The Heisman Trophy is given yearly to “the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”
The first Heisman Trophy winner came in 1935 when it was awarded to Jay Berwanger, a halfback from the University of Chicago. This year’s list of candidates is impressive.
Here, we’ll look at schools with the most Heisman trophy winners.
Ohio State Buckeyes: 7
1944 | Les Horvath, Quarterback/Running Back
1950 | Vic Janowicz, Half Back/Punter
1955 | Howard Cassady, Half Back
1974 | Archie Griffin, Running Back
1975 | Archie Griffin, Running Back
1995 | Eddie George, Running Back
2006 | Troy Smith, Quarterback
Most Heisman trophy winners have been from the quarterback position. Still, Ohio State only had one full-time quarterback win it, Troy Smith in 2006. Smith would go on to get drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He ended his NFL career with 1,736 passing yards, eight touchdown passes, and added three more rushing.
Ohio State is the only school to have a single player win the Heisman Trophy twice, and that was running back Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975.
According to online sportsbooks, current quarterback CJ Stroud is the odds-on favorite to win the award. If he did so, Ohio State would have the most Heisman winners.
Oklahoma Sooners: 7
1952 | Billy Vessels, Half Back
1969 | Steve Owens, Full Back
1978 | Billy Sims, Running Back
2003 | Jason White, Quarterback
2008 | Sam Bradford, Quarterback
2017 | Baker Mayfield, Quarterback
2018 | Kyler Murray, Quarterback
While the first three winners of Oklahoma were non-quarterbacks, the most recent four have been, including the school having back-to-back quarterback winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
These players would be the No. 1 overall pick in their draft classes. Mayfield is on his second team with the Carolina Panthers after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns, and Murray is still the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals. He was drafted No. 1 overall after the Cardinals invested a Top 10 pick in fellow quarterback Josh Rosen.
Oklahoma is one of three schools to have seven Heisman trophies.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 7
1943 | Angelo Bertelli, Quarterback
1947 | John Lujack, Quarterback
1949 | Leon Hart, Defensive End
1953 | Johnny Lattner, Half Back
1956 | Paul Hornung, Quarterback
1964 | John Huarte, Quarterback
1987| Tim Brown, Wide Receiver
Several Heisman Trophy winners have gone on to be selected to the NFL Hall of Fame and the 1987 winner, wide receiver Tim Brown, was one of them. Brown was drafted No. 6 overall in the 1988 draft. He played from 1988 to 2004 and had 1,094 receptions, 14,934 receiving yards, and 100 touchdown catches.
John Lujack, the 1947 winner, is the oldest living Heisman recipient. He is 97 years old.
USC Trojans: 6
1965 | Mike Garrett, Half Back
1968 | O.J. Simpson, Half Back
1979 | Charles White, Half Back
1981 | Marcus Allen, Half Back
2002 | Carson Palmer, Quarterback
2004 | Matt Leinart, Quarterback
2006 | Reggie Bush, Running Back (vacated)
We can’t talk about the USC Heisman trophy winners without discussing running back Reggie Bush’s award. The Trojans would also be a school with seven Heisman winners. However, Bush had his award vacated in 2010 because of NCAA violations after an investigation concluded that Bush and his family received improper benefits while he was a student at the school.
USC is the only school with six Heisman Trophy winners. Outside of Bush, quarterback Carson Palmer is the most recent winner to have success in the NFL. He went on to get drafted No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals before eventually retiring to force a trade to the then-Oakland Raiders. His best season came in 2015 with the Arizona Cardinals, where he had 35 touchdown passes, nearly 4,700 passing yards, and 11 interceptions. He finished second in MVP voting that year.
Alabama Crimson Tide: 4
2009 | Mark Ingram II, Running Back
2015 | Derrick Henry, Running Back
2020 | DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver
2021 | Bryce Young, Quarterback
Considering all the recent success of the Alabama Crimson Tide, it’s quite surprising to learn they hadn’t had any Heisman Trophy winners until running back Mark Ingram in 2009. Quarterback Bryce Young won it in 2021 and was considered a favorite to repeat in 2022, but he missed a game with an injury and that might have hurt his chances. Should Young win it, he’d be the second Heisman winner with two awards.
If you enjoy college football betting, Young currently has +2200 odds to win the award over at DraftKings Sportsbook. As with most seasons, Alabama is also one of the top college football picks to secure a college football playoff berth and win the championship.
Of all the Alabama quarterbacks, Young is the only one to have won the award. All four winners in Alabama history have come under coach Nick Saban.
Auburn Tigers: 3
1971 | Pat Sullivan, Quarterback
1985 | Bo Jackson, Running Back
2010 | Cam Newton, Quarterback
Cam Newton took the football world by storm during his 2010 Heisman Trophy campaign. He essentially redefined the game of football. After just one season of playing for the Auburn Tigers, he was selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. He never won a Super Bowl, but he did make it in 2016, losing to the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos.
