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The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Updated June 14, 2019 34.3k votes 2.7k voters 24.2k 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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  • 1
    Barry Sanders is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    1,057
    306

    Barry Sanders

    Running back

    BirthplaceWichita, Kansas, United States of America

    Age52

    TeamsOklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions

  • 2
    Bo Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    983
    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

    More Bo Jackson 

    #229 of 582 The Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time#62 of 104 The Greatest Throwing Arms of All Time

  • 3
    Herschel Walker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    781
    309

    Herschel Walker

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceGeorgia, USA, Wrightsville

    Age58

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

  • 4
    Earl Campbell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    552
    275

    Earl Campbell

    Running back

    BirthplaceTyler, Texas, United States of America

    Age65

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, Texas Longhorns football

  • 5
    Marcus Allen is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    460
    279

    Marcus Allen

    Running back

    BirthplaceSan Diego, California, USA

    Age60

    TeamsUSC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs

  • 6
    Roger Staubach is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    513
    302

    Roger Staubach

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceCincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

    Age78

    TeamsNavy Midshipmen football, Dallas Cowboys

  • 7
    Charles Woodson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    638
    405

    Charles Woodson

    Cornerback, Return specialist

    BirthplaceSebring, Ohio, United States of America

    Age43

    TeamsMichigan Wolverines football, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers

  • 8
    Tony Dorsett is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    443
    281

    Tony Dorsett

    Running back

    BirthplaceRochester, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age66

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Dallas Cowboys

  • 9
    Archie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    464
    312

    Archie Griffin

    Running back

    BirthplaceColumbus, Ohio, United States of America

    Age66

    TeamsCincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Bulls, Ohio State Buckeyes football

  • 10
    Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    598
    487

    Tim Tebow

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceMakati, Philippines

    Age33

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

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  • 11
    Ricky Williams is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    391
    326

    Ricky Williams

    Running back

    BirthplaceSan Diego, California, United States of America

    Age38

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

  • 12
    Eddie George is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    358
    287

    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 1,357 The Greatest Minds of All Time#5 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time

  • 13
    Derrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    85
    35

    Derrick Henry

    Running Back

    TeamsTennessee Titans

    More Derrick Henry 

    #2 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time#27 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

  • 14
    Billy Sims is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    287
    233

    Billy Sims

    Running Back

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

    Age65

    TeamsOklahoma Sooners football, Detroit Lions

  • 15
    Reggie Bush is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    365
    327

    Reggie Bush

    Running back

    BirthplaceSpring Valley, California, United States of America

    Age35

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins

  • 16
    Lamar Jackson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    82
    40

    Lamar Jackson

    Quarterback

    TeamsBaltimore Ravens

  • 17
    Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    504
    503

    Cam Newton

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia

    Age31

    TeamsCarolina Panthers

    More Cam Newton 

    #14 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time#14 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

  • 18
    Doug Flutie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    350
    337

    Doug Flutie

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceManchester, Maryland, United States of America

    Age57

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

  • 19
    Doak Walker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    236
    208

    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

  • 20
    O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    446
    461

    O. J. Simpson

    Running back

    BirthplaceCalifornia, United States of America

    Age73

    TeamsBuffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers

    More O. J. Simpson 

    Facts About OJ Simpson That Will Make Your Skin Crawl#991 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • 21
    Paul Hornung is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    272
    219

    Paul Hornung

    Running Back

    BirthplaceLouisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    Age84

    TeamsNotre Dame Fighting Irish football, Green Bay Packers

  • 22
    Ernie Davis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    182
    171

    Ernie Davis

    Running Back

    BirthplaceNew Salem-Buffington, Pennsylvania

    AgeDec. at 24 (1939-1963)

    TeamsCleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football

  • 23
    Jim Plunkett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    235
    235

    Jim Plunkett

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceSan Jose, California, United States of America

    Age72

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

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    #34 of 252 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#18 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • 24
    Tim Brown is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    323
    347

    Tim Brown

    Wide Receiver

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas

    Age54

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

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    #23 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#3 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time

  • 25
    Desmond Howard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
    351
    378

    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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