College football season is well underway and fans are talking about the 2023 Heisman Trophy candidates that are emerging....
The Heisman Trophy is one of the most prestigious awards given to college football players. It recognizes the best player in each season and has become an iconic symbol of excellence on and off the field. Many Heisman winners have gone on to have successful NFL careers, with many of them selected early in the draft. In fact, over the past 10 years, Heisman winners have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft an impressive nine times.
The dawn of the NFL Draft in 1935 coincided with a historic moment in the world of sports when Chicago University's star player, Jay Berwanger, clinched the inaugural Heisman Trophy. This extraordinary feat propelled him to become the first ever player selected in the NFL Draft. Since Berwanger's time, the Heisman Winners have had diverse fortunes when it comes to the draft, with some basking in the early draft limelight while others have struggled to find favor with NFL teams. One thing is certain, though - the nostalgia of the early days of the draft, along with the prestige of the Heisman Trophy, continues to fuel the passion and excitement of sports aficionados across generations.
Autographed Helmets from Heisman Winners and Your Favorite NFL and Collegiate Players
Listed below, you'll find a full list of Heisman Trophy winners and the year and the team that selected them
|Heisman Winner -|
|Jay Berwanger -|
|1936/Rd 1||#1||The Philadelphia Eagles traded his rights to the|
Chicago Bears, but he never played pro ball.
|Larry Kelley - Yale||1936||Detroit Lions||1937/Rd 9||#87||Played for AFL's Boston Shamrocks|
|Clint Frank - Yale||1937||Detroit Lions||1938/Rd 12||#106||Frank pursued a military career after college.|
|Davey O'Brien -|
|1939/Rd||#4||Led NFL in passing yards rookie year, but retired|
after two seasons
|Nile Kinnick - Iowa||1939||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|1940/Rd 2||#14||Pursued law school instead of pro ball and was|
later killed in World War II
|Tom Harmon -|
|1940||Chicago Bears||1941/Rd 1||#1||Rejected Bears to play for AFL's NY Americans.|
|Bruce Smith -|
|1942/Rd 13||#119||Served in WW II & later played for Packers & Rams|
|Frank Sinkwich -|
|1942||Detroit Lions||1943/Rd 1||#1||Joined the Marines after college, but later won NFL|
MVP honors with Lions in 1944.
|Angelo Bertelli -|
|1943||Boston Yanks||1944/Rd 1||#1||After service with Marines in WW II, Bertelli played|
fin the All-American Football Conference
|Les Horvath -|
|1944||Cleveland Rams||1943/Rd 6||N/A||Horvath went to dental school in 1945 and later|
joined the military. Eventually he played for the
Rams & Browns.
|Doc Blanchard -|
|1945||Pittsburgh Steelers||1946/Rd 1||#3||Never played pro ball but served as a fighter pilot|
for the Air Force & flew 113 missions in Vietnam.
|Heisman Winner -|
|Glenn Davis - Army||1946||Detroit Lions||1947/Rd 1||#2||Served in the military for three years before|
joining the Los Angeles Rams and played until
|Johnny Lujack -|
|1947||Chicago Bears||1949/Rd 1||#3||Played another season at Notre Dame after being|
drafted, but joined Chicago in 1948.
|Doak Walker - SMU||1948||Boston Yanks||1949/Rd 1||#3||Played for Detroit Lions & was All-Pro 4 times|
before being enshrined in Pro Football HOF.
|Leon Hart -|
|1949||Detroit Lions||1950/Rd 1||#1||Played 7 seasons in Detroit & 1 Pro Bowl season.|
|Vic Janowicz -|
|1952/Rd 7||#79||Janowicz initially played pro baseball before|
playing two seasons for the Washington
|Dick Kazmaier -|
|1951||Chicago Bears||1952/Rd 15||#176||Rejected Bears to attend Harvard Business|
|Billy Vessels -|
|1952||Baltimore Colts||1953/Rd 1||#2||Decided to play in Canada & was leagues Most|
Outstanding player in '53. Played for Colts in '56.
|Johnny Lattner -|
|1953||Pittsburgh Steelers||1954/Rd 1||#7||Played for Steelers one season before joining Air|
|Alan Ameche -|
|1954||Baltimore Colts||1955/Rd 1||#3||1955 NFL Rookie of the Year & 4x Pro Bowl in 6|
|Howard Cassady -|
|1955||Detroit Lions||1956/Rd 1||#3||Cassady played nine NFL seasons with the|
Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and the
|Paul Hornung -|
|1956||Green Bay Packers||1957/Rd 1||#1||Won 4 NFL championships with the Green Bay|
Packers and led the league scoring 3 times.
