The Heisman Trophy, one of the highest individual awards in American college football, has been awarded 81 times since its creation in 1935, including 79 unique winners and one two-time winner. The trophy is given annually to the most outstanding college football player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), and is awarded by the Heisman Trust, successors of the awards from the Downtown Athletic Club at an annual ceremony at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, Manhattan.
In 1935, the award, then known as the DAC Trophy, was created by New York City's Downtown Athletic Club to recognize the best college football player "east of the Mississippi River". In that inaugural year, the award went to Jay Berwanger from the University of Chicago. Berwanger was later drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League but declined to sign for them. He never played professional football for any team, instead choosing to pursue a career in business. In 1936, the club's athletic director, football pioneer John Heisman, died and the trophy was renamed in his honor. Larry Kelley, the second winner of the award, was the first to win it as the "Heisman Trophy". In addition to the name change, the award also became a nationwide achievement. With the new name, players west of the Mississippi became eligible; the first player from the western United States was selected in 1938. Only one player, Ohio State's Archie Griffin, has won the award twice.
On June 10, 2010, following several years of investigation, the NCAA announced that USC running back Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman trophy winner, received gifts from agents while still in college. The university received major sanctions, and there were reports that the Heisman Trophy Trust would strip his award. In September of that year, Bush voluntarily forfeited his title as the 2005 winner. The Heisman Trust decided to leave the award vacated with no new winner to be announced.
Between 1936 and 2001, the award was given at an annual gala ceremony at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City. The Downtown Athletic Club's facilities were damaged during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Due to financial difficulties stemming from the damage, the DAC declared bankruptcy in 2002, turning over its building to creditors. Following the club's bankruptcy and the loss of the original Downtown Athletic Club building, the Yale Club of New York City assumed presenting honors in 2002 and 2003. The ceremony was moved to the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the 2002, 2003, and 2004 presentations, but since 2005, the event has been held at the venue now known as PlayStation Theater, also in Times Square. The move to the PlayStation Theater allowed the Downtown Athletic Club (and ultimately, the award's successor, The Heisman Trust) to resume full control of the event—the most prominent example of which was the return of the official portraits of past winners—despite the loss of the original presentation hall.
In terms of balloting, the fifty states of the U.S. are split into six regions (Far West, Mid Atlantic, Mid West, North East, South, South West), and six regional representatives are selected to appoint voters in their states. Each region has 145 media votes, for a total of 870 votes. In addition, all previous Heisman winners may vote, and one final vote is counted through public balloting. The Heisman ballots contain a 3-2-1 point system, in which each ballot ranks the voter's top three players and awards them three points for a first-place daddy vote, two points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote. The points are tabulated, and the player with the highest total of points across all ballots wins the Heisman Trophy.
|Given for||The outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.|
Times Square, Manhattan
|Presented by||Downtown Athletic Club (1937–2001)|
Yale Club (2002–2003)
The Heisman Trust (2004–current)
|First award||December 9, 1935 to Jay Berwanger|
|Most recent||Kyler Murray,|
University of Oklahoma
|*||1st overall draft pick in the NFL Draft|
|†||Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|‡||First overall draft pick and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|Year||Image||Name||School||Position||Points||% of Points Possible||Class|
|1943||Angelo Bertelli*||Notre Dame||Quarterback||648||64.80%||Senior|
|1944||Les Horvath||Ohio State||Halfback/Quarterback||412||18.31%||Senior|
|1947||Johnny Lujack||Notre Dame||Quarterback||742||74.20%||Senior|
|1949||Leon Hart*||Notre Dame||End||995||36.53%||Senior|
|1950||Vic Janowicz||Ohio State||Halfback/Punter||633||22.03%||Junior|
|1953||Johnny Lattner||Notre Dame||Halfback||1,850||49.14%||Senior|
|1955||Howard Cassady||Ohio State||Halfback||2,219||55.87%||Senior|
|1956||Paul Hornung‡||Notre Dame||Quarterback||1,066||26.96%||Senior|
|1957||John David Crow||Texas A&M||Halfback||1,183||31.12%||Senior|
