Que el mejor jugador en la historia del fútbol universitario no ganó el Trofeo Heisman dice menos sobre el jugador que sobre el fútbol universitario. Jim Brown de Syracuse terminó quinto en la votación para seleccionar al jugador más destacado de 1956. Una parte significativa del electorado se negó a votar por un hombre negro. Los entrenadores siempre sostienen que cuanto más dura un juego, más se revelará el talento.
El juego se compone de más que corredores, pero la capacidad de atravesar la línea, plantar un pie en una dirección y despegar en otra, nos ha engañado desde los primeros días del deporte. El panel de la cinta azul de 150 miembros de los medios, administradores universitarios y ex entrenadores y jugadores quienes aceptaron la responsabilidad de seleccionar a los mejores jugadores en la historia del juego son tontos para los que manejan la pelota. Nueve de los 10 mejores y 19 de los 25 mejores son corredores.
Las escuelas que ponen la mayor cantidad de jugadores en esta lista son archirrivales que se acercan al centenario de su primera reunión. Notre Dame y USC tienen cada uno nueve jugadores; Oklahoma, ocho; Alabama y Ohio State, siete.
Las selecciones del panel abarcaron 111 de las 150 temporadas, en 51 colegios y universidades. Perdónanos por no contar el número de conferencias; Dada la forma en que las escuelas han saltado de liga en liga, de independiente a miembro, y cómo se han formado y plegado las ligas, remitiremos a alguien más glotón para el castigo.
Aproximadamente dos tercios de los 150 mejores jugadores salieron al campo desde la década de 1960 hasta la década de 1990. Podría ser que los votantes sucumbieran a la nostalgia, escuchando a sus jóvenes para encontrar a sus verdaderos héroes. Podría tener más que ver con la forma en que la televisión se convirtió en un deporte en la década de 1960 y floreció a mediados de la década de 1980, después de que la Corte Suprema de EE. UU. Levantó las restricciones impuestas a las apariciones en televisión por la NCAA.
Los votantes seleccionaron solo 16 jugadores del siglo XXI. Quizás la perspectiva se logra mejor a distancia. Divulgación completa: la votación tuvo que realizarse antes de que se completara la temporada 2019. Dicho esto, 2019 en realidad es la 151a temporada de fútbol americano universitario, por lo que el mariscal de campo de LSU Joe Burrow y la cola de Wisconsin Jonathan Taylor tendrá que esperar el College Football 151. O tal vez el College Football 200. – Ivan Maisel
1. Jim Brown (RB, Syracuse, 1954-56)
Yardas apresuradas: 2,091 | TDs: 26 | Intercepciones por: 8
Brown fue el mejor atleta en la historia de Siracusa, y quizás en todos los deportes universitarios. Si bien Brown es mejor conocido como el corredor que lanzó la leyenda del maillot No. 44, obtuvo 10 cartas del equipo universitario en cuatro deportes en Syracuse: baloncesto, fútbol, lacrosse y atletismo. Brown también lo hizo todo en el campo de fútbol. Lideró a la nación con un promedio de retorno de patada inicial en 1955 y con TDs en 1956, cuando se convirtió en el primer All-American unánime de Syracuse y llevó al Orange al Cotton Bowl. También fue el pateador de lugar del Orange y anotó 43 puntos, en seis touchdowns y siete puntos extra, en una decisión 61-7 sobre Colgate en 1956.
2. Herschel Walker (RB, Georgia, 1980-82)
Yardas apresuradas: 5,259 | TDs: 52 | Yardas corriendo por juego: 159.4
Si no es Brown, entonces Walker podría ser el jugador contra quien se mide cada corredor universitario. Corrió para 1,616 yardas con 15 touchdowns como estudiante de primer año en 1980, llevando a los Bulldogs a un récord de 12-0 y un campeonato nacional. Walker corrió para 150 yardas con dos touchdowns, después de separar su hombro, en una victoria de 17-10 sobre Notre Dame en el Sugar Bowl. Corrió para 1,891 yardas como estudiante de segundo año y 1,752 como junior, cuando ganó el Trofeo Heisman de 1982. Durante su carrera universitaria de tres años, Walker estableció 41 registros de Georgia, 16 SEC y 11 NCAA. Los Bulldogs fueron 33-3 durante sus tres temporadas.
3. Bo Jackson (RB, Auburn, 1982-85)
Yardas apresuradas: 4,303 | TDs apresurados: 43 | Yardas por acarreo: 6.6
Casi cuatro décadas después, el fútbol universitario sigue siendo un nombre de pila con el ganador de Heisman de 1985. Como estudiante de primer año, Jackson tomó el mismo número de uniforme, 34, que usaba Herschel Walker en Georgia, y rápidamente demostró ser digno del número. Su salto de touchdown "Bo Over the Top" rompió una racha perdedora de nueve juegos en el Iron Bowl, la última de Bear Bryant. Aunque Bo también le recordó a Herschel con su combinación de velocidad y potencia, Bo, a diferencia de Herschel, tenía un poco de nerviosismo cuando lo necesitaba. Auburn se retiró del No. 34 en 1992, como si no supiéramos que nadie podría llenar esa camiseta.
El corredor del Ohio State y el ganador del Trofeo Heisman, Archie Griffin, recuerda su primer balón suelto, cuando fue golpeado por Woody Hayes, y el juego de carrera que tuvo durante su segunda oportunidad.
4. Archie Griffin (RB, Estado de Ohio, 1972-75)
Yardas apresuradas: 5,589 | TDs apresurados: 27 | Yardas apresuradas por juego: 121.5
Nació en el hospital del campus de Ohio State, a la vista de Horseshoe, donde se convertiría en una leyenda de los Buckeyes. Griffin llegó al vestuario de Woody Hayes poco después de que la NCAA aprobara la elegibilidad para estudiantes de primer año. ¿Estudiante de primer año? Hayes dijo una vez que pierdes un juego por cada segundo año que comienzas. Griffin cambió la opinión de su entrenador, tal vez apresurándose para un récord escolar de 239 yardas en el segundo juego de la temporada. Griffin corrió para 1,695 yardas y 12 touchdowns en su tercer año, lo suficientemente bueno como para ganar el Heisman de 1974. Hayes solía decirle a sus jugadores que uno mejora o empeora. Ese adagio estimuló a Griffin durante su último año; ganó el Heisman nuevamente. Nadie más ha ganado dos.
5. Jim Thorpe (B, Carlisle, 1907-12)
Yardas apresuradas: 3,616 | Yardas por carrera: 8.4 | Touchdowns: 53
Algunas de las historias contadas sobre Thorpe suenan apócrifas. Una vez golpeó una pelota, corrió campo abajo, la atrapó y la lanzó para un touchdown. Eso no es legal ahora. Puede que no haya sido legal entonces; nadie había podido hacerlo antes. Thorpe hizo mucho en el campo que nadie había visto antes. Su combinación de tamaño (6-1, 185), velocidad y potencia nunca había aparecido nunca antes. Con un joven entrenador llamado Pop Warner, cuyas formaciones de ala única y doble hicieron que el escurridizo Thorpe fuera aún más difícil de detener, Thorpe impulsó a los indios a la prominencia nacional. Corrió para 173 yardas en una victoria de Harvard por 18-15 en 1911. El Crimson no perdió otro juego hasta 1915. Thorpe fue un consenso All-American en 1911 y 1912 y en la clase inaugural del College Football Hall of Fame.
