The Heisman Trophy: A Brief History

college football's highest honor

Standing 13.5” tall and weighing in at a hefty 25 lbs., the iconic Heisman Trophy is unquestionably the most prestigious award in college sports.

The big bronze trophy easily stiff-arms all other potential choices to be the focus of today’s blog.

Tonight’s 83rd annual award ceremony will feature sterling quarterbacks Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Lamar Jackson (the 2016 Heisman winner) of Louisville as well as a mercurial talent at running back Bryce Love of Stanford.

A Brief Heisman Trophy History

Every December since 1935, the Heisman Trust in New York City awards the beautiful bronze trophy to “the nation’s most outstanding football player whose performance best exhibits the finest of excellence with integrity.”

Votes from 870 sports journalists, geographically located in six sections across the United States, plus previous Heisman Trophy winners and one collective vote from ESPN sports fans, are submitted to the Deloitte accounting firm. There the ballots are tabulated and governed by the Heisman Trust.

The annual winner is ceremoniously selected in New York City before a national television audience on ESPN.

Quarterbacks and running backs have dominated the Heisman Trophy selection process over the years. No primary defensive player has ever won the coveted trophy, although Michigan’s multi-talented Charles Woodson won the prize in 1997 as a game-changing defensive back, kick returner and punt returner.

Alabama’s bruising RB Derrick Henry won the award in 2015, while Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Florida State’s Jameis Winston, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, all exciting, dual threat quarterbacks, have been the other most recent recipients of the venerated award.

Current NFL stars Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers QB), Mark Ingram, Jr. (New Orleans Saints RB) and Sam Bradford (St.Louis Rams QB) received the honor in 2010, 2009 and 2008 respectively.

OSU’s Archie Griffin Only Two Time Winner

Ohio State University’s Archie Griffin is the only two time winner (1974 and 1975) of the Heisman Trophy. Florida’s Tim Tebow became the first sophomore winner back in 2007, and Winston (2013) and Manziel (2012) emerged as the first freshmen.

In addition, Ohio State University and the University of Notre Dame have witnessed seven winners each from their universities, while USC is the only NCAA school to have its Heisman winner, Reggie Bush in 2005, vacated for accepting improper benefits. Despite its rich football history, Alabama’s only Heisman winner has been Ingram.

What originally began as a great idea by former Auburn, Clemson and UPenn Coach John W. Heisman in 1935 has transformed into college athletics’ most celebrated acknowledgement.

Heisman Trophy winners form college football’s most famous and well-respected fraternity. These players will always be recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments.

Just like the famed Heisman Trophy pose, every college football player would stiff-arm and side-step all would-be competitors to carry home college football’s most prestigious annual award.

And, later this evening, sports fans will find out the name of that deserving college football player.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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