At the beginning of the millennium, there were 25 bowls played each year. Today, there are 80 bowls played every year in college football. In the last 20 years, college football has blossomed into something amazing. Heisman Trophy winners came from many positions but we also saw some of the youngest players in history win the award.
Since 2000, approximately 47 million different people attend college football games per year. This makes it the second most popular sport to attend in the U.S.
In the early 2000s, LSU and Florida proved to be the teams to beat. Both teams battled for control of the SEC year after year with each team having a lot of success. In spite of their success, the USC Trojans stood out heavily in this era.
They allegedly gave recruits benefits that were outside of the NCAA guidelines. Among them is Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. Bush reportedly had been given thousands of dollars to attend USC. In fact, reportedly Bush’s parents’ home was even paid off in this attempt to have him join the school too.
At the conclusion of the scandal, his Trophy was taken and the Heisman was deemed vacant for the year. Although, we will still include him on our list. Also, USC had to vacate its wins from 2004 and 2005, including one National Championship.
The conference to beat since 2000 has been undoubtedly the SEC. 11 out of the last 20 National Champions have been from the SEC. This includes 10 of the last 14.
Since 2009, Alabama has completely taken over college football. They have a cumulative record of 123-15, won five SEC Championships, and four NCAA Championships. Also, 28 of their players have gone on to become first-round picks in the NFL Draft!
- Year: 2001
- Heisman Voting: 27.75% of votes
Due to his impressive 2001-2002 season, Eric Crouch became the third of the University of Nebraska’s Heisman Trophy winners.
That season he passed for 1,510 yards and seven touchdowns, but his deadliness came from his legs. Crouch scrambled for another 1,115 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.
He relied mostly on The Option, which involves a set of plays that revolve around the Quarterback deciding if he should run or pass. The QB might also toss it to a running back at the start of the play or after a play begins, with even wide-outs getting opportunities to run. It’s truly a deadly thing and Crouch mastered it.
Out of all the 2000 to 2019 Heisman winners, he is the only one to use this as a primary play type.
Crouch propelled Nebraska to an 11-2 overall record. They even defeated then-number two-ranked Oklahoma during the regular season en route to finishing as the eighth-ranked team.
He finished his college career with 32 school records. Crouch is also one of three players in NCAA history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards in a career.
Following college, he played professional football for several organizations. From 2002-2011, he played for numerous teams in the NFL, CFL, AAFL, and the UFL. He then retired and started his own company that makes recreation equipment.
Today, Crouch is also a coach at Midland University.
Mark Ingram Jr.
- Year: 2009
- Heisman Voting: 46.99% of votes
Mark Ingram Jr. helped kickstart the Alabama Crimson Tide dynasty and became their first-ever Heisman winner in 2009. Think of that for a second. Out of all the major teams the Crimson Tide is known for, including major players like Joe Namath and Bart Starr, Alabama’s first Heisman winner did not occur until 2009.
Ingram surely deserved it too, as he rushed for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards-per-carry. He also picked up an additional 334 yards and three more touchdowns receiving.
Alabama went a perfect 14-0 in 2009 and won the SEC Championship in addition to the National Championship They did all of this despite having the toughest schedule of all Division-I teams in the NCAA that year.
Several Heisman Trophy winners and media types actually voted for Stanford’s Toby Gerhart that year. In fact, Gerhart received 222 first-place votes while Mark received 227. This is the closest Heisman finish in history.
Ingram would play one more season in college before the Saints took him as the 28th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Since being drafted, Ingram has been quite successful in the NFL. With the Saints and Ravens, he has made it to three Pro Bowls as of this writing.
His NFL career totals sit at 7,025 rushing yards and 60 rushing touchdowns. He also has 1,845 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. The best part is, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
He has made it to two Pro Bowls in the last three years and he’s thrived for the Ravens while playing with another Heisman winner who you will see later on this list.
- Year: 2004
- Heisman Voting: 47.85% of votes
Matt Lienart was the second Heisman winner from USC in three years after winning the award in 2004.