6. Red Grange (RB, Illinois, 1923-25)
Yardas apresuradas: 2,071 | Yardas por carrera: 5.3 | Touchdowns: 31
Casi un siglo después, la actuación de Grange en el primer trimestre contra Michigan en 1924 sigue siendo inigualable: en el juego de dedicación del Memorial Stadium en el campus de Illinois, Grange devolvió el saque inicial 95 yardas para un touchdown. En los siguientes 10 minutos, corrió para puntajes de 67, 56 y 44 yardas. Terminó con cinco touchdowns y lanzó para un sexto. Grantland Rice le otorgó a Grange el apodo de "el fantasma galopante". El entrenador de Illinois, Bob Zuppke, al final de su carrera, le dijo a Rice: "Nunca tendré otro Grange. Pero nadie más lo hará". Grange fue un tres veces consensuado All-American y en la clase inaugural del College Football Hall of Fame.
7. Earl Campbell (RB, Texas, 1974-77)
Yardas apresuradas: 4,443 | Yardas por carrera: 5.8 | TDs apresurados: 40
Darrell Royal ganó una feroz batalla de reclutamiento para la Tyler (Texas) Rose, como se conocería Campbell. Campbell corrió para 2,046 yardas en sus primeras dos temporadas en Austin. Atormentado por problemas en los isquiotibiales y 20 libras de peso extra, Campbell luchó como un joven. Se perdió tres juegos y nunca mostró ese estilo de camión de cerveza cuesta abajo que lo hacía tan peligroso. Campbell se recuperó, perdió las 20 libras y, bajo el nuevo entrenador en jefe Fred Akers, corrió para 1,744 yardas, 6.5 yardas a la vez. Ganó el voto del Trofeo Heisman de 1977 en una fuga, como un camión de cerveza que desciende.
8. Dick Butkus (LB, Illinois, 1962-64)
Tacleadas: 374 | Entradas por partido: 14,4
El legendario escritor deportivo Dan Jenkins escribió una vez que si cada equipo de fútbol americano universitario tuviera un apoyador como Butkus, "todos los fullbacks pronto tendrían 3 pies de altura y cantarían soprano". Pocos apoyadores golpean tan fuerte o tan a menudo como Butkus, un dos veces All-American en Illinois. Fue nombrado MVP de los Big Ten en 1963 y terminó tercero en la votación del Trofeo Heisman al año siguiente. Contra el estado de Ohio en 1963, Butkus hizo 23 tacleadas, un récord escolar en ese momento. En 1985, un trofeo otorgado al mejor apoyador en el fútbol universitario fue nombrado en su honor.
El ex corredor del estado de Oklahoma, Barry Sanders, recuerda cómo ver a Tony Dorsett ayudó a dar forma a su juego.
9. Barry Sanders (RB, Estado de Oklahoma, 1986-88)
Yardas apresuradas: 3,556 | Touchdowns: 54 | Yardas de uso múltiple en 1988: 3,250
En uno de los mejores golpes de reclutamiento de todos los tiempos, un asistente del estado de Oklahoma obtuvo la única cinta de la estrella de preparación de Wichita, Kansas, y la mantuvo. Sanders permaneció bajo el radar mientras estaba en Stillwater, en parte porque los Cowboys también tenían una espalda llamada Thurman Thomas. Sanders, como estudiante de segundo año, respaldó a Thomas y lideró a la nación en retornos iniciales (promedio de 31.6 yardas), en parte al devolver el primer saque inicial de la temporada para un touchdown. Sanders comenzó como junior al regresar el inicio de la temporada para un touchdown también. Sanders nunca disminuyó la velocidad. ¿Sus cuatro juegos de 300 yardas en una temporada? Creó un récord más que rompió uno; nadie lo había hecho más de una vez en una temporada. Se apresuró a alcanzar un récord de FBS de 2,628 yardas y estableció 34 récords de la NCAA en su campaña de 1998 ganadora de Heisman.
10. Gale Sayers (RB, Kansas, 1962-64)
Yardas apresuradas: 2,675 | Yardas por acarreo: 6.5 | Touchdowns: 20
Hasta que su familia se mudó a Omaha cuando tenía 8 años, Sayers vivía en un pequeño pueblo llamado Speed, Kansas. Regresó al estado como Jayhawk e hizo de Lawrence el nuevo Speed, Kansas. Como estudiante de segundo año en 1962, Sayers inmediatamente dio a conocer su presencia en el equipo universitario. Se apresuró para 114 yardas en la apertura de la temporada contra TCU, y a mitad de temporada, Sayers incendió el estado de Oklahoma para un récord de Big Eight 283 yardas en solo 22 acarreos. Fue el primer jugador de FBS con una carrera de 99 yardas. El "Kansas Comet" promedió 6.5 yardas por acarreo en su carrera de Jayhawks. Fue un consenso All-American en 1963 y 1964. Sayers fue incluido en el College Football Hall of Fame en 1977.
11. Roger Staubach (QB, Armada, 1962-64)
Yardas de paso: 3,571 | Yardas apresuradas: 682 | TDs: 35
Antes de que Staubach liderara el equipo de Estados Unidos en la NFL, ganó el Trofeo Heisman como mariscal de campo de la Marina en 1963. Conocido como "Roger el Dodger", Staubach pasó para 1.474 yardas como junior en 1963, al tiempo que ganó el Trofeo Maxwell y el Premio Walter Camp Memorial. . Después de cuatro años en la Marina, incluida una gira en Vietnam, Staubach se unió a los Cowboys en 1969 y los llevó al Super Bowl cuatro veces, incluidas las victorias en 1972 y '78.
12. Hugh Green (DE, Pitt, 1977-80)
Sacos: 49 | Entradas: 441
El entrenador de Pittsburgh, Jackie Sherrill, dijo una vez que Green solo tenía una velocidad: la velocidad máxima. "Es tan temerario y tan rápido", dijo Sherrill a Sports Illustrated. "Nadie en el fútbol universitario puede bloquearlo". Green fue tres veces el primer equipo All-American. En 1980, ganó el Premio Maxwell como el mejor jugador del país, ganó el Premio Lombardi como el mejor liniero y ganó el Campamento Walter como el jugador más destacado de la nación. Terminó segundo después de George Rogers de Carolina del Sur en la votación del Trofeo Heisman como senior, el mejor resultado de un jugador defensivo a tiempo completo. Los Panthers terminaron 39-8-1 durante las cuatro temporadas de Green, cuando comenzó cada competencia menos una.
13. Doc Blanchard (RB, Ejército, 1944-46)
Yardas apresuradas: 1,666 | Touchdowns: 38 | Intercepciones por: 7
Blanchard comenzó en Carolina del Norte en 1942. La Segunda Guerra Mundial alteró su carrera. Recibió una cita para West Point en 1944, parte de la mejor clase de backfield en la historia del juego. Blanchard en el fullback, Glenn Davis en el halfback y el quarterback Arnold Tucker llegaron al Salón de la Fama del Fútbol Americano Universitario. Cuando Blanchard era un estudiante de segundo año, el Ejército selló una victoria de 23-7 contra la Armada con un recorrido de touchdown de nueve jugadas y 52 yardas. Blanchard corrió en siete de las nueve jugadas, para 48 de las 52 yardas, incluidas las últimas 10. El Blanchard de 208 libras se conocería como Mr. Inside por su dura carrera entre tacleadas. En sus tres temporadas, Army se fue 27-0-1 y terminó No. 1 dos veces y No. 2 una vez. El consenso de tres veces All-American ganó el Trofeo Heisman de 1945, y tuvo tres resultados entre los cinco primeros de Heisman.
