Winners of the Heisman and What It Represents

Most Outstanding College Football Players Since 1935

American football player throwing the ball during a match
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The Heisman Trophy, one of the most recognizable awards in all American sports, has been given each year since 1935 to the “most outstanding college football player” in the country. 

The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work, according to the Heisman Trophy Trust, the organization that awards the trophy each year. Winners are chosen by a panel including 870 media voters, all former living Heisman winners and, beginning in 1999, the public, whose collective choice is given one vote. 

Heisman Winners

Year Winner Position University
1935 Jay Berwanger RB Chicago
1936 Larry Kelley End Yale
1937 Clint Frank QB Yale
1938 Davey O'Brien QB TCU
1939 Nile Kinnick RB Iowa
1940 Tom Harmon RB Michigan
1941 Bruce Smith RB Minnesota
1942 Frank Sinkwich RB Georgia
1943 Angelo Bertelli QB Notre Dame
1944 Les Horvath QB Ohio State
1945 Doc Blanchard FB Army
1946 Glenn Davis RB Army
1947 John Lujack QB Notre Dame
1948 Doak Walker RB Southern Methodist
1949 Leon Hart End Notre Dame
1950 Vic Janowicz RB Ohio State
1951 Dick Kazmaier RB Princeton
1952 Billy Vessels RB Oklahoma
1953 John Lattner RB Notre Dame
1954 Alan Ameche FB Wisconsin
1955 Howard Cassady RB Ohio State
1956 Paul Hornung QB Notre Dame
1957 John David Crow RB Texas A&M
1958 Pete Dawkins RB Army
1959 Billy Cannon RB Louisiana State
1960 Joe Bellino RB Navy
1961 Ernie Davis RB Syracuse
1962 Terry Baker QB Oregon State
1963 Roger Staubach QB Navy
1964 John Huarte QB Notre Dame
1965 Mike Garrett RB USC
1966 Steve Spurrier QB Florida
1967 Gary Beban QB UCLA
1968 O.J. Simpson RB USC
1969 Steve Owens FB Oklahoma
1970 Jim Plunkett QB Stanford
1971 Pat Sullivan QB Auburn
1972 Johnny Rodgers RB Nebraska
1973 John Cappelletti RB Penn State
1974 Archie Griffin RB Ohio State
1975 Archie Griffin RB Ohio State
1976 Tony Dorsett RB Pittsburgh
1977 Earl Campbell RB Texas
1978 Billy Sims RB Oklahoma
1979 Charles White RB USC
1980 George Rogers RB South Carolina
1981 Marcus Allen RB USC
1982 Herschel Walker RB Georgia
1983 Mike Rozier RB Nebraska
1984 Doug Flutie QB Boston College
1985 Bo Jackson RB Auburn
1986 Vinny Testaverde QB Miami (Fla.)
1987 Tim Brown WR Notre Dame
1988 Barry Sanders RB Oklahoma State
1989 Andre Ware QB Houston
1990 Ty Detmer QB Brigham Young
1991 Desmond Howard WR Michigan
1992 Gino Torretta QB Miami (Fla.)
1993 Charlie Ward QB Florida State
1994 Rashaan Salaam RB Colorado
1995 Eddie George RB Ohio State
1996 Danny Wuerffel QB Florida
1997 Charles Woodson CB Michigan
1998 Ricky Williams RB Texas
1999 Ron Dayne RB Wisconsin
2000 Chris Weinke QB Florida State
2001 Eric Crouch QB Nebraska
2002 Carson Palmer QB USC
2003 Jason White QB Oklahoma
2004 Matt Leinart QB USC
2005 Reggie Bush RB USC
2006 Troy Smith QB Ohio State
2007 Tim Tebow QB Florida
2008 Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma
2009 Mark Ingram TB Alabama
2010 Cameron Newton QB Auburn
2011 Robert Griffin QB Baylor
2012 Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
2013 Jameis Winston QB Florida State
2014 Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
2015 Derrick Henry RB Alabama
2016 Lamar Jackson QB Louisville

Heisman History

The trophy was created by the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City. The private, social athletic club became famous for its annual awarding of the Heisman Trophy in its building in downtown Manhattan. The trophy is named after John Heisman, the club's first athletic director.

Since 2005, the award has been presented at the PlayStation Theater (formerly known as the Best Buy Theater and Nokia Theatre Times Square), a large, indoor live events venue, at the center of the Broadway Theater district in Times Square. ESPN has provided television coverage of the Heisman Trophy presentation from 1995 to the present.

The Heisman Trophy Trust

The Heisman Trophy Trust has as its charitable mission, "​To support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country." Beyond the expense of maintaining the annual presentation of the Heisman Memorial Trophy, all assets are reserved for charity. The trustees all serve pro bono.