This came after a dominating year that saw him pass for 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions. Although their season was vacated, he led the Trojans to a 13-0 record that resulted in a National Championship that season too.
In addition to winning the Heisman, he also won the Manning Award, Walter Camp Award, and Archie Griffin Award. He was also part of the First-Team All-American team. Leinart was also named the Quarterback of the year as well as the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year.
Leinart would play one more season in college before turning pro. He was a three-time Heisman finalist, finishing sixth in 2003 and third and 2005. He ended his career with 10,693 passing yards and 99 passing touchdowns. This puts his college numbers up with the most elite players in college football history.
After college, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. He played in the NFL until 2013, bouncing around the league for 4 different teams. He never seemed to find the same success in the NFL that he saw in college, but he has managed to use his media skills since retirement.
Matt signed with the Pac-12 Network as an analyst in 2014 while also working as a guest analyst for Barstool Sports. He later became a commentator for Fox Sports. Finally, he was honored for his major college football success in 2017 when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Year: 2002
- Heisman Voting: 48.01% of votes
Carson Palmer became the fifth of the USC Trojans’ Heisman Trophy winners in 2002.
Palmer passed for 3,942 yards and 33 touchdowns while maintaining a 63.2 passing percentage. The Trojans went 11-2 and steamrolled past their last eight opponents en route to an Orange Bowl victory over number three-ranked Iowa.
Many felt that this USC team should have been considered National Champions over Ohio State or Miami that year. This was due to the Hurricanes losing to the Buckeyes in the “official” National Championship game. Yet USC didn’t see a title rank.
Palmer was also a consensus All-American and won numerous other awards in addition to the Heisman. Many felt he was one of the most talented Heisman Trophy winners at the Quarterback position in recent years. This had pro scouts drooling.
As a result, Palmer was selected number one overall in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played for the Bengals from 2004 to 2010 before he was traded to the Oakland Raiders. He’d play there for a few seasons to mediocre results before landing in Arizona with the Cardinals. It was here that he had a resurgence in 2012. In fact, he reached 4,000 passing yards 4 out of 6 seasons.
In total, Palmer is a three-time Pro-Bowler and that led the league in passing touchdowns in 2005. Palmer threw for 46,247 yards and 294 touchdowns in his NFL career. This is on top of a career 87.9 Passer Rating.
Today, he still holds numerous franchise records for the Bengals and Cardinals.
His college number (3) is now retired at USC. It is likely that he’ll go into the College and possibly Pro Football Hall of Fames eventually.
- Year: 2003
- Heisman Voting: 53.54% of votes
In 2003, Jason White took home the Heisman Trophy with the Oklahoma Sooners in his fifth season of eligibility.
He originally came to Oklahoma in 1999 but hurt his ankle before the season began. In 2000, he was a backup the entire season and didn’t get a lot of playing time. He would then miss the next two seasons after tearing his ACL in both knees.
In 2003, he finally returned for good and was able to play his first complete season. Due to the previous years of injury, he had to return as a Sixth Year Senior. White passed for 3,846 yards and 40 touchdowns and led the Sooners to a terrific season.
The Sooners went 12-2 and finished as the third-best team in the country. Yet he soon made history.
In 2004, White was granted a sixth year of eligibility due to his injuries. He had another great season, passing for 3,205 yards and 35 touchdowns while finishing third in Heisman voting.
Between the two seasons, he took home a lot of hardware. He even played in two BCS National Championship games!
White won the Davey O’Brien Award twice, the Maxwell Award, and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He was also named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year twice, Sporting News Player of the Year, and the AP Player of the Year.
His age and especially the injuries made NFL teams unwilling to draft him. It took forever for a team to even offer him a tryout, but he’d get one with the Tennessee Titans, who took him on for 2 years. White never saw the field. However, he did not let this stop him from having a successful life. He now owns his own company.