|Terry Baker*||Oregon State||Quarterback||707||21.25%||Senior|
|John Huarte||Notre Dame||Quarterback||1,026||30.98%||Senior|
|1968||O. J. Simpson‡||USC||Halfback||2,853||80.64%||Senior|
|Johnny Rodgers||Nebraska||Wide receiver/Running back||1,310||38.75%||Senior|
|John Cappelletti||Penn State||Running back||1,057||32.78%||Senior|
|1974||Archie Griffin||Ohio State
|1976||Tony Dorsett†||Pittsburgh||Running back||2,357||74.97%||Senior|
|1977||Earl Campbell‡||Texas||Running back||1,547||49.11%||Senior|
|1978||Billy Sims*||Oklahoma||Running back||827||26.25%||Junior|
|Charles White||USC||Running back||1,695||53.81%||Senior|
|George Rogers*||South Carolina||Running back||1,128||35.81%||Senior|
|1981||Marcus Allen†||USC||Running back||1,797||57.05%||Senior|
|1982||Herschel Walker||Georgia||Running back||1,926||61.14%||Junior|
|1983||Mike Rozier||Nebraska||Running back||1,801||57.17%||Senior|
|1984||Doug Flutie||Boston College||Quarterback||2,240||71.11%||Senior|
|1985||Bo Jackson*||Auburn||Running back||1,509||47.90%||Senior|
|1987||Tim Brown†||Notre Dame||Wide receiver||1,442||45.78%||Senior|
|1988||Barry Sanders†||Oklahoma State||Running back||1,878||68.27%||Junior|
|1991||Desmond Howard||Michigan||Wide receiver/Punt returner||2,077||75.50%||Junior|
|1993||Charlie Ward||Florida State||Quarterback||2,310||83.79%||Senior|
|1994||Rashaan Salaam||Colorado||Running back||1,743||63.15%||Junior|
|1995||Eddie George||Ohio State||Running back||1,460||52.84%||Senior|
|1997||Charles Woodson||Michigan||Cornerback/Punt returner||1,815||65.69%||Junior|
|1998||Ricky Williams||Texas||Running back||2,355||85.23%||Senior|
|1999||Ron Dayne||Wisconsin||Running back||2,042||73.83%||Senior|
|2000||Chris Weinke||Florida State||Quarterback||1,628||58.86%||Senior|
|Reggie Bush||USC||Running back||2,541||91.77%||Junior|
|2006||Troy Smith||Ohio State||Quarterback||2,540||91.63%||Senior|
|2009||Mark Ingram Jr.||Alabama||Running back||1,304||46.99%||Sophomore|
|2011||Robert Griffin III||Baylor||Quarterback||1,687||60.66%||Junior|
|2012||Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M||Quarterback||2,029||72.88%||Freshman|
|2013||Jameis Winston*||Florida State||Quarterback||2,205||79.12%||Freshman|
|2015||Derrick Henry||Alabama||Running back||1,832||65.73%||Junior|
This is a list of the colleges and universities who have had a player win a Heisman trophy: Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame are tied for the most trophies at 7 each (USC's 2005 award having been voluntarily forfeited). Ohio State has the distinction of the only two-time winner, Archie Griffin, leaving their total players to have won the trophy at six. In total, players from 40 different schools have won a Heisman Trophy, while 18 schools have more than one trophy.
Cameron Jerrell Newton (born May 11, 1989) is an American football quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Auburn and was drafted as the first overall pick by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft. Newton is the only player in the modern era to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship, and become the first overall pick in an NFL draft within a one-year span. He was the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, is a three-time Pro Bowler, and was named the NFL MVP in 2015.
In his rookie year, Newton broke all-time NFL rookie records for passing and rushing yards. He became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Peyton Manning's first-game record by 120 yards. He also broke Otto Graham's 61-year-old record for passing yards by any quarterback in an NFL debut. Newton went on to become the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. He also ran for 14 touchdowns, more in a single season than any quarterback in NFL history, breaking Steve Grogan's 35-year-old record.In 2015, Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in the same season (35 passing, 10 rushing). He also became the only quarterback ever to have 300 yards passing, 5 touchdown passes, and over 100 yards rushing in the same game. Newton capped off the 2015 season by capturing MVP honors and leading the Panthers to a 15–1 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50.Danny Wuerffel
Daniel Carl Wuerffel (born May 27, 1974) is a former college and professional American football quarterback who won the 1996 Heisman Trophy and the 1996 national football championship while playing college football for the University of Florida. Wuerffel was a prolific passer in coach Steve Spurrier's offense. He led the nation in touchdown passes in 1995 and 1996, and set numerous school and conference records. Wuerffel was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
After graduating from Florida, Wuerffel was drafted by the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He spent six years in the league with four teams, finding limited success as a backup and an occasional starter. He also played a season in NFL Europe, where he led the Rhein Fire to a league championship and was named MVP of World Bowl 2000.
