Jameis Winston Far from a Lock for Another Heisman Trophy
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston captured the Heisman Trophy in a landslide this season, but even though he will clearly be the front-runner to win the bronze again in 2014, history suggests that the redshirt freshman is not going to join Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only two-time recipients of the award.
Since Griffin pulled off the incredible feat in 1974-75, eight Heisman winners have returned to school after putting the most prestigious honor in the game on their mantle—not one of them has been able to repeat. Most were the odds-on favorite to do it a second time, but this slideshow highlights the myriad reasons why it is indeed the rarest of accomplishments in college football.
One of them, 2007 winner Tim Tebow, actually had two chances to team up with Griffin in the most exclusive of fraternities, but the Florida quarterback came up short in both '08 and '09.
Winston is as good a bet as any to break the mold and collect a second Stiffarm, as the 'Noles aren't going to lose much from their explosive offense due to graduation and/or early entry into the NFL draft. It's possible that the 6'4", 228-pounder can improve—he won't even turn 20 years old until Jan. 6—on the 3,820 passing yards and 38 touchdown passes he accounted for in 2013, plus there is a line of 4- and 5-star signees in Tallahassee waiting to take the reins from their soon-to-be-departed teammates.
Nevertheless, from Oklahoma running back Billy Sims in 1978 to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel just this past season, a Heisman Trophy-winning campaign is a tough act to follow.
Oklahoma RB Billy Sims
Rushing for 1,762 yards and 20 touchdowns, Sims won the Heisman Trophy in 1978 despite getting fewer first-place votes (151) than the runner-up, Penn State senior quarterback Chuck Fusina (162).
Sims returned to Norman in 1979 and in fact scored more TDs (22) as a senior than he had during his Heisman-winning junior year, but his 1,506 rushing yards were a significant dropoff and his yards-per-carry clip dipped from 7.6 to 6.7. He finished a distant second in the voting to USC running back Charles White, who compiled 2,050 yards on the ground for the Trojans.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 1980 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions, Sims topped the 1,000-yard mark three times in the Motor City before injuries ended a potentially brilliant pro career at the age of 29.
BYU QB Ty Detmer
Throwing for 5,188 yards and 41 touchdowns, Detmer won the Heisman Trophy in 1990 ahead of Notre Dame junior receiver Raghib Ismail even though he dubiously led the nation in interceptions (28).
Detmer came back to Provo in 1991 and managed to improve his efficiency rating (155.9 to 168.5) and yards per attempt (9.2 to 10.0), plus his INTs dropped to 12, but his 4,031 passing yards and 35 TD passes paled in comparison to the year before. He wasn't a major factor in the voting since Michigan junior receiver Desmond Howard ran away with the award, finishing third behind Howard and Florida State senior quarterback Casey Weldon.
A ninth-round pick in the 1992 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers, Detmer topped out at 2,911 passing yards and 15 scoring strikes in 11 starts with the Philadelphia Eagles in '96.
Oklahoma QB Jason White
Throwing for 3,846 yards and 40 touchdowns, White won the Heisman Trophy in 2003 by a thin margin over Pittsburgh sophomore receiver Larry Fitzgerald, in part because the Sooners finished 12-2 and No. 3 in the country while the unranked Panthers went 8-5.
White stuck around Norman in 2004, upped his completion percentage from 61.6 to 65.4 and cut his interceptions from 10 to nine, but his yards passing (3,205) and TD throws (35) were a far cry from what he had done the year before. Sharing the spotlight with another budding OU star, freshman running back Adrian Peterson, the two teammates ended up comfortably behind USC quarterback Matt Leinart—Peterson was second, White third.
Undrafted altogether by the NFL, White eventually signed with the Tennessee Titans in 2005 as a free agent but walked away from the game of football shortly thereafter due to chronic knee problems.
