|Awarded 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.|
|Presented by||Downtown Athletic Club (1937–2001)|
Yale Club (2002–2003)
The Heisman Trust (2004–present)
|First award||1935 to Jay Berwanger|
|Most recent||DeVonta Smith, Alabama|
The Heisman Trophy, one of the highest individual awards in American college football, has been awarded 86 times since its creation in 1935, including 85 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.
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.
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.
A school has had a Heisman winner in back-to-back years five times, though one of those awards is Bush's forfeited trophy (Yale 1936-37, Army 1945-46, Ohio State 1974-75, USC 2004-05 and Oklahoma 2017-18). Only one player, Ohio State's Archie Griffin, has won the award twice. Oklahoma is the only school to have two players win the award in back-to-back years playing the same position (quarterbacks Baker Mayfield followed by Kyler Murray).
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. Between 2005 and 2019, the event was held at PlayStation Theater 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. Shortly after the 2019 ceremony was held, the PlayStation Theater was permanently closed; as a result, the Heisman Trust began searching for a new location to conduct the trophy presentation. The 2020 ceremony would ultimately be held at the studios of ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ceremony being held on January 5, 2021.
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 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.
|*||First 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|
List of Heisman Trophy winners
|Year||Image||Name||School||Position||Points||% of points possible||Class||Draft position[note 1]|
|Angelo Bertelli*||Notre Dame||QB||648||64.80%||Senior||1st|
|Les Horvath||Ohio State||HB/QB||412||18.31%||Senior||45th (1943)|
|1947||Johnny Lujack||Notre Dame||QB||742||74.20%||Senior||4th (1946)|
|Leon Hart*||Notre Dame||End||995||36.53%||Senior||1st|
|Vic Janowicz||Ohio State||HB/P||633||22.03%||Junior||79th|
|1953||Johnny Lattner||Notre Dame||HB||1,850||49.14%||Senior||7th|
|1955||Howard Cassady||Ohio State||HB||2,219||55.87%||Senior||3rd|
|1956||Paul Hornung‡||Notre Dame||QB||1,066||26.96%||Senior||1st|
|1957||John David Crow||Texas A&M||HB||1,183||31.12%||Senior||2nd|
|1958||Pete Dawkins||Army||HB||1,394||39.01%||Senior||Undrafted[note 2]|
|1960||Joe Bellino||Navy||HB||1,793||52.89%||Senior||146th (AFL)|
|Terry Baker*||Oregon State||QB||707||21.25%||Senior||1st|
|John Huarte||Notre Dame||QB||1,026||30.98%||Senior||12th (AFL)|
|1968||O. J. Simpson‡||USC||HB||2,853||80.64%||Senior||1st|
|1973||John Cappelletti||Penn State||RB||1,057||32.78%||Senior||11th|
|1974||Archie Griffin||Ohio State||RB||1,920||59.53%||Junior||24th|
|1978||Billy Sims*||Oklahoma||RB||827||26.25%||Junior||1st (1980)|
|1980||George Rogers*||South Carolina||RB||1,128||35.81%||Senior||1st|
|1982||Herschel Walker||Georgia||RB||1,926||61.14%||Junior||114th (1985)|
|1983||Mike Rozier||Nebraska||RB||1,801||57.17%||Senior||2nd (USFL)|
|1984||Doug Flutie||Boston College||QB||2,240||71.11%||Senior||286th|
|1986||Vinny Testaverde*||Miami (FL)||QB||2,213||70.25%||Senior||1st|
|1987||Tim Brown†||Notre Dame||WR||1,442||45.78%||Senior||6th|
|1988||Barry Sanders†||Oklahoma State||RB||1,878||68.27%||Junior||3rd|
|1990||Ty Detmer||BYU||QB||1,482||53.87%||Junior||230th (1992)|
|1992||Gino Torretta||Miami (FL)||QB||1,400||50.84%||Senior||192nd|
|1993||Charlie Ward||Florida State||QB||2,310||83.79%||Senior||Undrafted[note 3]|
|1995||Eddie George||Ohio State||RB||1,460||52.84%||Senior||14th|
|2000||Chris Weinke||Florida State||QB||1,628||58.86%||Senior||106th|
|2003||Jason White||Oklahoma||QB||1,481||53.54%||Senior||Undrafted (2005)|
|2004||Matt Leinart||USC||QB||1,325||47.85%||Junior||10th (2006)|
|2006||Troy Smith||Ohio State||QB||2,540||91.63%||Senior||174th|
|2007||Tim Tebow||Florida||QB||1,957||70.52%||Sophomore||25th (2010)|
|2008||Sam Bradford*||Oklahoma||QB||1,726||62.13%||Sophomore||1st (2010)|
|2009||Mark Ingram Jr.||Alabama||RB||1,304||46.99%||Sophomore||28th (2011)|
|2011||Robert Griffin III||Baylor||QB||1,687||60.66%||Junior||2nd|
|2012||Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M||QB||2,029||72.88%||Freshman||22nd (2014)|
|2013||Jameis Winston*||Florida State||QB||2,205||79.12%||Freshman||1st (2015)|
|2016||Lamar Jackson||Louisville||QB||2,144||79.50%||Sophomore||32nd (2018)|
- Unless otherwise noted, these positions are for the NFL Draft following their Heisman victory.
- Dawkins instead opted for a military career.
- Ward instead opted for a basketball career, and was drafted 26th in the 1994 NBA Draft.
Trophies won by school
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 previously had 7 winners but the 2005 award was forfeited, leaving their official total at 6. 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 19 schools have more than one trophy.
- Lighten up. (Heisman Trophy) Mark Purdy, The Sporting News, encyclopedia.com. December 5, 1994. Accessed March 8, 2008. (Site defunct prior to 9/10) Archived February 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Jay Berwanger, first winner of the Heisman Trophy, 1914–2002 Julia Morse, University of Chicago News Office. Chicago, Illinois. June 27, 2002. Accessed March 7, 2008.
- "The Heisman Trophy". heisman.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- USC punished with two-year football posteason ban. ESPN, June 11, 2010.
- "NCAA infraction report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 5, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
- "news: Heisman Trust leader denies decision to revoke Bush's trophy". NFL. September 7, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
- "Reggie Bush's Heisman to stay vacated". ESPN. September 16, 2010. Archived from the original on January 10, 2016.
- Archie Griffin Archived January 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Heisman.com. Accessed December 23, 2012.
- New York landmark's closing leaves Heisman homeless Wayne Drehs, ESPN.com. July 22, 2004. Accessed March 8, 2008.
- 9-11 Forces Heisman to Move to Yale Club Christopher Hunt, New York Daily News. June 26, 2002. Accessed December 14, 2018.
- Heisman Trophy Dinner Becomes Feast for the Public The Washington Post. November 7, 2003. Accessed December 14, 2018.
- "Downtown Athletic Club". nyc-architecture.com. Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- Bush runs away with Heisman Trophy Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com. December 10, 2005. Accessed March 8, 2008.
- "Heisman Trophy to be awarded virtually Jan. 5". ESPN.com. November 14, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- Expanded Heisman Trophy Voting Results Archived February 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine MSNBC.com. Accessed March 8, 2008.
- "Heisman Trophy Balloting". heisman.com. Archived from the original on August 16, 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- Chisholm, Kari. "A plea to sportswriters for statistical accuracy". Stiff Arm Trophy. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- Huston, Chris (May 22, 2019). "Heisman winners in the NFL draft (Updated)". Heisman. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
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