Wuerffel last played professional football in 2002, officially retiring in 2004. He returned to New Orleans to work with Desire Street Ministries, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development. Wuerffel had first become involved with the organization while playing for the Saints in the late 1990s, and as the organization attempted to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he became its executive director. Under Wuerffel, Desire Street Ministries moved its headquarters to Atlanta and expanded its programs to other inner cities in the American south.Heisman curse
The Heisman curse is a term coined to reference a two-part assertion of a negative future for the winning player of the Heisman Trophy. The "curse" supposes that any college football player who wins the Heisman plays on a team that will likely lose its subsequent bowl game. The trend of post-award failure has garnered the attention of the mainstream media. Talk of a curse in relation to bowl results was particularly prevalent from 2003 to 2008, when six Heisman Trophy winners compiled a cumulative 1–5 bowl game record, and five of those six led number one ranked teams into the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game as favorites (Heisman Trophy winners, including Reggie Bush, who gave back his Heisman Trophy, are 4–8 overall in the BCS National Championship Game and College Football Playoff National Championship, although prior to 2009 they were 1–6). Additionally, the Heisman curse asserts that in most cases a Heisman winner will have either a poor career in the National Football League (NFL), or in fact not even see such a football career at all. Although many Heisman winners have not enjoyed success at the professional level, including players like Matt Leinart, Andre Ware, Jason White, Rashaan Salaam, Eric Crouch, Ty Detmer, Troy Smith and Gino Torretta, proponents of the "curse" rarely cite highly successful players such as Barry Sanders, Charles Woodson, Eddie George, Tim Brown, Bo Jackson, Marcus Allen, Earl Campbell, and Tony Dorsett among the notables.
Insofar as there is a "curse" of underperforming Heisman winners, it seems to affect quarterbacks disproportionately. Although certain Heisman winners have gone on to win Super Bowl championships (such as Roger Staubach and Jim Plunkett), comparatively few have had successful NFL careers. Conversely, running backs seem generally to have fared better in the professional ranks, and wide receivers have had mixed results. The only primarily defensive Heisman winner, Charles Woodson, had a successful NFL career and final collegiate bowl game appearance.
The "curse" does not imply that only Heisman winners have failed careers, only the irony behind college football's best underperforming after the award is given. However, while there are numerous counts of players who underperformed after winning the award, an equal number of players have gone on to see great success, evidence that the "curse" is more of an amusement than a reality.
While there is no statistical or empirical evidence that suggests Heisman winners underperform compared to other high-profile collegiate players, some try to explain the perception of the curse by reference to trends regarding voter selections. Some see the trend going back decades to other players, but it has most famously been observed since the 1990s. The accepted logical explanation for the discrepancy between success and failure of Heisman winners is that the people who pick the Heisman are sportswriters and former Heisman winners. This might mean that they vote for a winner based on reputation, without seeing him or really studying him, basically a qualitative approach. On the other hand, the people who pick players for the NFL are talent evaluators. They study tape, interview players and put them through workouts where their strengths and weaknesses can be quantified.Paul Hornung
Paul Vernon Hornung (born December 23, 1935), nicknamed The Golden Boy, is a former professional American football player and a Hall of Fame running back for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 to 1966. He played on teams that won four NFL titles and the first Super Bowl. He is the first pro football player to win the Heisman Trophy, be selected as the first overall selection in the NFL Draft, win the NFL most valuable player award, and be inducted into both the professional and college football halls of fame.A versatile player, Hornung was a halfback, quarterback, and placekicker. He was an excellent all-around college athlete at Notre Dame, where he played basketball in addition to football.Rashaan Salaam
Rashaan Iman Salaam (October 8, 1974 – December 5, 2016) was an American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons during the 1990s. Salaam played college football for the University of Colorado and won the 1994 Heisman Trophy. He was picked by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Bears and Cleveland Browns of the NFL. Salaam died by suicide on December 5, 2016.Steve Spurrier
Stephen Orr Spurrier (born April 20, 1945) is an American football head ball coach and former player who is currently the head coach of the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football. Spurrier was born in Miami Beach, Florida and grew up in Tennessee, where he was a multi-sport all-state athlete at Science Hill High School in Johnson City. He attended the University of Florida, where he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a college football quarterback with the Florida Gators. The San Francisco 49ers picked him in the first round of the 1967 NFL draft, and he spent a decade playing professionally in the National Football League (NFL), mainly as a backup quarterback and punter. Spurrier was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986.
