Sports

The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time 

Ranker College Football
Originally by
Updated June 14, 2019 32.8k votes 2.6k voters 23.7k 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, Kansas, United States of America

Age: 47

Teams: Oklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions

More Barry Sanders 

#601 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #2 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever

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

Age: 53

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

More Bo Jackson 

#393 of 709 The Best Hitters in Baseball History #254 of 598 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, Georgia, United States of America

Age: 53

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

More Herschel Walker 

#1,244 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #168 of 350 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 Texas, Tyler, USA

Age: 63

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

More Earl Campbell 

#1,660 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #8 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #3 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

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, Ohio, United States of America

Age: 39

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

More Charles Woodson 

#50 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #12 of 542 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History #20 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever

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

Age: 55

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

More Marcus Allen 

#1,529 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #12 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #54 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever

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

Age: 73

Teams: Navy Midshipmen football, Dallas Cowboys

More Roger Staubach 

#10 of 257 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #26 of 80 The Best NFL Player Nicknameslisted 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, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: 61

Teams: Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Dallas Cowboys

More Tony Dorsett 

#1,738 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #13 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #43 of 1,537 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, Ohio, United States of America

Age: 61

Teams: Cincinnati 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
Quarterback from Makati, Philippines

Age: 31

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

More Tim Tebow 

#112 of 257 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #44 of 256 Celebrities Who Should Run for Presidentlisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

11
Ricky Williams is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from San Diego, California, United States of America

Age: 38

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

More Ricky Williams 

#287 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #35 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #263 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever

12
Eddie George is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Running back from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: 45

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

More Eddie George 

#1,468 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #163 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #26 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

13
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
14
Doug Flutie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Quarterback from Manchester, Maryland, United States of America

Age: 53

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

More Doug Flutie 

#34 of 257 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #1,758 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #22 of 122 The Greatest College Football 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, United States of America

Age: 68

Teams: Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers

More O. J. Simpson 

Facts About OJ Simpson That Will Make Your Skin Crawl #650 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #1,704 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

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

Age: 30

Teams: New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins

More Reggie Bush 

#79 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #292 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #65 of 124 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time

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

Age: 52

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

More Tim Brown 

#16 of 248 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time #102 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #2 of 83 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time

19
Doak Walker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Doak Walker Running back and Return specialist from Dallas, Texas

Age: Died at 71 (1927-1998)

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

20
Desmond Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time
Return specialist and Punt returner from Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Age: 45

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

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

Age: 71

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

More Jim Plunkett 

#30 of 257 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #1,682 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #17 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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

Teams: Tennessee Titans

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

Age: Dec. at 24 (1939-1963)

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Syracuse Orange football

24
Paul Hornung is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

Age: 80

Teams: Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, Green Bay Packers

More Paul Hornung 

#32 of 230 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #185 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #7 of 83 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time

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