14. Bronko Nagurski (T, Minnesota, 1927-29)
Yardas apresuradas: 557 | TDs: 6
Una leyenda que se cuenta con frecuencia es que un entrenador de fútbol americano universitario, perdido durante un viaje de reclutamiento en Minnesota, le preguntó a un agricultor cómo llegar al pueblo más cercano. Nagurski señaló el camino, con su arado. Como senior para los Gophers en 1929, Nagurski se convirtió en el único jugador nombrado All-American en dos posiciones: tackle en defensa y fullback en ataque. Grantland Rice escribió una vez: "Once Bronko Nagurskis podrían vencer a 11 Red Granges u 11 Jim Thorpes. Los 11 Nagurskis serían un desastre. Sería algo cercano al asesinato y la masacre". Eso ejemplifica por qué el Trofeo Bronko Nagurski se entrega al mejor jugador defensivo cada temporada.
15. Ernie Davis (RB, Syracuse, 1959-61)
Yardas apresuradas: 2,386 | Yardas por carrera: 6.6 | Touchdowns: 35
Dos años después de que Jim Brown se graduó, Syracuse le dio a Davis la camiseta número 44. El halfback de 6-2 y 210 libras llenó la camiseta de Brown y sus zapatos. Davis condujo a Syracuse al campeonato nacional de 1959, casi solo venciendo a Texas 23-14 en el Cotton Bowl. Davis anotó dos touchdowns, interceptó un pase para configurar el otro y anotó dos conversiones de 2 puntos. Dejó Syracuse con los récords escolares y de puntaje de la escuela, así como el Trofeo Heisman de 1961, convirtiéndose en el primer afroamericano en ganarlo. Se iría dos años después, muriendo de leucemia.
16. Walter Payton (RB, Estado de Jackson, 1971-74)
Yardas apresuradas: 3,563 | Yardas por acarreo: 6.1 | Touchdowns: 66
Que Payton llegó al equipo de la revista Time All-America en su último año mientras jugaba en I-AA Jackson State ilustra algunas cosas: lo bueno que fue Payton para atraer ese tipo de aclamación en la era de Archie Griffin, Joe Washington y Anthony Davis ; cuán lentamente la SEC tomó en serio la integración (el estado de Mississippi apenas había comenzado a integrarse y Ole Miss no lo hizo en absoluto cuando Payton, un nativo de Mississippi, fue a la universidad); y cómo el fútbol HBCU pudo haber alcanzado su punto máximo a mediados de la década de 1970. Payton, dos veces jugador negro del año en la universidad, jugó tan bien que terminó 14º en el Heisman de 1974 mientras jugaba en lo que entonces era la División II.
El ex Pitt RB Tony Dorsett se conmueve al recordar el respeto que le mostró la Marina durante un juego de 1976.
17. Tony Dorsett (RB, Pitt, 1973-76)
Yardas apresuradas: 6.082 | Yardas por carrera: 5,7 | TDs apresurados: 55
Dorsett corrió para 1,586 yardas como estudiante de primer año, un récord de la NCAA. Es cierto que los estudiantes de primer año habían sido elegibles para el equipo universitario por solo unos pocos años, pero Dorsett apenas estaba comenzando. Como estudiante de segundo año (1.004 yardas), rompió el récord de carreras de la escuela Pitt. Como junior, Dorsett corrió para 1,544 yardas, 302 solo contra Notre Dame. En su último año, Dorsett lideró la División I-A corriendo con 1,948 yardas y anotando (12.2 puntos por juego) y ganó el Trofeo Heisman, sin mencionar que llevó a los Panthers a un récord de 12-0 y el campeonato nacional de 1976. Cuatro temporadas de 1,000 yardas; un récord de carrera en la carrera de la NCAA; Un título nacional. Esa es toda una carrera.
18. Glenn Davis (RB, Ejército, 1943-46)
Yardas apresuradas: 2,957 | Yardas por acarreo: 8.3 | Touchdowns: 59
Aquellos que lo vieron jugar hacen que la larga lista de registros del Sr. Outside se lea como el texto seco que es. Dos citas del libro "The Heisman: Sesenta años de tradición y excelencia" explican la grandeza de Davis. Primero, Steve Owen, el entrenador de los Gigantes de Nueva York en la década de 1940, declaró a Davis "mejor que Red Grange. Es más rápido y corta mejor". Además, el compañero de equipo del ejército Bill Yeoman, entrenador del Salón de la Fama de los Houston Cougars, dijo al final de su vida que Davis "sigue siendo el atleta más fenomenal que he visto". Con 5-9, 170, Davis podría haber sido demasiado leve para el juego de hoy. Eso es suponiendo que alguien le haya puesto una almohadilla. Davis fue un tres veces consensuado All-American y ganó el Trofeo Heisman de 1946.
19. Reggie White (DE, Tennessee, 1980-83)
Sacos: 32 | Tacleadas: 293 | Fumble recuperaciones: 4
Antes de que White se convirtiera en el "Ministro de Defensa" y se retirara como el líder de sacos de todos los tiempos de la NFL, era el corredor de pases más amenazante en la historia de Tennessee. Durante la temporada senior de White en 1983, tuvo 100 tacleadas, 72 sin asistencia y estableció un récord de temporada única en UT con 15 capturas. Tuvo una captura en todos los juegos menos dos y tuvo cuatro en una victoria de 45-6 sobre The Citadel, otro récord de la escuela. White fue un consenso All-American y fue nombrado Jugador SEC del Año. "Nunca ha habido una mejor", dijo el ex entrenador de Voluntarios Johnny Majors. "Él podría cambiar un juego de fútbol como nadie más".
El ex ganador de Oklahoma RB y Heisman Trophy, Billy Sims, recuerda que Barry Switzer lo reclutó durante el medio tiempo de un juego de Oklahoma.
20. Billy Sims (RB, Oklahoma, 1975-79)
Yardas apresuradas: 3,813 | Yardas por acarreo: 7.1 | TDs apresurados: 50
El entrenador en jefe de Oklahoma, Barry Switzer, pensó tanto en Sims que llamó a Sims en la estación de servicio de Hooks, Texas, donde Sims trabajó para continuar reclutando a él. Eso puede no sonar sorprendente, excepto que Switzer llamó desde un teléfono público de vestuario en el medio tiempo de un juego de los Sooners. Sims demostró que valía la pena el esfuerzo. En sus temporadas junior y senior, Sims corrió para 3,268 yardas y 42 touchdowns. Se llevó a casa el Trofeo Heisman de 1978 durante su temporada junior. Sims no repitió como ganador de Heisman, terminó segundo, porque Charles White de USC lo venció; Con 1,506 yardas por tierra, es difícil decir que Sims titubeó.
El ex mariscal de campo de Voluntarios, Peyton Manning, cuenta el tiempo que tuvo para dirigir la banda de Tennessee después de un juego.