After retiring as a player, Spurrier went into coaching and spent several years as an assistant at several college programs, including at Duke University, where he began to develop his innovative offensive system while serving as the Blue Devil's offensive coordinator in the early 1980s. He was hired to his first head coaching job by the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League (USFL) in 1983. The USFL folded after three seasons, and Spurrier returned to the college ranks, serving as the head football coach at Duke (3 seasons), Florida (12 seasons), and South Carolina (10.5 seasons). Between his stints at Florida and South Carolina, he led the National Football League's Washington Redskins for two seasons. Spurrier retired from coaching in 2015 and became an ambassador and consultant for the University of Florida's athletic department. In 2019, he will return to the sideline as the head coach the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football.
Spurrier's teams were known for winning with high-scoring offenses, and the "head ball coach" also became known for teasing and "needling" rivals both before and after beating them on the field. He is the winningest coach in both Florida and South Carolina program history, and his last Duke squad won the program's only Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship over the last half-century in 1989. Florida's four consecutive Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships in the mid-1990s is the second-longest streak in conference history behind Bear Bryant's 1970s Alabama teams. Spurrier and Bryant are the only coaches to hold the record for most conference wins at two different SEC schools, and Spurrier is second to Bryant in total career wins while leading an SEC program. When Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel won the Heisman Trophy during the Gators' 1996 national championship season, Spurrier became the only Heisman Trophy winner to coach another Heisman Trophy winner. Spurrier was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2017, making him one of four members to be inducted as both a player and a coach. In September 2016, the University of Florida officially renamed the Gators' home field to Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.Tim Tebow
Timothy Richard Tebow (; born August 14, 1987) is a former professional American football quarterback and current professional baseball outfielder in the New York Mets organization. He played college football for the University of Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and appearing on BCS National Championship-winning teams during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. Tebow was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and spent two seasons with the team. He also played for the New York Jets in 2012. Additionally, he had preseason stints with the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Tebow became the Florida Gators' starting quarterback during the 2007 season when he became the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. In 2008, Tebow led Florida to a 13–1 record and its second national championship in three years, and was named the offensive MVP of the national championship game. The Gators again went 13–1 in 2009, his senior year. At the conclusion of his college career, he held the Southeastern Conference's all-time records in both career passing efficiency and total rushing touchdowns, appearing second and tenth (respectively) in the NCAA record book in these categories.As a member of the Denver Broncos, he started the last three games of his rookie season and became the team's full-time starting quarterback beginning in the sixth game of 2011. The Broncos were 1–4 before he became the starter, but began winning with him on the field, often coming from behind late in the fourth quarter, until they won their first AFC West title and first playoff game since 2005, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime. Despite the team's success, however, Tebow's potential as a professional level quarterback was called into question due to a perceived lack of passing ability, persistent fumbles, and having the lowest passing completion rate in the league.During the 2012 offseason, the Broncos traded Tebow to the New York Jets, where he received little playing time and was released after the 2012 season ended. He signed a two-year, non-guaranteed contract with the New England Patriots on June 11, 2013, but was cut from the team on August 31, 2013. After two seasons away from the game, Tebow signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on April 20, 2015, but was released on September 5. Despite compiling a record of 8–6 as a starting quarterback with the Broncos and leading them to the playoffs, including a playoff win, he did not start again in the NFL. No other quarterback under 30 in NFL history has won a playoff game and then never started another NFL game.On October 1st, 2016, Tebow announced he would pursue a career in professional baseball, and signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets on September 8. He has played in Minor League Baseball for the Mets organization in 2017 and 2018.
Heisman Trophy winners
*Note: The 2005 Heisman Trophy was originally awarded to Reggie Bush, but Bush forfeited the award in 2010. The Heisman Trust subsequently decided to leave the 2005 award vacated.
College football awards
|Overall media awards|
|Other national player awards|
|Head coaching awards|
|Assistant coaching awards|
|Division I FCS awards|
and versatility awards
|Halls of fame|