
Championships. One of those championships was the famed 1958 sudden death game against the New York Giants. After taking a Unitas handoff,
Ameche burst into the Giant end zone from one-yard out for a 23-17 Baltimore victory.
Big, bruising and fast were three components that helped Badger halfback Ron Dayne explode through the rushing books on his way to setting the
NCAA’s all-time rushing record. Much like an Old Clint Eastwood movie, Dayne made a sudden impact his freshman year by eclipsing Herschel
Walker’s freshman mark by more than 200 yards en route to a 1,863 yard season.
With nearly half of his yards accumulated after contact, Dayne continued to punish his opposition with 1,421 yards his sophomore season and 1,279
his junior year. Heading into the 1999 campaign, the 5-10, 252-pound Dayne was within 1,717 yards of breaking Ricky Williams’ all-time career
mark. Much like Williams who had set the new rushing standard in 1998, Dayne surged past the record in his final regular season game. Dayne
finished with 6,739 career yards. For more information click here.
YALE: LARRY KELLEY 1936, CLINT FRANK 1937
While Ivy League glory may never plant its roots in Heisman fame, Yale pressed an impressive stamp in the trophy’s early history. Larry Kelley
utilized his receiving skills to score a touchdown in each game against rivals Harvard and Princeton in 1936 while scoring 15 for the season. Besides
serving as an offensive weapon for the Bulldogs, Kelley was a defensive standout.
After college, Larry Kelly was offered $11,000 to play for Detroit, $1.500 a week to star in a movie, a $5,000 bonus to play baseball for St. Louis. He
turned them all down and took a $2,000-a-year job at his former prep school to teach math and history.
Described as the best back to don a Yale uniform, Clint Frank’s 1937 Heisman winning season made it two in a row for the Bulldogs. The two-time
All-America product used blazing speed and durability to beat opponents with his passing and rushing skills.