- Year: 2000
- Heisman Voting: 58.86% of votes
Chris Weinke kicked off the millennium in style as he became the oldest player to win the Heisman Trophy at 28-years-old. Chris was a top high school football recruit in 1990, with 70 Division-1 schools vying for him. He chose Florida State University at the time, but Weinke was also a gifted baseball player too. Shockingly, he was drafted to play pro baseball and chose this over college football.
Although he only played in the minors, he was close to being called up to the majors before he decided to leave baseball behind. He took the FSU scholarship after the 1996 baseball season. He was 25 years old at the time of the jump. Weinke was the backup his first season, then started in his last three seasons. Weinke went 32-3 in his college career.
The year 2000 was his best year, as Wienke passed for 4,167 yards and 33 touchdowns to lead the Seminoles to one of their best seasons of all-time. They went 11-2, won the ACC Championship, and finished as the fifth-best team in the country.
Chris finished his college career with 9,839 and 79 touchdowns, which were school records at the time.
Following college, he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft. He was a career backup with the Panthers and 49ers before retiring in 2007. He still holds a Panthers franchise record for completions in a game with 34, however.
After his playing career, Weinke became a coach. In 2017, he was a coach for the Crimson Tide, who won the NCAA Championship that year. He then became the Tennessee Volunteers Running Back coach in 2018, then their Quarterback coach in 2019. He remains with the Vols to this day.
Robert Griffin III
- Year: 2011
- Heisman Voting: 60.66% of votes
Robert Griffin III has always been notable for his running ability. It’s not surprising, because he was a high school track star. In fact, he broke state records in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles. His 300-meter hurdles time of 35.33 seconds was only 1/100th away from tying the national high school record at the time. He chose football over a possible Olympic career, however.
In 2011, out of all the Heisman Trophy winners that ever was, Robert Griffin III became the first Baylor Bear to snag the award.
He passed for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns while maintaining a 72.4 completion percentage. He also rushed for 699 yards and 10 more touchdowns. These numbers pushed his career totals to outstanding marks.
The Bears went 10-3 in 2011 and had one of their best seasons in ages. This included beating Washington in the Alamo Bowl.
Griffin also won the Davey O’Brien Award, and the Manning award in addition to winning the Heisman. He was also named a Consensus All-American, Sporting News Player of the Year, and AP Player of the Year.
RGIII finished with 10,366 yards and 78 career touchdowns in college. Meanwhile, his career rushing total was 2,254 yards and 33 touchdowns.
He was then drafted into the NFL by the Washington Redskins. Early in his NFL career, he had a lot of success, which included winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in addition to being named a Pro Bowler. Sadly, it seems after an injury, Robert never seemed to mentally be back and he has since bounced around the league.
As of today, his NFL stats rest at 9,229 passing yards and 43 passing touchdowns. He is currently a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
- Year: 2008
- Heisman Voting: 62.13% of votes
Sam Bradford threw and ran for a total of 53 touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy for the Sooners in 2008. Oklahoma is known for producing some of the best Heisman Trophy winners ever, even some that should have won. Bradford was only the second Sophomore to win the award, which he more than deserved.
He passed for 4,720 yards and 48 touchdowns. On the ground, he tallied five more touchdowns to break the NCAA record for most total touchdowns in a season.
However, due to his age and eligibility, he played one more year in college. Sadly, he injured his shoulder in the first game of the season and would only make three total appearances that year.
In 31 career games in college, he completed 604 passes for 8,403 yards and 88 touchdowns. He did this all while only throwing 16 career interceptions and maintaining a completion percentage of 67.6%, which is among the best in school history.
Bradford was then taken as the number one overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. In his rookie season, he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and was part of the Pro Football Writer Association (PFW) All-Rookie Team.
In spite of a good opening to his career, Bradford battled numerous injuries. From 2008 to 2018, Bradford played only 2 complete seasons. He has missed a total of 61 games of a possible 144. In fact, he played in 7 games or fewer in four seasons.
