The Heisman Trophy, sports most prestige honor. The most coveted and special award in all of sports. Many sports fans tune in every year for the announcing of the winner.
To receive this trophy is being told that you are one of the elite players in the history of America's greatest game. The player who receives this trophy each year will alway be remembered for what they accomplished in the game of College football, but what after that?
Move on to the NFL? If they're lucky. For some reason, the Heisman winners never seem to make a living in the NFL.
Only nine of the 74 Heisman winners are in the NFL Hall of Fame. Whether they are just a "college player" or what ever other reason, many Heisman winners are just remembered for doing that. So, let us look back on this decades early Heisman winners and where they are now.
Chris Weinke was the quarterback for the Florida State Seminols from 1997-2000. He led his team to three consecutive National Championship Games from 1998-2000.
In his senior season, he won the Heismsn, but lost to Oklahoma in the title game.
He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fourth round of the following year's Draft. He led the team to a dismal 1-15 record in his rookie season. He was then replaced by the Panther's current starter, Jake Delhomme.
He didn't play in another game until 2005, when Delhomme went down against the Lions. He led them to a comeback win. Since then, he has started four games and in those has a record of 1-3.
He is now unemployed by any NFL team.
Eric Crouch was the a three year starter at quarterback for Nebraska. In his sophomore season, he went 12-1 and led Nebraska to a #3 postseason ranking.
In his junior season, he led the team to a 10-2 record with an Alomo Bowl victory vs. Northwestern.
In his senior season in 2001, he did not win the Big 12 or the Big 12 North, but won the Heisman. Nebraska was then invited to the National Championship, which was looked at as very controversial.
He lost to Miami (FL) in his last game as a Husker. He was drafted by the Rams as a Wide Reciever, but after suffering an injury, he was released.
He later quit the NFL and went to play in Canada.
Fianlly! An NFL player on this list! Carson Palmer was the USC quarterback for the 1999-2002 seasons, where he had three straight mediocre years, before breaking out in 2002.
Pete Caroll was hired as the USC head coach and was able to highlight Palmer's ability.
USC went 11-2 and beat Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Palmer won the Heisman Trophy this year. After his career at USC, he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He did not play a snap in his rookie season, but after that year, the team was his.
In his first full year as a starter, he took the Bengals to an 11-5 record and a division title, their first since 1990.
After his great regular season, his team took a turn for the worse in the playoffs. He was injured seriously in their first game vs. division rival Pittsburhg. The team lost. He came back for the next season, but his team only managed an 8-8 record.
The next year, the Bengals went 7-9. This past season, he was injured in Week Four and was placed on IR after Week Five. He and his coach Marvin Luise are said to be on the hotseat this upcoming season.
Jason White was the Oklahoma quarterback from 1999-2004. White redshirted his first season, and did not play in his official freshman season.
He was excited for his first starting season in 2001, until he tore his ACL and was out for the season. Misfortune struck again when he tore the same ligament on his other knee before the next season.
He finally got his chance to start in 2003, and he took advantage of it.
He threw for 40 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. He was named the Heisman trophy winner after leading his team to an undefeated regular season.
His postseason went sour when Oklahoma went to the title game, depite loosing the Big XII Championship, and got it handed to him by LSU. He was a finalist for the next years heisman but did not win.
Even though he had a great college career, he was not selected in the upcoming draft. He was offered a contract by the Titan but chose to quit the NFL because of weak knees. He hopes to coach one day.
Matt Leinart had the task of proceeding Carson Palmer as the USC quarterback. Needless to say, he lived up to the task. In 2003, he beat out future Kansas City Chief Matt Cassel for the starting position.
He led his team to an 11-1 record, but was not invited to the Championship game. Instead, he went to the Rose Bowl and tore apart a great Michigan defense, being named MVP.
In 2004, he stepped up his game. He took his team to an undefeated record and was invited to the Heisman ceremony in New York. He took home the trophy that evening, and USC was invited to the National Championship Game.
In this game, he troused Oklahoma and was named the MVP. The next sason,he led his team to another undefeated season. His teemmate, running back Reggie Bush, won the Heisman.
USC lost to a Vince Young led Texas in the National Championship. The two battled again later that year when they were the top two QB's in the draft. Young eventually edged out Leinart and was taken third by the Titans.
Leinart fell all the way to 11 to the Arizona Cardinals. He started one season before being replace by Kurt Wrner, who led the Cards to the Super Bowl this past season. Leinart remains the quarterback for the future.
Winning the Heisman has not proven to mean anything for the future. College player's that win this award have not proven to be as special in the NFL, but, are the tides turning?
The Heisman winners are getting younger every year. With the evolution of the Wildcat Formation in the NFL, athletic quarterbacks will finally start having a bigger impact.
2007's winner Tim Tebow is a great example of this. Also, with College offenses becoming more pro-like, talented quarterbacks like Sam Braford will be accoustumed to their future playbooks.
Hopefully we will finally get to see these outstanding College players continue their careers in the NFL.
Thanks for Reading!