21. Peyton Manning (QB, Tennessee, 1994-97)
Yardas de paso: 11,201 | Porcentaje de finalización: 62.5 | TDs: 89
El ABC que hizo que Manning llegara a la nación a través de sus 17 temporadas en el fútbol profesional brilló por primera vez en sus cuatro temporadas en Knoxville: su afabilidad, su cerebro para el fútbol y su compromiso. Se tomó en serio el fútbol universitario no por los millones que podía (y lo hizo) profesionalmente, sino porque lo amaba, amaba las historias que su padre Archie le contó sobre jugar en Ole Miss y las historias que creó en Tennessee. No, no ganó un campeonato nacional y (¡porque!) No venció a Florida. Pero Bear Bryant nunca venció a Notre Dame, y su carrera también salió bien. Manning ganó el Premio Maxwell, el Premio Davey O'Brien, el Premio Sullivan y el Premio Johnny Unitas Golden Arm durante su temporada senior en 1997.
22. Billy Cannon (RB, LSU, 1957-59)
Yardas apresuradas: 1,867 | Yardas de regreso: 965 | TDs: 24 | Intercepciones por: 7
En la era del fútbol de un pelotón, Cannon podía hacer casi cualquier cosa en el campo de fútbol (y no estaba nada mal, podía lanzar el lanzamiento a más de 54 pies). Lideró a los Tigres al campeonato nacional de 1958, pero sigue siendo mejor conocido por su juego contra el archirrival Ole Miss al año siguiente. Con un descenso de 3-0 en el último cuarto, Cannon desafió la regla del entrenador en jefe Paul Dietzel y envió un despeje en el LSU 11. Él retumbó en la línea lateral derecha, corriendo a través de varios tacleos rebeldes para el touchdown que ganó el juego. También ayudó en el tackle en la línea de gol de LSU cuando expiró el tiempo. Cannon fue un consenso dos veces All-American y ganó el Trofeo Heisman de 1959.
23. Doak Walker (RB, SMU, 1945-49)
Yardas apresuradas: 1,928 | Delito total: 3,582 | Touchdowns: 57
En esos embriagadores días posteriores a la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando la nación solo quería volver a la normalidad, los héroes universitarios de fútbol se hicieron más grandes que la vida. Ninguno parecía más grande que Walker. Creció cerca de SMU, y como Mustang cautivó tanto a la ciudad de Dallas que Cotton Bowl, que se expandió dos veces durante la carrera de Walker, se hizo conocido como The House That Doak Built. Como junior, Walker ganó el Trofeo Heisman de 1948 al hacerlo todo: corrió, lanzó o atrapó 1,119 yardas de ofensiva total. Interceptó cinco pases, promedió 42.0 yardas por despeje y completó el 55.3% de sus pases en una era en la que algo más del 50% era excepcional. Walker fue tres veces All-American para los Ponis.
24. Davey O'Brien (QB, TCU, 1936-38)
Ofensa total: 3,481 yardas | Yardas de paso: 2,628 | Intercepciones: 16
Se necesitó a alguien tan icónico como Sammy Baugh para mantener a O'Brien en el banco de TCU. Cuando Baugh se graduó en 1936, O'Brien se hizo cargo de las Ranas Cornudas. El O'Brien, de 5-7 y 150 libras, puede haber sido de baja estatura, pero corrió un grupo sin sentido y sus compañeros de equipo lo amaron por eso. Como estudiante de último año en 1938, trabajando en la ofensiva de paso de Dutch Meyer, O'Brien lideró la nación con 1,457 yardas y 19 touchdowns por el aire y ganó el Trofeo Heisman. Más importante aún, llevó a TCU a un récord de 11-0 y al campeonato nacional. Las Ranas Cornudas permitieron a un solo oponente más de siete puntos y ganaron solo un juego por tan solo siete puntos.
25. O.J. Simpson (RB, USC, 1967-68)
Yardas apresuradas: 3,124 | Yardas por acarreo: 5 | Touchdowns: 33
Es difícil recordar un momento en que Simpson no era un paria, cuando se lo celebró por una sorprendente combinación de tamaño (6-2, 205) y movimientos y durabilidad. Simpson promedió 31 acarreos y 156 yardas terrestres por juego. Ganó el Trofeo Heisman de 1968. Simpson anotó 33 touchdowns, ninguno más emocionante o dramático que el de 64 yardas en el último cuarto contra el No. 1 UCLA para llevar a los Troyanos No. 4 a una victoria 21-20. Eso no solo impulsó a USC más allá de su archirrival, sino que envió a los troyanos al campeonato nacional de 1967.
26. Deion Sanders (DB, Estado de Florida, 1985-88)
Intercepciones: 14 | TD de devolución de puntos: 3 | Yardas de devolución de patadas: 1,429
El legendario entrenador de Florida State, Bobby Bowden, entrenó a dos ganadores del Trofeo Heisman, 26 All-Americans de consenso y más de 150 opciones de draft de la NFL. Pero Bowden está seguro de qué Seminole fue el mejor atleta que entrenó. "Deion Sanders, no hay duda al respecto", dice Bowden. Sanders, un esquinero electrizante y regresador de despeje, enganchó 14 intercepciones, cuatro de las cuales regresó para touchdowns. Lideró al FBS en retornos de despeje con un promedio de 15.2 yardas en 1988 y estableció récords de carrera de FSU con 126 retornos de despeje para 1,429 yardas con tres puntajes. Fue un All-American unánime en 1987 y '88 y ganó el Premio Thorpe como el mejor defensor del deporte en su último año.
27. Paul Hornung (QB, Notre Dame, 1954-56)
Ofensa total: 2,747 yardas | Yardas apresuradas: 1,051 | Yardas de paso: 1,696
Se ha convertido en el Anexo A para que cualquiera pueda probar la enorme huella digital de Notre Dame. Hornung sigue siendo el único jugador en ganar el Heisman para un equipo perdedor. Y no cualquier equipo perdedor: los Fighting Irish fueron 2-8 en 1956. Hornung ganó porque los votantes prejuiciosos ignoraron al respaldo de Siracusa, Jim Brown, porque el respaldo de Tennessee Johnny Majors se lesionó al final de la temporada, y porque el final de Oklahoma Tommy McDonald y el liniero Jerry Tubbs canibalizó los votos de los demás. Todo lo cual oscureció una cosa sobre Hornung: sus 1.951 yardas por tierra, pases, recepciones y devoluciones demuestran que realmente tuvo una temporada notable.
El ganador del Trofeo Heisman 1984 Doug Flutie detalla su primer juego como mariscal de campo para el Boston College.
28. Doug Flutie (QB, Boston College, 1981-84)
Yardas de paso: 10,579 | Calificación de eficiencia del pase: 132,2 | Pase TD: 67
Los números no logran capturar la magia que Flutie desató en Chestnut Hill. Era pequeño (5-9, 177) pero disfrutaba la oportunidad de demostrar qué tan bien podía jugar todos los sábados. Su sonrisa y alegría de vivir en general electrificaron un deporte que, a mediados de la década de 1980, estaba sumido en un escándalo. Su pase de Hail Mary que termina el juego para molestar a Miami el viernes de Acción de Gracias se repetirá mientras los fanáticos vean lo más destacado. Flutie puso a las Águilas en un tazón importante (algodón) por primera vez en 42 años y regresó a Boston College al mapa de fútbol de la universidad, un mapa que en la década incluiría la Conferencia Big East. El programa prosperó lo suficiente como para sobrevivir a dos rondas de realineación, manteniéndose en el camino hacia el cual Flutie los guió.