Regardless, Bradford still had some success when healthy. In 2016, he led the NFL in completion percentage and he has thrown for 103 career passing touchdowns along with 19,449 yards. He hasn’t played since November of 2018.
- Year: 2015
- Heisman Voting: 65.73% of votes
Six years after Mark Ingram helped kickstart the Alabama dynasty of Heisman Trophy winners, Derrick Henry helped keep in going.
Before winning the Heisman however, Henry was a stud in high school and quickly became one of the best high school backs of all-time. In his Senior Year, he rushed for 4,261 yards and 55 touchdowns for his high school the Yulee Hornets. He was named USA Today High School All-American and won Florida’s Mr. Football Award is 2012.
Alabama lucked out getting him for sure.
During his 2015 Heisman campaign, Henry rushed for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards-per-carry. Very few people have reached such numbers. This is the sixth most rushing yards in a single season in NCAA Division-1 history.
In 2015, he also won the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award, and Walter Camp Award. This was in addition to being named the SEC Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American.
The Crimson Tide went 14-1 and captured the SEC Championship and the NCAA Championship. They beat six ranked teams along the way, including number one ranked Clemson in the championship game.
After college, he was selected in the second round by the Tenessee Titans in the 2016 NFL Draft. Henry is still playing with the Titans today as of this writing. It seems 2019 was his breakout year as he led the league in rushing yards and was tied for the most touchdowns in the league. Henry was also named to his first Pro Bowl.
In 2018, he even tied with Tony Dorsett for the longest rushing touchdown in NFL history, at 99 yards. It is quite likely Henry will continue to have impressive years ahead.
- Year: 2007
- Heisman Voting: 70.52% of votes
Tim Tebow quickly proved that he was one of the greatest college football players of all-time with the University of Florida. He also made history as the first to win the Heisman Trophy as a true Sophomore in 2007.
In 13 games his Sophomore Year, Tim passed for 3,286 yards and 32 touchdowns while rushing for 895 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Florida Gators went 9-4 in 2007 and finished as the 13th best team in the nation. Yet Tebow was only getting started.
He would be a Heisman finalist the next two seasons, placing third and fifth respectfully.
In the 2008-2009 Season, he helped the Gators win yet another National Championship and led them to a Sugar Bowl win in the 2009-2010 Season. Tebow is considered by many to be one of the greatest football players to ever live due to his wild success.
In his college career, he became a 2-time SEC Player of the Year, 2-time Maxwell Award winner, AP Player of the Year, and a Davey O’Brien Award winner. He was named a 3-time First-Team ALL-SEC selection and a 2-time First Team All-American selection.
His career totals in college were 9,285 passing yards and 88 passing touchdowns, along with 2,947 rushing yards and 57 career rushing touchdowns.
Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the NFL Draft. He played for four different teams in his NFL career before pursuing a career in baseball and broadcasting.
Today Tebow plays minor league baseball for a New York Mets affiliate team and is an analyst for ESPN. He is also an author who has published a few books. Tebow also continues to work with charities and in ministry. He’s basically the perfect human specimen and we all know it.
- Year: 2012
- Heisman Voting: 72.88% of votes
Johnny Manziel made history when he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012. He passed for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 759 yards and another nine touchdowns.
As the second of the Texas A&M Aggies’ Heisman Trophy winners, he led them to some relatively good success. They went 11-2 and won the Cotton Bowl, finishing as the fifth-best team in the nation. They also beat number one ranked Alabama during the regular season, as Manziel gave the Crimson Tide defense fits!
Due to NFL rules regarding age or status coming out, Manziel had to play at least one more season in college before he could jump to the pros. He had another terrific season and finished fifth in the Heisman race. “Johnny Football” wrapped up his brief college career with 7,820 passing yards and 63 touchdowns. At the same time, he also finished with 2,169 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns.
This is a 2-year stint where he totaled 9,989 yards & 93 TDs; among the best in college football history.
