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Top 10 Heisman Trophy Winners

Every year since 1935, the Heisman Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the most outstanding player in college football. Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson just recently was recognized as the best player in college football and was awarded the Heisman Trophy. There have been 79 unique winners and one two-time winner in Ohio State’s Archie Griffin. That means 80 different players have been recognized as college football’s best player. Here is a list of the top 10 Hesiman trophy winners.

1. Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State 1988)

Top 10 Heisman Trophy Winners
Courtesy of

Barry Sanders no doubt had the greatest season in college football history and therefore is the greatest Heisman Trophy winner. After backing up Thurman Thomas for his first two seasons, Sanders finally got his time to shine in his junior year. Sanders rushed for 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns. We probably will never see a running back like Sanders ever again.

2. Marcus Allen (USC 1981)

Marcus Allen became the first player to break 2,000 rushing yards in a season and the fourth USC running back to win the award. Allen completely shattered the mark, rushing for 2,342 yards (good for second most among Heisman winners) and also scored 22 touchdowns. He lead the Trojans in catches too with 34.

3. Mike Rozier (Nebraska 1983)

Mike Rozier was a horse. The Cornhusker running back was the main piece of one of the greatest offenses in college football history. Rozier rushed for 2,148 yards and 29 touchdowns while averaging almost eight yards per carry. Rozier helped Nebraska average nearly 52 points a game.

4. Ricky Williams (Texas 1998)

Top 10 Heisman Trophy Winners
Courtesy of

Run Ricky Run. Ricky Williams did just that during the 1998 season. The Longhorn running back rushed for 2,124 yards and 27 touchdowns. At the time, Williams also had the highest percentage of first place votes in history (43% of 920 votes). Numbers like that are one of the reasons Mike Ditka was crazy enough to trade all the Saints’ draft picks and two picks for the next year to take him in the 1999 NFL draft.

5. Sam Bradford (Oklahoma 2008)

Sam Bradford became the fifth Sooner to win the Heisman in 2008. He put up the incredible numbers of 4,464 yards and 48 touchdowns. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact he threw only six interceptions. He also added five touchdowns on the ground and lead the nation in passing.

6. Andre Ware (Houston 1989)

Top 10 Heisman Trophy Winners
Courtesy of the Denver Post

Andre Ware flat-out dominated the 1989 season, having one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback in Heisman trophy history. Ware passed for 4,699 yards and 46 touchdowns while throwing 15 interceptions. He became the first and only player from Houston to win the Heisman as well as the only player to win the Heisman for a team on probation.

7. Rashaan Salaam (1994 Colorado)

Rashaan Salaam became the first and only player for Colorado to win the Heisman. He broke out his junior year, totaling 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns while averaging 7.6 yards per carry. He also joined Sanders, Allen, and Rozier in the 2,000 yards club.

8. Lamar Jackson (Louisville 2016)

Lamar Jackson may be the most recent athlete to win the Heisman, but he also put up some fantastic numbers to earn him a spot in the top 10 Heisman winners of all time. This season as a sophomore, Jackson passed for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns while throwing just nine interceptions. Jackson was also incredible on the ground, rushing for 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns. The only Louisville player to win the award, Jackson also is the youngest. His 4,928 yards of total offense is second among Heismans and his 51 total touchdowns are tied for third most among Heismans.

9. Marcus Mariota (Oregon 2014)

Top 10 Heisman Trophy Winners
Tony Dorsett. Courtesy of CBS Sports

Marcus Mariota had a heyday during his junior season and became the first and only Oregon Duck to win the award. A dual-threat quarterback, Mariota passed for 3,783 yards and 38 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He added 669 more yards on the ground and 14 rushing touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass. His 53 total touchdowns are tied with Sam Bradford for the most in Heisman history and he received the third highest vote total in history.

10. Tony Dorsett (Pittsburgh 1976)

Tony Dorsett became Pitt’s first Heisman winner in 1976 and also set the NCAA career rushing record that stood for 22 years. He put up 1,948 rushing yards along with 21 rushing touchdowns. During his senior year and Heisman campaign, Dorsett also set or tied 18 different rushing records, which is more than any player in college football history.


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