29. Sammy Baugh (QB, TCU, 1934-36)
Yardas de paso: 3,384 | TD pasa: 39 | Punting promedio: 40.9 | Intercepciones por: 10
De muy pocos jugadores podemos decir: "Él cambió el juego". Cuando Baugh salió del oeste de Texas, el entrenador de Horned Frogs, Dutch Meyer, hizo que el pase adelantado fuera un plato principal en el menú ofensivo en lugar de un plato de acompañamiento. Slingin 'Sammy no solo podía lanzar la pelota, sino que podía lanzar la pelota campo abajo, algo inaudito en ese momento. El consenso de 1936 All-American se convirtió en el estándar por el cual los transeúntes serían juzgados por una generación. Y él era un jugador excelente en una época en que era un arma principal. Baugh podría haber ganado el primer Heisman como junior en 1935, cuando TCU fue 12-1, pero esa temporada solo los jugadores al este del río Mississippi eran elegibles.
30. Chuck Bednarik (C, Penn, 1945-48)
Después de terminar la escuela secundaria, Bednarik se alistó en las Fuerzas Aéreas del Ejército y realizó 30 misiones de bombardeo sobre Alemania como artillero aéreo durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Fue nombrado All-American en 1947 y '48, cuando terminó tercero en la votación del Trofeo Heisman y ganó el Premio Maxwell. "Concrete Charlie" fue uno de los jugadores más feroces de los profesionales y fue nombrado All-Pro ocho veces. Desde 1995, el Premio Chuck Bednarik ha sido otorgado al mejor jugador defensivo del fútbol universitario.
31. Bubba Smith (DE, Estado de Michigan, 1964-66)
Ahora damos por sentado el tamaño, pero cuando Smith se alineó en el extremo defensivo de los Spartans en sus temporadas junior y senior, los primeros dos años de fútbol totalmente legal en dos pelotones, su marco de 6-7, 283 libras representó un salto cuántico. . En su último año, los otros tres linieros defensivos All-American promediaron 6-3, 221. Smith, nativo del este de Texas y afroamericano, llegó demasiado pronto para jugar en la Conferencia del Suroeste. Fue a Michigan State y, con otros 11 titulares negros, ayudó a los espartanos a compartir los títulos nacionales de 1965 y 1966. En sus últimas dos temporadas allí, Michigan State fue 19-1-1 y cedió un total de 175 puntos, o 8.1 puntos por juego. Smith era un estadounidense en 1965 y 1966.
32. Jerry Rice (WR, Estado del Valle del Mississippi, 1981-84)
Recepciones: 301 | Yardas de recepción: 4,693 | Recibiendo TDs: 50
El entrenador de Mississippi Valley State, Archie "Gunslinger" Cooley, dijo una vez que Rice tenía el tipo de manos que podrían "atrapar un BB en la oscuridad". Con las manos desarrolladas al atrapar ladrillos de su padre cuando era niño, Rice atrapó más pases (102) que cualquier otro jugador de la NCAA en 1983 y más touchdowns (27) que cualquier otro en 1984. Terminó noveno en la votación del Trofeo Heisman como senior a pesar de jugando en el nivel de División I-AA (FCS). Rice aún tiene récords de FCS para las capturas en un juego (24), las capturas de touchdown en una temporada (27) y las yardas por juego en una temporada (168.2), entre otros.
33. John Elway (QB, Stanford, 1979-82)
Yardas de paso: 9,349 | TD pases: 77 | Calificación de eficiencia de pase: 139.3
Sigue siendo uno de los grandes “qué pasa si” en el fútbol cardinal: ¿y si Elway hubiera jugado para Bill Walsh, el entrenador en jefe que lo atrajo a la granja? Walsh corrió hacia los 49ers, y Elway jugó en una sucesión de equipos mediocres. Pero tenía una inclinación por el gran momento. Como estudiante de primer año, dividió el tiempo con Turk Schonert en un empate 21-21 en el No. 1 USC. Como estudiante de segundo año, lanzó para 237 yardas y tres touchdowns para llevar a Stanford a una victoria de 31-14 en el No. 4 Oklahoma. En su último año, Elway lanzó para 265 yardas y dos puntajes en la derrota de Cardinal 43-31 del No. 2 Washington. Y, en su último juego, tomó a Stanford casi a lo largo del campo para un gol de campo para adelantarse a California 20-19 con: 04 para jugar. Si no fuera por Elway, la Stanford Band nunca habría estado en el campo.
34. Lee Roy Selmon (DL, Oklahoma, 1972-75)
Tacleadas: 335 | Fumble recuperaciones: 8
Selmon, junto con sus hermanos mayores Dewey y Lucio, estaban entre los nueve niños criados en una granja en Eufaula, Oklahoma. Con el trío de hermanos Selmon anclando una línea defensiva dominante, OU fue 32-1-1 entre 1973-75 y ganó dos campeonatos nacionales. Lee Roy fue dos veces All-American en 1974 y 1975, ganó los premios Lombardi y Outland en su último año y fue la selección general número 1 en el draft de la NFL de 1976. El ex entrenador de OU, Barry Switzer, ha llamado repetidamente a Selmon el mejor jugador que haya entrenado. "Apenas el jugador arrojó una sombra más larga sobre su rica tradición que Lee Roy", dijo Switzer después de que Selmon murió de un derrame cerebral en 2012.
35. Randy White (DT, Maryland, 1972-74)
White fue nombrado el Jugador ACC del Año 1974. Ese no fue el Jugador Defensivo del Año, eso sí, no fue una exageración considerar que las Blancas de 6-4 y 238 libras son las mejores. Llegó a Maryland como fullback, pero al final de su primer año, el nuevo entrenador en jefe Jerry Claiborne lo cambió al otro lado de la línea. Claiborne tenía el presentimiento de que la fuerza y el atletismo de White florecerían en el medio de la línea defensiva. Claiborne era un entrenador inteligente. White hizo 24 tacleadas detrás de la línea de scrimmage en su último año cuando ganó el Trofeo Outland y el Premio Lombardi. Se le consideraba tan bien que Dallas lo seleccionó segundo, por delante del corredor de Jackson State, Walter Payton.
36. Marshall Faulk (RB, Estado de San Diego, 1991-93)
Yardas apresuradas: 4,589 | Touchdowns: 62 | Ofensa total: 5,595 yardas
Vino de Nueva Orleans al estado de San Diego con poca fanfarria. Faulk se hizo un nombre muy pronto, corriendo para 386 yardas contra Pacific en su segundo juego colegiado (imagínese si hubiera comenzado). Faulk terminó con 1,429 yardas por tierra esa temporada, y quedó noveno en la votación de Heisman. Faulk hizo un largo camino para hacer que los estudiantes de primer año fueran candidatos más plausibles para el Heisman. Como promedió más de 1,500 yardas por tierra en su carrera universitaria de tres años, Faulk tuvo que lidiar con las dudas sobre el nivel de la competencia de los aztecas. El dos veces consenso All-American terminó segundo y cuarto en sus últimas dos carreras de Heisman. Presumiblemente, correr para 1,000 yardas en siete de sus primeras ocho temporadas en la NFL respondió las preguntas restantes.