After college, he was drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played two seasons with the Browns before he had some, shall we say “struggles.” He’d later return to the game of football for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats & Montreal Alouettes of the CFL in 2018 as well as the newly developed Alliance of American Football (AAF) league. He’d jump to their Memphis Express team where he was barely even on the field.
Manziel holds numerous college records and is surely one of the best college players ever. Yet when it comes to Heisman Trophy winners, he’ll always hold a special place among them. What he did in college was phenomenal.
- Year: 2018
- Heisman Voting: 77.75% of votes
Kyler Murray is the seventh of the University of Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winners. To win it in 2018, he passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and he rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Sooners went 12-2, won a Big 12 Championship, and finished as the fourth-best team in the nation.
Murray had an interesting path to success in college. He began his career at Texas A&M in 2015 but only played one season there before transferring to Oklahoma. Due to transfer rules, he had to sit out in 2016. In 2017, he was the backup to Heisman winner Baker Mayfield and didn’t start an entire season until 2018.
After college, it wasn’t smooth for Murray either. In fact, there were two separate storylines. The first one was whether or not Murray would play in the NFL. He was a great baseball player while in college and there were talks that he might play in the MLB instead of the NFL.
Then there was the storyline about his height. Scouts were concerned that his listed 5’10 height was incorrect and that Murray was maybe even shorter than he was listed. In probably the most anticipated measurement in NFL Draft history, he measured at 5’10 1/8-inches.
He was then taken first overall in the NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Murray is now officially the shortest quarterback to be drafted in the first round.
In his first season as a pro, Murray was great. He won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and has a bright NFL career ahead of him. It is uncertain how good he will become, but he has surely shown promise.
- Year: 2013
- Heisman Voting: 79.12% of votes
In 2013, Jameis Winston was the second freshman in a row to win the Heisman Trophy. We don’t know what it was about Heisman Trophy winners of the past mostly being Juniors and Seniors, but these new kids were hitting the mark fast!
Coming out of high school, Winston was seen as the best quarterback in the nation. During his Senior Year, he was a USA Today High School All-American. After being heavily recruited and drafted in the 15th round of the MLB Draft, he decided to play college football at Florida State University.
After redshirting his first year and backing up future NFL quarterback E.J. Manuel, it was “The Jameis Winston” show during his first year as a starter.
He passed for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns and rushed for another 219 yards and four touchdowns.
The Seminoles went a perfect 14-0 that year en route to an ACC Championship as well as a National Championship. They were nearly unmatched that season as their closest regular-season game was won by a 14-point margin.
Winson played one more season in college that saw him finish sixth in the Heisman race. His numbers weren’t bad but there were concerns regarding his decision-making on the field as well as off-the-field problems.
Still, he was drafted as the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first year, he was named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year and made it to the Pro Bowl.
Although he has been interception prone, Winston has put up solid numbers in the NFL. He has passed for 4,000+ yards three times in his career. In 2019, he even led the league in passing with 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns.
- Year: 2016
- Heisman Voting: 79.50% of votes
Lamar Jackson dazzled the nation in 2016 when he used his dual-threat skills to speed past the competition and won the Heisman Trophy in 2016.
The Sophomore for Louisville passed for 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns en route to becoming Louisville’s first Heisman winner. He also rushed for 1,601 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards-per-carry.
In addition to the Heisman, he won the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and was named a Consensus All-American. Jackson was also named the AP Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, and ACC Player of the Year.
Jackson played won more season in college and finished third in Heisman voting before declaring for the NFL Draft. The Baltimore Ravens took him with the 32nd pick in 2018. It has paid off massively for the Ravens, who lucked out to get him so late.
He backed up Joe Flacco in 2018 but was able to play the last half of the season. The biggest concern for him heading into the 2019 season was if he could be a successful passer in the NFL. We knew he could do it in college, but this is the professional level obviously.
Jackson proved there was no doubt about his passing ability when he passed for 3,127 yards and led the league with 36 passing touchdowns. He also broke the single-season quarterback rushing record by rushing for 1,206 yards en route to winning the MVP Award.
