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Top Heisman Non-Winners, Mistakes, & More
The greatest players to never win the Heisman, the biggest voting mistakes, and the greatest Heisman races.
5 Best Skill Players to Never
1. Tommie Frazier, QB Nebraska
Even though he missed several weeks with a blood clot in his
leg, Frazier still won 33 games and took the Huskers to three
straight national championship games with two wins and a missed
last-second field goal away from winning a third. He was one of
the greatest winners in college football history.
2. Vince Young, QB Texas
His 2006 Rose Bowl performance in the win over USC merits him
consideration among the greatest college quarterbacks of
all-time. His 2005 Rose Bowl against Michigan wasn't bad,
either. Had he stayed for his senior year, he would've been a
near lock for the 2006 Heisman even with Troy Smith having his
great season at Ohio State.
3. Anthony Carter, WR Michigan
Considering he played for the stodgy Bo Schembechler
Wolverines, Carter's touchdown numbers (37) and all-purpose
yards per play (17.4) made him one of the most explosive players
ever. The ultimate home run hitter averaged nearly a touchdown
every four catches.
4. Keith Jackson, TE Oklahoma
Arguably the greatest tight end to ever play (along with
Pitt's Mike Ditka), Jackson caught 62 passes for 1,470 yards and
14 touchdowns averaging an unbelievable 23.7 yards per catch
over his four-year career. He also ran a for 66-yard touchdown.
Remember, Oklahoma was always among the bottom nationally in
passing with its wishbone offense.
5. Peyton Manning, QB Tennessee
Despite being considered the ultimate "yeah, but" player
having never won a national title and going 0-4 against Florida,
Manning rewrote the SEC record
book as the career leader in total offense (11,020) and
passing yards (11,201) along with holding the NCAA record for lowest
interception rate (2.39%) throwing 33 in 1,381 attempts.
5 Best Non-Skill Players to
1. Hugh Green, DE Pitt
Green gave it a good run for the Heisman in 1980 as the best
defensive player in the country that season finishing second
behind George Rogers at South Carolina and just ahead of
Georgia's freshman sensation Herschel Walker. Even with teams
tying to stay away from him, Green still made 441 career tackles
to go along with 51 sacks.
2. Dick Butkus, C/LB Illinois
The premier college football linebacker of all-time
finishing with 373 career tackles Butkus was also a fantastic
center as the anchor of the Illinois team for three years.
He finished third in the 1964 Heisman race behind Notre Dame's
John Huarte and Tulsa's Jerry Rhome.
3. Deion Sanders, CB Florida State
Considered the best cover cornerback to ever play the game,
Sanders was the top defensive back of his era setting standard
for defensive back greatness. As good a corner as Sanders was, he
was just as good returning punts leading the nation in 1988
with a 15.2 yard per return average while setting the FSU record with 1,429 career
punt return yards.
4. John Hannah, G Alabama
The greatest offense alignment to ever play college football,
Hannah was the dominant figure on two great Alabama teams going
21-3 over Hannah's final seasons winning two SEC championships.
5. Tommy Nobis, LB/G Texas
As the rock on a national championship team
and "the best two-way player" Darrell Royal ever coached, Nobis
was something truly special. As a linebacker, Nobis averaged 20 tackles
per game during his career with an ability to run down any ball carrier. On
offense, he was one of the top blockers on one of the nation's most
devastating running teams. He finished seventh in the 1965 Heisman race.
5 Biggest Heisman Voting
1. 1967 UCLA QB Gary Beban over USC RB O.J. Simpson
One of the all-time blunders, Beban won for having a great 1966
and a nice career. Simpson ran for
1,543 rushing yards and
scored 16 touchdowns while beating Beban's UCLA on the way to
the national title. The voters made amends the next year by
making Simpson one of the biggest landslide winners ever.
2. 1953 Notre Dame HB Johnny Lattner over Minnesota HB Paul Giel
More of a lifetime achievement award for Lattner, he won because
he was the best all-around player on the nation's most visible
team. However, he
didn't even lead the Irish
in passing, rushing, receiving or scoring.
Giel lost by 56 points in one of the
closest battles ever. At least the Gopher star was named the UPI
Player of the Year.
3. 1975 Ohio State RB Archie Griffin over California RB Chuck
Muncie and USC RB Ricky Bell
Griffin won the Heisman as much for what he did in 1974 is
for what he did in '75. The yards were there but Pete Johnson
took up all the touchdowns rushing first 26 while Griffin scored
four times. In his biggest game of the year against Michigan,
Griffin had his only
non-100-yard day of the season. Muncie and Bell were more productive, and
Tony Dorsett and Joe Washington were even more dynamic.
