The Heisman Trophy is one of the highest individual awards in college football, and has been awarded 75 times since its creation in 1935. It includes 74 individual winners and one two-time winner, Ohio State's Archie Griffin.
The award is given annually to the most outstanding college football player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and is awarded by The Heisman Trust at an annual gala ceremony at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City.
In terms of balloting, the fifty states of the U.S. are split into six regions, 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 points across all ballots wins the Heisman Trophy.
In the following slides, you will see 10 of the greatest collegiate Heisman trophy winners of all time.
Harmon played college football at Michigan from 1938-1940. He made his name as a tailback and also excelled as a kicker.
He lead the nation in scoring 1939 and 1940 (a feat that remains unmatched). In his three years at Michigan he scored 33 touchdowns.
Harmon rushed for 2,134 yards, completed 100 passes for 1,304 yards and 16 touchdowns as well as scoring 237 points. He played almost every minute of his entire collegiate career.
In his final football game against Ohio State, Harmon led Michigan to a 40-0 victory. Harmon scored three rushing touchdowns, two passing and four extra points as well as intercepting three passes. He also punted three times for an average of 50 yards.
Davis scored a then-record 59 touchdowns. He still holds the all-time record for most yards averaged per carry in a season, with 11.5 yards in 1945.
Davis was a unanimous three-time All-America halfback and enjoyed three unbeaten season.
He averaged 8.3 yards per carry throughout his career and 11.5 yards in 1945—both records that still stand today.
Walker played running back, place kicker and also threw and caught passes, punted and returned kicks.
For three years he was an All-American, where in 35 games he scored 303 points on 40 touchdowns, with 60 extra points.
Walker gained over 3,500 yards running and passing. He led his team to the Cotton Bowl in both 1948 and 1949.
In 2007 he was ranked No. 4 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 players in college football history
Nicknamed the “Golden Boy,” Hornung was highly versatile, and was a quarterback who could run, pass, block and tackle.
In 1956 he led his team offensively in passing, rushing, scoring, kickoff and punt returns and punting.
Many consider him the greatest all-around football player in Notre Dame history.
He is the only player from a losing team (2-8) to ever win the Heisman Trophy.
Ernie Davis was a two-time first team All-American and the first African-American athlete to win the Heisman trophy. For three seasons Davis led the Syracuse Orangemen in rushing.
He broke Jim Brown’s records in rushing and total yards with 3,414, scoring 220 points and 35 touchdowns.
As a sophomore he led Syracuse to the NCAA National Championship, capping an undefeated season.
In his junior year he set a record of 7.8 yards per carry and rushed for 100 yards in six of nine games.
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Griffin is the only collegiate player to win the Heisman Trophy twice. He’s also the only back to lead the Big Ten Conference in rushing for three straight years.
Overall, Griffin rushed for 5,589 yards on 924 carries in four seasons (72’-75’), then an NCAA record. He also had 6,589 all-purpose yards and scored 26 touchdowns.
Over his four-year collegiate career, Griffin rushed for at least 100 yards in 34 games, including an NCAA record 31 consecutive games.
He is only one of two players in collegiate football history to start four Rose Bowl games.
In a tremendous four-year career at Pittsburgh, Dorsett set many NCAA records.
Most yards gained, most seasons gaining 1,000 yards, most seasons gaining 1,500 yards, most rushes, most yards rushing, most yards gained in a season.
He rushed for 1,948 yards his freshman year which gave him a four-year total of 6,082. He led his team to a National Championship in the Sugar Bowl.
Dorsett won the Heisman in a landslide by an overwhelming 701-73 margin in first place votes.
Walker was a three-time All-American. He amassed an unbelievable 5,097 yards rushing (an NCAA record for yards rushing in three seasons).
He is the only player in NCAA history to finish in the top three in Heisman voting every season he played football.
He led the Georgia Bulldogs to a National Championship and three-year record of 32-2. He is commonly considered one of the greatest players in college football history.
Flutie played football at Boston College, the ONLY Division 1-A school to recruit him.
Flutie’s career at Boston College saw him become the all-time NCAA offensive leader in the game.
He gained national attention when, with six seconds left on the last play of the game vs. Miami, Flutie threw up to what is referred to as a “Hail Mary" pass to Gerard Phelan, giving BC a 47-45 win.
When Flutie left BC, he was the NCAA’s all-time passing yardage leader with 10,579 yards and a consensus All-American.
Flutie went on to decisively win the Heisman trophy with 591 more first place points then runner-up, Keith Byars.
During his first two years Sanders backed up All-American Thurman Thomas. In 1987 he led the nation in kickoff return yards.
1988, which has been called “The Greatest Season” in college football history, Sanders led the nation by averaging 7.6 yards per carry and over 200 yards per game including rushing for over 300 yards in four games.
He set college football season records with 2,628 yards rushing, 3,248 total yards, 234 points, 39 touchdowns of which 37 were rushing (also a record), five consecutive 200-yard games, scored at least two touchdowns in 11 consecutive games and nine times he scored at least three touchdowns.
He also ran for 222 yards and scored five touchdowns in his three quarters of action in the Holiday Bowl (a game that was not included in his season stats).