He was the youngest Heisman winner at 19 years and 337 days old as well as the youngest NFL MVP winner at 23 years and 25 days old. Many believe Jackson will go down as one of the greatest NFL QBs ever, it’s not hard to see why.
- Year: 2010
- Heisman Voting: 81.55% of votes
In 2010, Cam Newton became the first Auburn Tiger since Bo Jackson to win the Heisman Trophy. Yet he was the first double-transfer to win it.
He started his career with the University of Florida in 2007. As you might be aware, this was Tim Tebow’s Florida team and that meant Newton was never going to see the field as long as Tim remained healthy. In 2008, he was suspended the entire year for theft and decided to transfer to a junior college.
In 2009, with Binn College, Newton won the NJCAA National Championship and was the top recruited quarterback that year. Several teams fought for him but Auburn managed to snag him for the 2010-2011 season.
That year he passed for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns. He led the Tigers to a perfect 14-0 season that saw them win the SEC Championship and go on to beat Oregon in the BCS National Championship game.
That year they also beat top-ranked Alabama 28-27 in the Iron Bowl, with a come from behind win.
Newton was then taken as the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. With the Panthers, he has had a lot of success. He won Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award and in 2015, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and the NFL MVP Award while leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl.
He currently holds the NFL record for most rushing touchdowns by an NFL quarterback in a career with 58. While he had a difficult last few seasons, Newton is still considered a valuable QB and could yet again prove to be a danger for defenses at any time.
- Year: 2017
- Heisman Voting: 86.00% of votes
Baker Mayfield actually began his college football career with Texas A&M. He played one relatively good season there before transferring to Oklahoma. Due to NCAA rules, he had to sit out the 2014 season but finally returned to the field in 2015.
The University of Oklahoma had seen a ton of Heisman Trophy winners before Baker Mayfield. Yet it was almost like the Heisman committee had something against the man. He finished in the top 4 Heisman candidates in both 2015 & 2016.
In 2015, he passed for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns and finished fourth in Heisman voting. In 2016, he passed for 3,965 yards and 40 touchdowns and finished third in Heisman voting.
However, he finally won the award in 2017, with no one being a close second. That season, Baker passed for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns while also rushing for 311 yards and five more touchdowns to bring home the Heisman Trophy.
Mayfield finished his college career with 1,026 completions for 14,607 yards and 131 touchdowns. His rushing totals are 1,083 yards and another 21 touchdowns. Many felt he had a lot of promise as a possible professional player, but no one expected him to kill it in interviews and the NFL combine enough to be taken number one overall.
That is exactly what happened, however. As the Cleveland Browns took him #1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft in what many felt was a risky move. It turned out to be a pretty good choice. In just two seasons for the Browns, he has helped them gain more wins than in their past 4 seasons prior. He has also passed for 7,552 yards and 49 touchdowns.
- Year: 2014
- Heisman Voting: 90.92% of votes
In 2014, Marcus Mariota became the first Polynesian & first Hawaiian to win the Heisman Trophy after leading the Oregon Ducks to a great season. He passed for 4,454 yards and 42 touchdowns while he rushed for 770 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Mariota led the Ducks to a 13-2 record, a Pac-12 Championship, and National Championship birth after taking down Florida State in the semifinals.
Their offense was on fire and their lowest-scoring game during the season was 24 points. In fact, they scored 40 or more points in 10 freakin games!
Following his college career, he was selected as the number two overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tenessee Titans. He was taken right behind another Heisman winner, Jameis Winston. This was the first time two Heisman Trophy winners were taken consecutively in the first round of the same NFL Draft.
Mariota has been a solid NFL quarterback in his first five seasons, totaling 13,207 passing yards and 76 touchdowns. He also has 1,339 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Sadly, injuries have plagued him the last few years and that led the Titans to sort of move on from him as their starter.