37. John Lujack (QB, Notre Dame, 1943, 1946-47)
Yardas de paso: 2,094 | TD pasa: 18 | Ofensa total: 2,532 yardas
For all the wondrous feats that Lujack, the 1947 Heisman Trophy winner, achieved running the Irish offense in the greatest era of Notre Dame football — his teams went 26-1-1 and won the national championship in each of his three seasons — his most important single play came on the defensive side of the ball. In the Game of the Century that matched Notre Dame against Army at Yankee Stadium, Black Knights fullback Doc Blanchard broke into the open field and rumbled 22 yards down the left side. Lujack, the only player between Blanchard and the end zone, made a diving tackle at the Army 36 to save the touchdown. Final score: 0-0.
1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George recalls how his recruitment to Penn State turned into a disappointment when he was asked to play linebacker, instead of running back.
38. Eddie George (RB, Ohio State, 1992-95)
Rushing yards: 3,768 | Rushing TDs: 44 | Receiving yards: 516
He grew up near Philadelphia, and like every red-blooded Pennsylvania boy, dreamed of running the ball for Penn State. Head coach Joe Paterno eyeballed George's frame on his recruiting visit and saw a linebacker. There went that dream. Ohio State head coach John Cooper gave George the ball 604 times for 3,369 yards over his last two seasons. George (6-3, 227) delivered as much punishment as he took, showing an ability to run inside the tackles and out. As a senior, he also caught 44 passes for 399 yards and a touchdown. Oh, yeah: As a senior, George rushed for 105 yards and the winning touchdown at Penn State. And won the Heisman Trophy.
Former Nebraska star Johnny Rodgers recalls returning a punt for a touchdown in the 1971 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma game.
39. Johnny Rodgers (WR/KR, Nebraska, 1970-72)
Receiving yards: 2,479 | Punt return yards: 1,515 | Punt return TDs: 7
Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers helped the Cornhuskers win their first two national championships, in 1970 and '71, with his scintillating kick and punt returns and big plays on offense. In 1972, he became the school's first Heisman Trophy winner — and first receiver to win the award. Rodgers is perhaps best remembered for his 72-yard punt return for a score in Nebraska's 35-31 decision over Oklahoma in the Game of the Century in 1971. Rodgers returned eight punts or kickoffs for touchdowns, which is tied for the FBS all-time lead, and averaged 13.8 yards each time he touched the ball. He is Nebraska's all-time leader with 25 touchdown catches and 1,515 punt return yards.
40. Marcus Allen (RB, USC, 1978-81)
Rushing yards: 4,682 El | Yards per carry: 5.2 | Rushing TDs: 45
The most difficult accomplishment of Allen's Trojan career may have been winning the starting tailback job. He showed enough promise to make head coach John Robinson move another running back named Ronnie Lott to defense. As a sophomore in 1979, Allen played fullback, opening holes for Charles White as he won the Heisman. Robinson never hid his offensive strategy: give the ball to a bell-cow back, put him behind a physical offensive line, and voila. As a senior in 1981, Allen reaped the benefits. Robinson gave him the ball 403 times — more than 36 carries per game — and Allen gained nearly 6 yards per rush. He beat Herschel Walker for a Heisman. Enough said.
41. Charles Woodson (DB, Michigan, 1995-97)
Interceptions: 18 | Tackles: 162 | Total TDs: 6
The Wolverines' 20-14 victory over rival Ohio State encapsulated Woodson's Heisman Trophy-winning campaign in 1997. He set up Michigan's only offensive touchdown with a 37-yard catch in the first quarter, scored on a 78-yard punt return in the second, and intercepted a pass in the end zone in the third. Woodson's versatility and big-play ability allowed him to become the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman since the sport moved to a two-platoon system in the early 1960s. As a junior, Woodson had eight interceptions with 43 tackles, while catching 11 passes for 231 yards with one score. A two-time All-American, he won the Heisman, Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award in 1997. Most importantly, he helped the Wolverines win their first national title since 1948.
42. Lawrence Taylor (LB, North Carolina, 1977-80) Sacks: 21 | Tackles for loss: 33 | Tackles: 192
Taylor spent his first two injury-plagued seasons at North Carolina playing inside linebacker and nose guard. After the UNC coaches moved him to outside linebacker before his junior season, Taylor dominated the opposition like few players before or after him. During his senior season in 1980, he set a UNC record with 16 sacks to go with six other tackles for loss and 69 tackles in total. He was a unanimous All-American and ACC Player of the Year. The Tar Heels finished 11-1 and claimed their last ACC title in 1980.
43. Jim Plunkett (QB, Stanford, 1968-70)
Passing yards: 7,544 | TD passes: 52 | Total offense: 7,887 yards
As a freshman, Plunkett pushed back when head coach John Ralston wanted to move him to defensive end. As a senior, Plunkett won the 1970 Heisman. He set a Stanford career record with 53 passing touchdowns that would stand until John Elway broke it 12 years later. Plunkett might have won the Heisman only because the favorite, Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning, broke his left arm late in the season. But Plunkett showed his worth, leading a Cinderella team to the Pac-8 championship and the Rose Bowl (where No. 12 Stanford knocked off No. 2 Ohio State 27-17). He had a Cinderella story of his own: The son of blind Mexican American parents, Plunkett became a great American success story.
44. Jack Tatum (DB, Ohio State, 1968-70)
Woody Hayes recruited Tatum to Ohio State as a running back, but moved him to defensive back — at the behest of assistant coach Lou Holtz — shortly after he arrived. Tatum was one of the most feared hitters and tacklers in the country as a safety. As one of OSU's "Super Sophomores" in 1968, Tatum helped lead the Buckeyes to a 10-0 record, Rose Bowl victory and national championship. OSU was 27-2 and won at least a share of three straight Big Ten titles in Tatum's three seasons. Tatum was a two-time All-American and placed seventh in Heisman voting as a senior.
45. Adrian Peterson (RB, Oklahoma, 2004-06)
Rushing yards: 4,045 | Rushing TDs: 41 | 100-yard games: 22
In the long line of outstanding backs who grew up in Texas and starred at Oklahoma, Peterson can make a strong case as the greatest. He arrived with a tailor-made nickname: "AD," for "All Day." Peterson brought size, speed and endurance to an Oklahoma offense then better known for putting up big passing numbers. Few freshmen in modern memory have made their presence known the way Peterson did. The Sooners hopped on his back and rode to the BCS Championship Game, where they got steamrolled by USC. It's easy to believe that if Peterson had not come along during the Trojan Dynasty, he would have been another in the long line of Sooners who won the Heisman.
46. Larry Fitzgerald (WR, Pitt, 2002-03)
Receptions: 161 | Receiving yards: 2,677 | TDs: 34
The son of a Minnesota sports writer, Fitzgerald had his hands on a football at an early age as a Vikings ball boy. In just two seasons at Pittsburgh, Fitzgerald made his mark as one of the greatest pass-catchers in FBS history. He averaged 16.6 yards per catch and set an FBS record with at least one TD in 18 consecutive games. He finished second in 2003 Heisman Trophy voting, the highest finish for a receiver since Michigan's Desmond Howard won in 1991. Fitzgerald won the Walter Camp and Biletnikoff awards and was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2003. Before leaving for the 2004 NFL draft, he set or tied four FBS, eight Big East and 11 Pitt records.
