Sports

The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time 

Ranker College Football
Originally by
Updated June 14, 2019 31.9k votes 2.5k voters 23.3k views 83 items

List Rules Please rank the players only on their Heisman season and not how they played in the pros or in bowl games

A list of the best Heisman Trophy winners of all time. Since 1935, the Heisman Trophy has been handed out to the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Some of the greatest players in college football history have won this award. The Heisman Trophy is one of the most coveted awards in all of American sports. Of the tens of thousands of players who compete on Saturdays, many of them want to win this award.

Notre Dame and Ohio State are currently the schools with the most Heisman winners with 7 each. USC is second with 6, though they had 7 prior to Reggie Bush vacating the 2005 Heisman Trophy due to a controversial ruling by the NCAA. Schools, students and alumni take a lot of pride when one of their players winning the Heisman.

The list of collegiate superstars who have won the Heisman is impressive. Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs like Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders, USC's Marcus Allen and Texas's Earl Campbell were all recipients of the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State's Archie Griffin is the only two-time Heisman winner. More recently, quarterbacks like Auburn's Cam Newton, Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel have won the award.  

College football is one of the most popular sports in America. Second to winning a national championship, nothing riles up a school's fan base like having a player in contention to win the Heisman Trophy.

This is the list of all of the Heisman Trophy winners of all time. Vote or rerank this list based on who you think is the greatest Heisman Trophy winner ever. 
list ordered by
1
Barry Sanders is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from Wichita

Age: 47

Teams: Oklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions

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#466 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 192 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

2
Bo Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from Bessemer

Age: 53

Teams: Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

More Bo Jackson 

#396 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #239 of 599 The Greatest Baseball Players Of All Timelisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

3
Herschel Walker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back and Return specialist from Wrightsville

Age: 53

Teams: Georgia Bulldogs football team, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, + more

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#1,115 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #214 of 347 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Famelisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

4
Earl Campbell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from Tyler

Age: 60

Teams: New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, Texas Longhorns football

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#3 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked #9 of 192 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

5
Charles Woodson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Cornerback and Return specialist from Sebring

Age: 39

Teams: Michigan Wolverines football, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers

More Charles Woodson 

#61 of 347 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #46 of 1,536 The Best Football Players Ever #12 of 519 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

6
Marcus Allen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from San Diego

Age: 55

Teams: USC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs

7
Roger Staubach is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Quarterback from Cincinnati

Age: 73

Teams: Navy Midshipmen football, Dallas Cowboys

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#48 of 1,536 The Best Football Players Everlisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

8
Tony Dorsett is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from Rochester

Age: 61

Teams: Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Dallas Cowboys

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#690 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #44 of 1,536 The Best Football Players Ever

9
Archie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from Columbus

Age: 61

Teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Bulls, Ohio State Buckeyes football

More Archie Griffin 

#66 of 145 The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts #1 of 84 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time

10
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
11
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Quarterback from Makati

Age: 28

Teams: Denver Broncos, Florida Gators football, New England Patriots, New York Jets

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#75 of 217 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #99 of 771 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasureslisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

12
Ricky Williams is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from San Diego

Age: 38

Teams: New Orleans Saints, Toronto Argonauts, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Texas Longhorns football

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#43 of 86 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time #33 of 192 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

13
Eddie George is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from Philadelphia

Age: 42

Teams: Tennessee Titans, Ohio State Buckeyes football, Dallas Cowboys

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#1,463 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #27 of 192 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #163 of 347 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

14
Doug Flutie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Quarterback from Manchester

Age: 53

Teams: Buffalo Bills, Toronto Argonauts, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, New Jersey Generals, + more

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#2,009 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #44 of 217 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time

15
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from California

Age: 68

Teams: Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers

More O. J. Simpson 

#1,930 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1,167 of 2,828 The Most Influential People of All Time

16
Billy Sims is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Age: 60

Teams: Oklahoma Sooners football, Detroit Lions

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#47 of 192 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #580 of 1,536 The Best Football Players Ever

17
Reggie Bush is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
RobLein added Running back from Spring Valley

Age: 30

Teams: New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins

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#67 of 116 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time #71 of 192 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

18
Tim Brown is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Age: 49

Teams: Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders

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#115 of 1,536 The Best Football Players Ever #9 of 248 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time

19
Desmond Howard is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Return specialist and Punt returner from Cleveland

Age: 45

Teams: Michigan Wolverines football, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, + more

20
Doak Walker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Doak Walker Running back and Return specialist from Dallas

Age: Died at 71 (1927-1998)

Teams: Southern Methodist University Mustang football, Southern Methodist University Mustangs football, Detroit Lions

21
Jim Plunkett is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Age: 68

Teams: Stanford Cardinal football, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers

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#1,952 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #9 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

22
Marcus Mariota is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
surag added Quarterback from Honolulu

Teams: Tennessee Titans

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#1 of 111 The Best Oregon Ducks of All Time #433 of 452 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

23
Paul Hornung is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Age: 80

Teams: Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, Green Bay Packers

24
Carson Palmer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Quarterback from Fresno

Age: 36

Teams: USC Trojans football, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals

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#50 of 217 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #26 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked #328 of 1,536 The Best Football Players Ever

25
Ernie Davis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Age: Died at 24 (1939-1963)

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football

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