Have you ever been watching your favorite college football or NFL team and wonder what ever happened to all those great Heisman Trophy winners? Ever wonder what happened to great college players like Eric Crouch, Jason White, Chris Weinke, or Ron Dayne?
Well since 1992 Heisman Trophy winners have struggled mightily in the NFL. Some have never played a down in the NFL. No Heisman Trophy winner since 1992 has won a Super Bowl, or been named conference, or NFL player of the year. Also, only four players have played in a Pro Bowl. Just two players have been named rookie of the year and taken All-Pro honors.
So now you have to be asking, "What did happen to all those guys then?" Well, now I will tell you all about them in this slideshow.
The great Miami (FL) quarterback won the Heisman in his senior season with the Hurricanes. However, he was not drafted until the seventh round by the Minnesota Vikings. He played for five different teams in an NFL career that spanned from 1993-97. He never made an NFL start, but played in Seattle's 1996 season finale and threw a 32-yard touchdown pass. It was the only time Torretta played in an NFL game.
Charlie Ward played quarterback at Florida State from 1990-1993. Ward started for the Seminoles in the 1992 and 1993 seasons. He would also played basketball and baseball at FSU. He won the Heisman in his final year at Florida St., but decided against the NFL and opted to play in the NBA instead. He played pro basketball for 11 years and reached the NBA Finals in 1999 with the New York Knicks. His NBA career would end in the 2004-05 season, when he was forced to retire because of injuries.
Salaam won the Heisman as a junior at the University of Colorado in 1994. He played running back for the Buffaloes. He was drafted 21st overall in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He set the Bears rookie rushing record by rushing for over 1,000 yards in his first season. This record was broken by Matt Forte this season. However after that it was all downhill. He played only two more season with the Bears and did not play at all in 1998. The Browns sigend him in 1999, but he played just 2 games and was let go. He played one season in the XFL and CFL, but he was suspended by the CFL midway through the 2004 season. Salaam would retire at the end of that season.
Former Ohio State running back Eddie George is one of the few Heisman winners since 1992 to have any success in the NFL. George was the 14th overall pick of the 1996 draft, where he was taken by the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans). George ran for over 10,441 yards and 68 touchdowns. He played in four Pro Bowls and was a three-time All Pro. George also made an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV, where his Titans were defeated by St. Louis, 23-17. He retired after the 2004 NFL season.
Wueffel, the Florida Gator signal caller, won his Heisman in 1996. He would be taken by the New Orleans Saints with the 99th overall pick in the 1997 draft. Wuerffel played with four different teams in his six NFL seasons. He would retire in 2002 with just 2,123 yards and 12 touchdowns. He would also end his career with a disappointing 22 interceptions and a career quarterback rating of 56.4.
Woodson joins Eddie George as one of the few to translate their college success to the NFL. He became the first defensive player to win Heisman in 1997 as a junior at the University of Michigan. After college, Woodson was the fourth overall pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 1998 draft. He has played in five Pro Bowls and is a three-time All-Pro. He won the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 1998. He currently is a starting cornerback for the Green Bay Packers.
Williams, a former Texas Longhorn, has let his problems off the field overshadow his performance on the field.
After winning the Heisman in 1998, he would be drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the fifth pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. He was the NFL's leading rusher in his first year with Miami in 2002. After a steady 2003 season, Williams tested positive for marijuana in 2003. Facing suspension and a fine, Williams chose instead to retire in 2004.
Williams returned to the NFL in 2005 and served his four game suspension, but had just 743 yards and six touchdowns to show for his efforts. Ricky would fail another test in 2006 and was suspended for the entire season. He played a season in the Canadian Football League (CFL) while on suspension. Williams returned to the NFL in 2007, but just has 674 yards and four touchdowns in his last 17 NFL games.
Dayne left the Wisconsin Badgers as the NCAA's All-Time leading rusher. He was selected by the New York Giants with the 11th overall pick of the 2000 draft. Dayne rushed for 770 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie year, as the Giants reached the Super Bowl.
He would struggle after his rookie season with the Giants. He played for Denver in 2005 and Houston in 2006 and 2007, but he never rushed for over 800 yards of seven touchdowns in a season. He would retire with 3,722 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2007.
Weinke led Florida State the National Championship Game in his Senior year, which helped to earn himself a Heisman Trophy. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Weinke was the starter for the Panthers in his rookie year, but the team went a disappointing 1-15. He would not play again until October of 2005. He then left Carolina and signed with San Francisco in 2007, but he made just one start for the 49ers. He was 2-18 overall as an NFL starter.
Crouch led Nebraska to an appearance in the National Championship game in his Senior season as well. The Huskers would be destroyed by Miami (FL) in that game.
Crouch would later be drafted in the third round of the 2002 draft by the St. Louis Rams. He failed to make their active roster and would try again in Green Bay and Kansas City, but he would not make it onto the active roster for either team.
He is currently playing in the AAFL.
Palmer is also one of the few who have had success after winning a Heisman trophy. He has played in two Pro Bowls and has thrown for over 15,000 yards and 107 touchdowns in six seasons with Cincinnati.
White won the Heisman trophy as a junior at Oklahoma. He would come back for his senior year and led the Sooners to a National Championship appearance.
White went undrafted in the 2005 NFL draft. He signed with Tennessee as an undrafted free agent, but would retire that same year citing knee problems.
Leinart also won the award in 2004 as a junior at USC, but opted to come back for his senior season. He would later be drafted tenth overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2006 draft.
Leinart started 11 games for Arizona in his rookie year. He threw for 2,547 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, after struggling as the starter in the 2007 opener he was replaced by Kurt Warner.
Leinart would make only five more starts in 2007 and had just 647 yards and two touchdowns. He did not start at all for the Cardinals in 2008.
Bush became the third consecutive junior to win the award in 2005. However, unlike White and Leinart he decided to turn professional after his junior season.
He became the second overall pick in the 2006 draft. He has played three seasons for the Saints and had an outstanding rookie year. However, he has missed ten games in his last two seasons due to a left knee problem.
Troy Smith led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the National Championship game in his senior season. He would later be drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2007. Smith has not played enough to really be declared a bust or a possible NFL success.