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The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Updated June 14, 2019 34.4k votes 2.9k voters 25.1k views83 items

List RulesPlease 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. 
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  • Barry Sanders1
    1,049
    307

    Barry Sanders

    Running back

    BirthplaceWichita, Kansas, United States of America

    Age52

    TeamsOklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions

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    #10 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon#1 of 22 The Best 80s College Running Backs

  • Bo Jackson2
    972
    359

    Bo Jackson

    Running back

    BirthplaceBessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    Age57

    TeamsKansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    #109 of 511 The Best Baseball Players NOT in the Hall of Fame#7 of 25 MLB Players Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • Herschel Walker3
    775
    315

    Herschel Walker

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceWrightsville, Georgia, United States of America

    Age58

    TeamsGeorgia Bulldogs football team, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys

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    #1 of 44 The Best University of Georgia Football Players of All Time#13 of 60 Famous Athletes Who Could Have Dominated a Second Sport

  • Earl Campbell4
    554
    288

    Earl Campbell

    Running back

    BirthplaceTexas, Tyler, USA

    Age65

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, Texas Longhorns football

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    #11 of 26 NFL Players Whose Careers Ended Too Soon#47 of 48 The Best University of Tennessee Football Players Ever

  • Roger Staubach5
    499
    310

    Roger Staubach

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceCincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

    Age73

    TeamsNavy Midshipmen football, Dallas Cowboys

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    #37 of 80 The Best NFL Player Nicknames#4 of 39 The Best NFL Quarterbacks of the 1970s

  • Marcus Allen6
    458
    287

    Marcus Allen

    Running back

    BirthplaceSan Diego, California, United States of America

    Age55

    TeamsUSC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs

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    #5 of 26 The Best NFL Running Backs of the 80s#4 of 47 The Best Super Bowl MVPs of All Time

  • Charles Woodson7
    626
    408

    Charles Woodson

    Cornerback, Return specialist

    BirthplaceSebring, Ohio, United States of America

    Age43

    TeamsMichigan Wolverines football, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers

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    #13 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History#5 of 61 The Best NFL Players From Ohio

  • Tony Dorsett8
    436
    278

    Tony Dorsett

    Running back

    BirthplaceRochester, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age66

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Dallas Cowboys

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    #5 of 27 The Best NFL Running Backs of the 70s#40 of 106 The Fastest NFL Players of All Time

  • Archie Griffin9
    463
    316

    Archie Griffin

    Running back

    BirthplaceColumbus, Ohio, United States of America

    Age66

    TeamsCincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Bulls, Ohio State Buckeyes football

  • Tim Tebow10
    598
    484

    Tim Tebow

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceMakati, Philippines

    Age33

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Florida Gators football, New England Patriots, New York Jets

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    #9 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#35 of 65 Who Is The Most Charming Man Alive?

  • Eddie George11
    357
    289

    Eddie George

    Running back

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age47

    TeamsTennessee Titans, Ohio State Buckeyes football, Dallas Cowboys

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    #1351 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#2 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time

  • Ricky Williams12
    395
    323

    Ricky Williams

    Running back

    BirthplaceSan Diego, California, United States of America

    Age38

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints, Toronto Argonauts, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Texas Longhorns football

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    #65 of 95 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time#11 of 15 The Worst NFL Trades Ever Made

  • Derrick Henry13
    114
    52

    Derrick Henry

    Running Back

    TeamsTennessee Titans

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    #1 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time#28 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

  • Billy Sims14
    294
    235

    Billy Sims

    Running Back

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

    Age65

    TeamsOklahoma Sooners football, Detroit Lions

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    #3 of 74 The Best Oklahoma Sooners of All Time#1 of 32 The Best Oklahoma Sooners Running Backs of All Time

  • Reggie Bush15
    359
    334

    Reggie Bush

    Running back

    BirthplaceSpring Valley, California, United States of America

    Age30

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins

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    #7 of 104 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Time#2 of 30 Athletes Famous Only for Off-Court Behavior

  • O. J. Simpson16
    447
    453

    O. J. Simpson

    Running back

    BirthplaceCalifornia, United States of America

    Age68

    TeamsBuffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers

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    Facts About OJ Simpson That Will Make Your Skin Crawl#121 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • Paul Hornung17
    281
    222

    Paul Hornung

    Running Back

    BirthplaceLouisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    Age84

    TeamsNotre Dame Fighting Irish football, Green Bay Packers

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    #5 of 35 Undeserving Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame#5 of 286 The Best Green Bay Packers Of All Time

  • Ernie Davis18
    190
    171

    Ernie Davis

    Running Back

    BirthplaceNew Salem-Buffington, Pennsylvania

    AgeDec. at 24 (1939-1963)

    TeamsCleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football

  • Doak Walker19
    232
    210

    Doak Walker

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas

    AgeDied at 71 (1927-1998)

    TeamsSouthern Methodist University Mustang football, Southern Methodist University Mustangs football, Detroit Lions

    More 

    #34 of 69 The Best NFL Players From Texas#3 of 31 The Best Detroit Lions Running Backs of All Time

  • Doug Flutie20
    340
    332

    Doug Flutie

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceManchester, Maryland, United States of America

    Age53

    TeamsBuffalo Bills, Toronto Argonauts, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, New Jersey Generals

    More Doug Flutie 

    #23 of 45 The Best NFL Quarterbacks of the '80s#12 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time

  • Lamar Jackson21
    98
    67

    Lamar Jackson

    Quarterback

    TeamsBaltimore Ravens

  • Cam Newton22
    491
    499

    Cam Newton

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia

    Age26

    TeamsCarolina Panthers

    More Cam Newton 

    #85 of 85 The Best University of Florida Football Players of All Time#19 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

  • Tim Brown23
    323
    333

    Tim Brown

    Wide Receiver

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas

    Age54

    TeamsNotre Dame Fighting Irish football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders

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    #24 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#2 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time

  • Jim Plunkett24
    231
    235

    Jim Plunkett

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceSan Jose, California, United States of America

    Age68

    TeamsStanford Cardinal football, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers

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    #32 of 252 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#22 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Desmond Howard25
    342
    369

    Desmond Howard

    Return specialist, Punt returner

    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio, USA

    Age50

    TeamsMichigan Wolverines football, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers

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    #50 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time#2 of 87 The Best Michigan Football Players of All Time