47. Howard "Hopalong" Cassady (RB, Ohio State, 1952-55)
Rushing yards: 2,374 | Touchdowns: 37 | Return yards: 1,293
Woody Hayes once said of his 172-pound star that Cassady excelled because he made the right move instead of the instinctive move; that is, he ran through the hole and got upfield rather than slanting toward the sidelines to elude tacklers. Oh, don't worry, Cassady eluded tacklers just fine, averaging 6 yards per carry on 349 rushes in his last three seasons in a Buckeyes uniform. He was also a ball hawk in the defensive backfield, making 10 career picks. As a senior in 1955, Cassady rushed for 146 yards in Ohio State's 17-0 victory at Michigan, Hayes' first victory in the Big House. More importantly, the win sealed Cassady's victory in the Heisman vote.
48. Dave Rimington (C, Nebraska, 1979-82)
If you ever participate in a debate on the best Husker offensive lineman ever, you'd do well to draw Rimington's name out of the hat. In 1982, when Nebraska averaged more than 500 yards and 40 points per game, on an offense that included ballhandling stars such as quarterback Turner Gill, backs Mike Rozier and Roger Craig, and wide receiver Irving Fryar, the 6-3, 275-pound Rimington won the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year award. Rimington remains the only two-time Outland winner (1981, 1982), a record likely to remain as safe as Archie Griffin winning two Heismans. He also took home the Lombardi Award in 1982. Rimington was not only a two-time All-American, but also a two-time Academic All-American as well.
49. Eric Dickerson (RB, SMU, 1979-82)
Rushing yards: 4,450 | Rushing TDs: 47 | Yards per carry: 5.6
Dickerson is remembered as Exhibit A for the lawlessness that ruled the Southwest Conference in the early 1980s. In a league where everyone cheated, SMU flaunted its disregard for the NCAA manual. That scandal continues to overshadow just how good a running back Dickerson became. He rushed for 4,450 yards and 47 touchdowns. The 1982 consensus All-American is SMU's all-time leader in rushing yards, total TDs and 100-yard rushing games. The only reason that Dickerson never won the Heisman is that he had the misfortune of playing at the same time as Marcus Allen and Herschel Walker. And he shared SMU's Pony Express backfield with Craig James. It may be the only example in Dickerson's college football career of poor timing.
50. Archie Manning (QB, Ole Miss, 1968-70)
Passing yards: 4,753 | Touchdowns: 56 | Rushing yards: 823
With a strong arm, crazy legs and an aw-shucks smile, Manning signed a lifelong lease in the hearts of not just Ole Miss football fans, but fans throughout the south. After Manning arrived on the scene in Oxford by leading a 10-8 upset of Alabama in 1968, ABC Sports moved the Rebels' game at Alabama in 1969 to early-season prime time. Manning gained 540 yards of total offense, an SEC record that stood for more than three decades, in a 33-32 loss. The valiant effort in a losing cause resonated in a state that venerated its Civil War heritage. As a senior in 1970, Manning led the Rebels to a 5-1 start and a No. 13 ranking before suffering a broken arm against Houston. He didn't win the Heisman, but being a folk hero turned out just fine.
51. Orlando Pace (T, Ohio State, 1996-96)
In three seasons with the Buckeyes, Pace earned the moniker "Pancake Man" for his uncanny ability to flatten opponents and leave them lying on their backs. Pace was a unanimous All-American in 1995 and 1996, became the first player in history to win the Lombardi Award as a sophomore, and was the first repeat Lombardi winner. As a junior in 1996, he finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, the highest finish by a lineman since 1980, and won the Outland Trophy. He didn't allow a sack in his final two seasons and had 80 pancake blocks as a junior. He was the No. 1 pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1997 NFL draft.
52. Floyd Little (RB, Syracuse, 1964-66)
Rushing yards: 2,704 | Yards per carry: 5.4 | Touchdowns: 46
Little, who majored in religion and history and returned to Syracuse to earn a master's degree while playing in the NFL, once said, "God gave you two ends. One to sit on, one to think with. Heads you win, tails you lose." God also gave Little remarkable speed and athleticism. In 30 career games with the Orange, the three-time All-American scored 46 total touchdowns and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. He had 216 rushing yards in an 18-12 loss to Tennessee in the 1966 Gator Bowl. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1965 and '66.
53. Tim Brown (WR/KR, Notre Dame, 1984-87)
All-purpose yards: 5,024 | Receiving yards: 2,493 | Touchdowns: 22
As Brown's senior season began, he had proven himself to be a dependable receiver and kick returner on an undependable team. The Fighting Irish, in Brown's first three seasons, went 17-17. But as 1987 began, second-year head coach Lou Holtz had begun to put his imprint on this team. On the second Saturday night of the season, Brown returned a punt for a touchdown against Michigan State. Four plays later, he did it again. The performance, televised on ESPN, thrust Brown to the front of the Heisman Trophy race, and no one ever caught him. Brown averaged 21.7 yards per catch and finished with 1,847 all-purpose yards in 1987 and earned All-America honors for the second straight season.
54. Tommy Nobis (LB, Texas, 1963-65)
After watching Nobis suffocate Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Roger Staubach in a 28-6 victory over Navy in the 1964 Cotton Bowl, Army coach Paul Dietzel called Nobis "the finest linebacker I've ever seen in college." Nobis was the only sophomore starter on Texas' 1963 national championship team — and he still played both ways, at linebacker and guard, after the rules were changed in 1964 to allow two-platoon football. As a junior, Nobis made one of the most famous tackles in Orange Bowl history, stopping Alabama's Joe Namath at the goal line on fourth-and-inches to preserve UT's 21-17 decision. Nobis was a two-time All-American in 1964 and '65, averaged nearly 20 tackles per game and won the Outland Trophy and Maxwell Award as a senior.
55. Bruce Smith (DE, Virginia Tech, 1981-84)
Sacks: 46 | Tackles for loss: 71
He didn't play football until his sophomore year at Booker T. Washington High in Norfolk. As a senior, he made all-state. By the time he left Blacksburg four years later, the 6-4, 275-pound Smith had redefined the position of college defensive end. He became among the first to bring a linebacker's speed to the defensive line, and pity the poor offensive tackles who tried to do something about him. He had 22 of those sacks in his breakout junior season, 1983, before becoming a consensus All-American and Outland Trophy winner as a senior. He remains, 35 years later, the best player ever to put on a Hokies uniform.