4. 2001 Nebraska QB Eric Crouch over Florida QB Rex Grossman
It's this simple; had Grossman been a senior and Crouch a
sophomore the tables would have been turned in one of the bigger
landslides and Heisman history. While Crouch wasn't bad, this
was as much a lifetime achievement award as anything else.
Grossman lost by just 62 points.
A&M HB John David Crow RB over Iowa DT Alex
It wasn't like Crow was bad, it was that there weren't any skill
players to provide any competition in the Heisman battle. Crow
only played in seven games having problems early in the season
with injuries. Alex Karras was a dominant player for Iowa, but
he was a defensive tackle, not a halfback.
5 players who likely would've
won if the voting was done after the bowls
1. 2005, Vince Young, QB Texas over USC RB Reggie Bush
Bush was incredible in the Texas Rose Bowl win over USC with 275
yards of total offense, but Young completed 30 of 40 passes for 267
yards and ran 19 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns in
what many consider to be the greatest individual performance in
college football history.
2. 1995, Tommie Frazier, QB Nebraska over Ohio State RB Eddie
George was certainly worthy of the Heisman, but Frazier set the NCAA record
at the time for rushing yards
by a quarterback in a bowl game with 199 highlighted by a
75-yard gallop in the national title win over Florida. Leading
the Huskers to the title likely would've been enough to boost
Frazier over George, whose Buckeyes lost to Tennessee in the
3. 2000, Josh Heupel, QB Oklahoma over Florida State QB Chris
Weinke won one of the closest Heisman races in history beating
Heupel by just 76 points, but Heupel won the biggest prize
beating Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl for the national
title. Weinke completed 25 of 51 passes for 274 yards and two
interceptions, while Heupel completed 25 of 39 passes for 214
yards and an interception to go along with 23 rushing yards.
4. 1992, Marshall Faulk, RB San Diego State over Miami QB
No one was excited about voting for Torretta, who beat Faulk
by just 320 votes. Basically, Torretta was a senior and Faulk
was a sophomore. After Miami got pasted 34-13 by Alabama in the
Sugar Bowl, Faulk likely would've been voted the winner.
5. 1990, Rocket Ismail, WR/KR Notre Dame over BYU QB Ty Detmer
Detmer set every passing record in the book and had a
signature win over Miami early in the 1990 season, but Ismail was a
big play weapon all season long helping the Irish to the Orange
Bowl against Colorado. While Detmer flopped in a 65-14 Holiday
Bowl loss to Texas A&M, Ismail is remembered for one of the most
thrilling kick returns that wasn't in college football history
getting a would-be game-winning return called back on a phantom
clip in a 10-9 loss.
5 Best Heisman Races
The Heisman race normally wouldn't even be close if someone
ran for 2,342 yards in a season, but 1981 was not your average
year. Georgia sophomore Herschel Walker was college football's
greatest sensation and put up a good fight, but USC's Marcus
Allen was simply too dominant setting the NCAA single-season
rushing record. BYU QB Jim McMahon, who finished third,
Pitt QB Dan Marino finished fourth. Ohio State QB Art Schlichter
was fifth, and Michigan great Anthony Carter and Texas DT
Kenneth Sims were also in the mix.
Herschel Walker finally won the Heisman he was just as
deserving of getting his previous two seasons, Stanford
quarterback John Elway was second, SMU RB Eric Dickerson
third, Michigan WR Anthony Carter fourth, legendary Nebraska
center Dave Rimington fifth, and national-title winning Penn
State QB Todd Blackledge sixth. Pittsburgh's Dan Marino finished
ninth, and 1983 Heisman winner Mike Rozier finished 10th.
Still one of college football's greatest arguments,
Michigan CB/KR Charles Woodson barely beat out Tennessee
superstar Peyton Manning while Washington State phenom Ryan
Leaf, Marshall sophomore WR Randy Moss, Texas RB Ricky
Williams, and Penn State RB Curtis Enis all put up Heisman-caliber
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford won the Heisman in one of the
closest races ever. How tight was it? Florida's Tim
Tebow, the 2007 winner, finished third overall but
got the most first place votes. Bradford finished
with 1,726 points, Texas QB Colt McCoy finished
second with 1,604 points, and Tebow was third with
1,575 points. The Texas Tech passing combination of
Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree finished a
distant fourth and fifth, respectively.
There was no wrong answer in 2004. USC QB Matt Leinart was a
solid winner while Oklahoma freshman RB Adrian Peterson was
second, Oklahoma QB Jason White, the 2003 Heisman winner, was
third, future first pick in the NFL draft, Utah QB Alex Smith,
was fourth, and 2005 winner Reggie Bush was fifth.