Before Newton, there was Bo Jackson. He is the only professional athlete to be named an All-Star in the NFL and MLB. He played just a few NFL seasons, but racked up nearly 2,800 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. In baseball, he had a lifetime batting average of .250 and hit 141 home runs.
Nebraska Cornhuskers: 3
1972 | Johnny Rodgers, Wide Receiver/Running Back
1983 | Mike Rozier, Running Back
2001 | Eric Crouch, Quarterback/Wide Receiver
If you look at Nebraska today, it’s hard to imagine a time when they had such a dominant program. However, during the 1990s, Nebraska won three national championships.
Crouch, the 2001 winner, would go on to be selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft as a receiver to the St. Louis Rams. However, the rookie retired before ever playing a down. He retired because of injuries.
Army Black Knights: 3
1945 | Doc Blanchard, Full Back
1946 | Glenn Davis, Half Back
1958 | Pete Dawkins, Half Back
Army isn’t a school you’d consider a powerhouse in 2022, but in the middle portion of the 1900s, the school enjoyed much success. It won back-to-back national championships in 1944 and 1945. Two of its Heisman trophy winners came in 1945 and 1946 before Pete Dawkins was the final recipient in 1958.
Today, none of their players are in the running for the Heisman, but defensive end Andre Carter looks to be a top prospect ahead of the 2023 NFL draft.
Florida Gators: 3
1966 | Steve Spurrier, Quarterback
1996 | Danny Wuerffel, Quarterback
2007 | Tim Tebow, Quarterback
We all know Steve Spurrier as one of the more successful college football coaches, going 217-79-2 throughout his career, but yes, he was also a Heisman trophy winner in 1966.
We can’t talk about Florida Gators football without Tim Tebow. Tebow played for one of the best college football programs during his time. He played all four years and racked up nearly 9,300 total passing yards, 88 touchdowns, and just 16 interceptions. Tebow added more production rushing, accumulating 2,947 yards on 692 carries for 57 touchdowns.
He famously had that “30 minutes for the rest of our lives speech” at halftime during the 2009 BCS Championship Game against Oklahoma. The Gators were tied 7-7 heading into halftime. Tebow’s speech sparked momentum and the Gators would go on to win 24-14.
Florida State Seminoles: 3
1993 | Charlie Ward, Quarterback
2000 | Chris Weinke, Quarterback
2013 | Jameis Winston, Quarterback
All three Heisman trophy winners for the Florida State Seminoles have been quarterbacks.
After a 13-year hiatus, current New Orleans Saints quarterback and former No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft Jameis Winston won the award in 2013. He was the first-ever freshman to win the award, racking up over 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns and adding 219 more yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Michigan Wolverines: 3
1940 | Tom Harmon, Half Back
1991 | Desmond Howard, Wide Receiver/Punt Returner
1997 | Charles Woodson, Cornerback
Not only was Charles Woodson the last Michigan Wolverines player to win the Heisman Trophy, but he’s also the last defensive player to win the award as of the 2022-23 college football season.
Woodson was the No. 4 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft and is a member of the college football and Pro Football Hall of Fame. He won NFL Defensive player of the year in 2009, is a Super Bowl champion, and had 65 career interceptions. He retired in 2015.
Heisman Trophy 2022 Predictions
The front-runner for this year’s award is Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud. Barring injury, Stroud appears poised to take home the award. Thus far, Stroud has 28 touchdowns, more than 2,000 passing yards, and just four interceptions.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker has 19 touchdowns with just one interception and more than 2,000 yards passing.
USC quarterback Caleb Williams has 19 passing touchdowns and has also 235 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has 18 touchdown passes with three interceptions and just less than 2,000 yards passing. He missed a game with an injury or he would probably have the same numbers as the top guys.
Has anyone won more than two Heisman Trophies?
No. Only Archie Griffin from Ohio State has won two Heisman Trophies. He earned his wins in back-to-back seasons in 1974 and 1975. Other players won before they were seniors, but didn’t get enough votes to get that second trophy.
Who is the Heisman Trophy named after?
The Heisman Trophy is named after John W. Heisman, a former player and coach. He coached from 1892 to 1917, working at schools such as Clemson, Auburn, Rice and Georgia Tech. He entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954 and is credited with establishing the forward pass and the notable “hike” that quarterbacks yell before the snap.
Which College has the most Heisman Trophy Winners?
Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame possess the most Heisman Trophy winners, with seven each. Ohio State and Oklahoma have had players to win in several decades, going back to the 1940s and into the 2000s. Notre Dame dominated the early century and its last winner was in 1987.
Who are this year’s top Heisman Trophy Candidates?
The Heisman Trophy has always been a bit of a quarterback award, and the 2022 season is no different. The top candidates are Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud, USC quarterback Caleb Williams, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker.
Who will be this year’s Heisman Trophy Winner?
No matter which online sportsbook you use to make a wager, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is the current front-runner. But, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who wasn’t on the list before the season, is making a strong push right behind Stroud. Should be a good race to the end.
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