Hornung was the 1961 NFL MVP & is a member
of the Pro Football HOF.
|John David Crow -|
|1957||Chicago Cardinals||1958/Rd 1||#2||Played 11 NFL seasons for & 4 Pro Bowls.|
|Pete Dawkins -|
|1958||Not Drafted||N/A||N/A||This Rhodes Scholar pursued a military career|
and became an Army Brigadier General.
|Billy Cannon - LSU||1959||Los Angeles Rams|
Houston Oilers (AFL)
|Signed with AFL's Oilers and was leagues|
rushing leader in 1961. Also played for Raiders
|Joe Bellino - Navy||1960||Washington|
|Served 4 years of active duty before playing 3|
seasons for the Patriots.
|Ernie Davis -|
|1963/Rd 1||#1||Traded to Cleveland after draft. Davis developed|
Leukemia & never played for Browns. Died in
|Terry Baker -|
|1962||Los Angeles Rams||1963/Rd 1||#1||Played 3 seasons for Rams and 1 in the CFL.|
|Roger Staubach -|
|1963||Dallas Cowboys||1964/d 10||#129||After military career, joined Dallas as a|
27-year-old rookie. 6x Pro Bowl selections, &
Super Bowl VI MVP. Pro Football Hall of Fame
|John Huarte -|
|1964||Philadelphia Eagles||1965/Rd 6||#76||Also drafted by AFL Jets. Played for Jets one|
season and 5 other teams in 10-year pro career.
|Mike Garrett -|
|1965||Los Angeles Rams||1966/Rd 2||#18||Also drafted by AFL K.C. Chiefs and won a Super|
Bowl (IV). Finished career in '73 with Chargers.
|Steve Spurrier -|
|1966||San Francisco 49ers||1967/Rd 1||#3||Played 9 seasons for SF and final year for|
expansion Tampa Bay. Threw 40 career TD
|Gary Beban -|
|1967||Los Angeles Rams||1968/Rd 2||#30||Played for Redskins in '68 & '69 before retiring.|
|O.J. Simpson -|
|1968||Buffalo Bills||1969/Rd 1||#1||In '72, became first to surpass 2,000 yards|
rushing in single season. 5x All-Pro and Pro
|Steve Owens -|
|1969||Detroit Lions||1970/Rd 1||#19||In 1971, became first Lion to rush for 1,000+|
yards. Earned Pro Bowl in '71. Injuries ended
career in 1975
|Jim Plunkett -|
|1971/Rd 1||#1||Struggled with Pats and 49ers early in career, but|
won SB XV MVP honors by guiding Raiders to
|Pat Sullivan -|
|1971||Atlanta Falcons||1972/Rd 2||#40||Played 4 years in Atlanta & final 2 with|
|1972||San Diego Chargers||1973/Rd 1||#25||Began pro career as the top rookie in the|
CFL. After 4 seasons in Montreal, finished
career in '78 in S.D.