USC QB Matt Leinart
Throwing for 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns, Leinart won the Heisman Trophy in 2004 over the aforementioned Peterson and White despite a rating (156.5) that was the lowest of his three-year stint as the starter for the Trojans.
Leinart hung around L.A. in 2005—Ballroom Dancing was his only class—and racked up more completions (283), attempts (431) and yards passing (3,815) than ever before, although he accounted for fewer TD tosses (28) and more interceptions (eight) than he had the previous campaign (six). Junior running back Reggie Bush emerged as the true difference-maker for Southern California and won the honor, with Texas quarterback Vince Young finishing second and Leinart third.
A first-round pick (No. 10 overall) in the 2006 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals, Leinart ultimately disappointed in the desert and is currently gone from the league at the age of 30.
Florida QB Tim Tebow
Throwing for 3,286 yards and 32 touchdowns, Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 over Arkansas junior running back Darren McFadden, helped by the fact that he added another 895 yards and 23 TDs as a rusher.
Tebow headed back to Gainesville in 2008—he won the award as a true sophomore and wasn't far enough removed from high school to turn pro—and saw his statistics take a hit across the board, as he passed for 2,746 yards and 30 TDs while rushing for 673 yards and 12 scores. He wound up third behind Oklahoma sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford and Texas junior quarterback Colt McCoy.
Still a collegian in 2009, Tebow's efficiency rating (164.2) and total touchdowns (35) were the lowest of his three-year run as the starter for the Gators. He couldn't do any better than fifth this time, as Alabama sophomore running back Mark Ingram, Stanford senior running back Toby Gerhart, McCoy and Nebraska senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh all outdistanced him in the voting.
A first-round pick (No. 25 overall) in the 2010 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos, Tebow won a magical playoff game in Mile High as a second-year pro but was traded to the New York Jets the following offseason, and this year he was cut by the New England Patriots after the preseason.
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
Throwing for 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns, Bradford won the Heisman Trophy in 2008 in a tight race with both McCoy and Tebow, with Tebow actually garnering more first-place votes (309) than Bradford (300).
Bradford laced up his spikes in Norman once again in 2009, but injuries limited him to just 562 passing yards and two TDs before season-ending shoulder surgery. Needless to say, he was nowhere to be found in the tally when Ingram took home the trophy.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams, Bradford has been hit and miss so far as a pro, starting 49 of a possible 63 games and putting together a pedestrian career passer rating of 79.3—he tore the ACL in his left knee Oct. 20 and is now on injured reserve.
Alabama RB Mark Ingram
Rushing for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns, Ingram won the Heisman Trophy in 2009 in what was the closest vote in the history of the award, with Gerhart finishing second despite having more yards (1,871) and TDs (28) on the ground.
Ingram, like Tebow, two years out of high school and unable to turn pro, found his way back to Tuscaloosa in 2010 and saw his rushing total cut in half (875 yards). Maybe the second-best runner on his own team, as sophomore Trent Richardson averaged 6.3 yards per attempt, he didn't crack the top 10 in the voting—Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was handed the statue in a runaway.
A first-round pick (No. 28 overall) in the 2011 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints, Ingram has yet to distinguish himself in the Crescent City and failed to threaten the 1,000-yard plateau in three seasons.
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Throwing for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns and also rushing for 1,410 yards and 21 scores, Manziel won the Heisman Trophy in 2012—the first freshman to do it—by a safe gap over Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o.
Manziel took college football's most coveted honor to new social-media heights before jetting back to College Station in 2013, and while his scoring passes (32), completion percentage (68.0 to 69.1) and yards per attempt (8.5 to 9.9) all improved, his rushing numbers (686 yards, eight TDs) were slashed. Voters perhaps suffered from Johnny Football fatigue and placed him fifth behind Winston, Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch and Boston College running back Andre Williams.
While he technically has two more years of eligibility remaining, Manziel is expected to declare for the NFL draft after the Chick-fil-A Bowl and will likely be a first-round pick come May.