Over the off-season, he was signed by the Las Vegas Raiders as he looks to reboot his career. We shall see what comes of this move.
- Year: 2006
- Heisman Voting: 91.63% of votes
The Ohio State Buckeyes are certainly no stranger to Heisman Trophy winners, as they have quite a few in school history. Troy Smith was clearly the best player in 2006 and it made him a clear favorite for the Heisman.
Smith Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship and the BCS National Championship game. They finished the season 12-1 after losing the National Title to the Florida Gators.
To earn the Heisman, he passed for 2,542 yards and 30 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions. This includes 228 rushing yards and a touchdown too.
In addition to the Heisman, he won the Chic Harley Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and Archie Griffin Award. He was even named s Consensus All-American as well as the AP Player of the Year and the Sporting News Player of the Year.
Smith was technically an “athlete” coming out of High School and was not even considered for the QB position by Ohio State when he signed on. He actually returned kicks and played running back initially. After an injury to OSU QB Justin Zwick, Smith was labeled as the backup and took over for him. He remained the starter until his eligibility concluded.
In total, Smith finished his college career with 5,720 passing yards and 57 touchdowns. This is along with 1,197 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
Smith was Ohio Stae’s seventh Heisman winner and he graduated with a degree in Communications. He was then selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. He spent his professional career bouncing around from team to team in the UFL, NFL, and CFL. Sadly, he never truly reached success in the pros.
- Year: 2005
- Heisman Voting: 91.77% of votes
Regardless of all of the scandal stuff going on behind the scenes, Reggie Bush was still a great running back. After finishing fourth in Heisman voting in 2004, he rushed for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns while also catching 37 passes for 478 yards and two more touchdowns to win the Heisman Trophy.
At the time, Bush was considered to be the most versatile of the Heisman Trophy winners to date.
Reggie also won the Doak Walker Award & Walter Camp Award. This is in addition to being named a Consensus All-American for the second year in a row. More honors included being named the AP Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, and Pac-10 Offensive Player of the year.
Playing for USC, he technically won 2 BCS National Championships while he played in a third.
Although his Heisman Trophy was vacated we decided to still include him on the list because he had a terrific season and college football career.
Following his college career, Bush was taken as the second overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He had a lot of success with them including being named First-Team All-Pro in 2008 and winning Super Bowl XLIV. Bush remained a consistent threat.
In total, he played on five teams until he finally decided to retire in 2016. He finished his NFL career with 5,490 rushing yards & 36 touchdowns, 3,598 receiving yards & 18 touchdowns, along with 794 punt return yards & 4 touchdowns.
Bush was honored by the Saints in 2019 when they inducted him into their Hall of Fame. Although he may not see it, Bush clearly deserves to be in the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
- Year: 2019
- Heisman Voting: 93.80% of votes
Last and certainly not least on this Heisman series is Mr. Joe Burrow. He has the largest win margin in the history of the Heisman Trophy, which first began in 1935!!
To many, he might be one of the best Heisman Trophy winners in history. It’s not hard to see why people think this. He played for LSU and put up wild numbers in a conference known for impressive defense.
In 2019, Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns en route to having one of the best college seasons of all-time. He also had a completion percentage of 76.3% which is the highest out of all Heisman Trophy winners who played Quarterback.
Burrow led LSU to a perfect 15-0 season in which they won their first SEC Championship since 2011 as well as a National Championship. They beat seven teams ranked in the top 10 along the way!
Another interesting thing to note is that Burrow is the third-consecutive Heisman winner to be a transfer. He began his career in 2015 with Ohio State. He redshirted his freshmen year and spent the next two seasons as a backup before transferring to LSU for his final two seasons.
Burrow wrapped up his college career with 8,852 passing yards and 78 passing touchdowns with only 11 interceptions. He also had a career total of 820 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
Following his college career, he was the number one overall selection in the 2020 NFL virtual draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Time will tell with Joe Burrow’s professional career. If college is any indication, Burrow could become the greatest Quarterback ever.