- Penn State
|1973||Los Angeles Rams||1974/Rd 1||#11||Played 5 years with Rams & 4 with Chargers.|
|Archie Griffin -|
|Cincinnati Bengals||1976/Rd 1||#24||This Rhodes Scholar pursued a military career and|
became an Army Brigadier General.
|Tony Dorsett -|
|1976||Dallas Cowboys||1977/Rd 1||#2||11 years in Dallas and 1 in Denver. NFL ROY, 4x|
Pro Bowl player and SB XII champ. Pro Football
|Earl Campbell -|
|1977||Houston Oilers||1978/Rd 11||#1||Offensive ROY in '78 and NFL MVP in '79. Was 3x|
All-Pro selection for Oilers. Played 9 yrs
|Heisman Winner -|
|Billy Sims -|
|1978||Detroit Lions||1980/R 1||#1||Billy Sims earned 3 Pro Bowl selections with the|
Detroit Lions before suffering a career ending
knee injury in 1984. Sims was the 1980 NFL
|Charles White -|
|1979||Cleveland Browns||1980/R 1||#27||After slow start in Cleveland, White earned Pro|
Bowl and Comeback POY with Rams in '87.
Retired in '88.
|George Rogers -|
|1980||New Orleans Saints||1981/Rd 1||#1||Rogers was the 1981 NFL ROY while leading the|
league in rushing. His career tailed off after
that. Rogers played 4 years in New Orleans and
3 for Washington.
|Marcus Allen -|
|1981||Los Angeles Raiders||1982/Rd 1||#10||16 remarkable seasons with Raiders & Chiefs.|
6x Pro Bowl, '85 NFL MVP, SB XVIII MVP & Pro
|1982||Dallas Cowboys||1985/Rd 5||#114||Stint with USFL began 14-year pro career. Won|
USFL rushing title in '85 & '85. Gained 18,168
combined yards in 12 NFL years.
mental Rd 1
|#2||Began 8-year pro career with USFL's Pittsburgh|
Maulers and finished his career with the Atlanta
|Doug Flutie -|
|1984||Los Angeles Rams||1985/Rd 11||#285||Fluties's 21-year career included the USFL, CFL|
& NFL. 3x Grey Cup champ & CFL's most
outstanding player 6x. '98 NFL Comeback Player
of the Year.
|1986/Rd 1 |
|Perhaps best pro athlete ever. Played for MLB &|
NFL & was an All Star for KC and Pro Bowler for
Oakland. A serious hip injury in 1991 ended his
|1987/Rd 1||#1||Played with 7 NFL teams over a 21-year span|
and enjoyed 2 Pro Bowl seasons. At 43,
became oldest starting QB to win a game in NFL
|1987||Los Angles Raiders||1988/Rd 1||#6||Brown played all but one of his 17 seasons with|
the Raiders and earned 9 Pro Bowl seasons and
14,934 receiving yards which was the 2nd most
in NFL history when he retired.
|Barry Sanders -|
|1988||Detroit Lions||1989/Rd 1||#3||Was on pace to become NFL's all-time leading|
rusher when he unexpectedly retired before the
'99 season. Was a 10x Pro Bowl selection & '97
NFL MVP. Rushed for 15,269 yards and 109
TD's in 10 seasons.
|Andre Ware -|
|1989||Detroit Lions||1990/Rd 1||#7||Played in Detroit 4 years before his NFL career|
ended with the Raiders in '94. Also played in the
|Ty Detmer- BYU||1990||Green Bay Packers||1992/Rd 9||#230||Deemed too small to play NFL QB, but logged a|
14-year career as mostly a backup for 6 teams.
|1992/Rd 1||#4||Although drafted as a WR, Howard made his NFL|
mark as a punt returner where he was Super
Bowl XXXI MVP for the Packers. Played for 5
|Gino Torretta -|
|1992||Minnesota Vikings||1993/Rd 7||#192||Was on the roster of 5 NFL teams in 5 year|
career, but saw little action.
|Charlie Ward -|
|1993||Not drafted by an|
|N/A||N/A||After stating that he would not play in the NFL|
unless drafted in the 1st round, Charlie Ward
was instead drafted into the NBA where he had
a successful career
|2019||Cincinnati Bengals||2020/Rd 1||#1|
Earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors after injuring knee his rookie year. Led Bengals to AFC Championship in 2021.
|2020||Philadelphia Eagles||2021 Rd 1||#10|
Accumulated 2,112 yards receiving and 12 TDs in his first two seasons.
|2021||TBA||2023 Rd 1||#1 overall pick selected by Carolina Panthers|