56. Pete Dawkins (RB, Army, 1956-58)
Rushing yards: 1,123 | Receiving yards: 719 | Touchdowns: 26
At 11, Dawkins contracted polio and was went through a then-unconventional treatment of aggressive physical therapy. He was an all-league quarterback and captain of the baseball team at the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and was accepted to Yale and the U.S. Military Academy. He chose to play for the Black Knights. During his senior season in 1958, after leading his team to an unbeaten campaign, he won the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Trophy and was a unanimous All-American, a Rhodes Scholar, president of his senior class, and ranking cadet officer. During a 24-year military career, Dawkins rose to the rank of brigadier general and was honored with the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars for Valor, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
57. Ricky Williams (RB, Texas, 1995-98)
Rushing yards: 6,279 | Rushing TDs: 72 | Yards per carry: 6.21
After Williams surprised nearly everyone by announcing he would return for his senior season, instead of entering the NFL draft, newly hired Longhorns coach Mack Brown said, "We have just had a successful recruiting class. This is our first signee. He's the best football player in the country returning next year." Williams was exactly that during the 1998 season, winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. He left Texas as the NCAA's all-time leading rusher with 6,279 yards and posted three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He set 21 NCAA records, including all-purpose yards (7,206) and rushing touchdowns (72). The two-time unanimous All-American is the only player in FBS history with consecutive 300-yard rushing games.
58. Ronnie Lott (DB, USC, 1977-80)
Tackles: 250 | Interceptions: 14 | Fumble recoveries: 10
The Trojans recruited Lott and 1981 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen to play safety or running back. USC coach John Robinson thought Lott was the better tackler, so he ended up in the Trojans' secondary, where he became one of the most feared hitters in the sport's history. As a sophomore in 1978, Lott helped the Trojans go 12-1 and win a share of a national title. USC went 11-0-1 and was ranked No. 2 the next season. Lott was a unanimous All-American in 1980 and later won four Super Bowl championships with the San Francisco 49ers. The Lott IMPACT Trophy is given to the sport's impact defensive player each season.
59. Alan Page (DE, Notre Dame, 1964-66)
Tackles: 134 | Fumble recoveries: 4
Page was 8 years old when the U.S. Supreme Court ended school segregation with its landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954. "That had a tremendous impact on me," Page once said. "If the law had the power to end segregation — and by extension, discrimination — it had the power to change a lot, and that captured me." Page was a consensus All-American at Notre Dame in 1966, when he helped the Fighting Irish win a national championship. In 30 games from 1964-66, the Irish defense had 12 shutouts and allowed only 188 points, an average of 6.3 points. While playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Page graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School. He became the first African American justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992.
60. Ernie Nevers (RB, Stanford, 1923-25)
Legendary coach Pop Warner once called Nevers the "greatest football player of all time" — even better than Jim Thorpe, whom Warner also coached. One thing is certain: Few players were as tough as Nevers, who played in the 1925 Rose Bowl with two injured ankles, which had both been broken earlier in the season. Nevers ran for 114 yards on 34 carries in the Cardinal's 27-10 loss to Notre Dame, which was only 13 fewer yards than the combined total of the famed Four Horsemen. During his senior season in 1925, Nevers handled the ball on all but three plays of Stanford's 24-17 upset of California, its first win in the rivalry in eight years.
61. Reggie Bush (RB, USC, 2005)
Rushing yards: 3,169 | Receiving yards: 1,301 | All-purpose yards 6,617
Few players in history left indelible marks during — and after — their college careers the way Bush did. He won the 2005 Heisman Trophy in a landslide, only to voluntarily give it back five years later after the Trojans were placed on NCAA probation following allegations that Bush and his family received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from two marketing agents while he played for the Trojans. USC won 34 straight games and two national titles during Bush's sensational three-year career. In 2005, he ran for 1,740 yards, scored 19 touchdowns and helped the Trojans reach the national championship game.
62. Joe Greene (DT, North Texas, 1966-68)
In the east Texas of the early 1960s, not even a Joe Greene could break through the color line erected by the Southwest Conference. Texas A&M coach Gene Stallings tried to convince the Aggies' administration to bring Greene to College Station. Greene went to North Texas State, as it was then known. He co-opted the Mean Green's nickname, and by his senior season, the 6-foot-4, 274-pound Greene had dominated his competition so thoroughly that he made the All-America team despite playing in the Missouri Valley Conference. He remains North Texas' only All-American.
63. Ndamukong Suh (DL, Nebraska, 2005-09)
Tackles: 214 | Sacks: 24 | Interceptions: 4
As a senior in 2009, Suh delivered perhaps the greatest statistical season of any defensive lineman in history. In 14 games, Suh had 85 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 24 quarterback hurries, 10 pass breakups, three blocked kicks and one interception. In a controversial 13-12 loss to Texas in the Big 12 championship game, he recorded 4.5 sacks and 12 tackles, including seven for loss. He is the only defensive player to win Associated Press Player of the Year, and he claimed the Outland, Lombardi, Bednarik and Nagurski honors as a senior. Suh finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. "I thought he was the best football player in the United States that year, and I'll take that to my grave," said Bo Pelini, Suh's coach at Nebraska.
64. Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford, 2009-11)
Passing yards: 9,430 | Passing efficiency: 162.8 | Touchdown passes: 82
Here's how much impact Luck had on Stanford's football program: When Luck departed for the NFL draft after his junior season, an anonymous donor endowed the team's offensive coordinator and changed the job title to the Andrew Luck Director of Offense. Before Luck took over Stanford's offense in 2009, the Cardinal had suffered seven straight losing seasons. Luck went 31-7 as a starter in three seasons, his teams spent 22 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll, and he played in two New Year's Six bowl games. The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year left Stanford as the all-time leader in touchdown passes (82), completion percentage (.687), passing efficiency (162.76) and total offense (10,387 yards).
65. Tom Harmon (RB, Michigan, 1938-40)
Rushing yards: 2,110 | Total offense: 3,410 yards | Touchdowns: 33
Harmon's final college game was his masterpiece. Against rival Ohio State, Harmon ran 25 times for 139 yards with three touchdowns, passed for 151 yards with two more scores, kicked four extra points, returned three kickoffs for 81 yards, intercepted three passes and averaged 50 yards on three punts. In all, he played all but 38 seconds and had 371 total yards in Michigan's 40-0 rout of the Buckeyes. He won the 1940 Heisman Trophy and led the nation in scoring and all-purpose yards in 1939 and '40. In World War II, Harmon joined the Army Air Corps and received the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
66. Randy Moss (WR, Marshall, 1996-97)
Receptions: 168 | Receiving yards: 3,467 | Total TDs: 54
Moss suffered two punishing blows early in his college career, and he not only stayed on his feet but also excelled, which surprises exactly no one who ever saw him play. He signed to play at Notre Dame, but after he got into a high school fight that resulted in a misdemeanor assault conviction, the university refused to admit him. Moss transferred to Florida State, but after a positive test for marijuana, he got booted out of there, too. Then Moss went to FCS Marshall, near his West Virginia home, and he set four NCAA freshman records as the most dangerous player on a 15-0 national championship team. The next season, when Marshall moved to the FBS, Moss proved that no one at that level could guard him, either. He won the Biletnikoff Award in 1997.
Former Pittsburgh quarterback Dan Marino recalls converting a couple of fourth downs and defeating Georgia in the 1982 Sugar Bowl.
67. Dan Marino (QB, Pitt, 1979-82)
Passing yards: 7,905 | Touchdowns: 74 | Pass efficiency rating: 129.7
Legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden called Marino "a pro quarterback in college, really," and Penn State's Joe Paterno said Marino was the best college quarterback he'd ever coached against. At 6-foot-4 with a lightning-quick release, Marino surely looked like an NFL quarterback. The Panthers went 42-6 in Marino's four seasons, finishing as the country's No. 2 team twice. As a junior in 1981, Marino completed 59% of his passes for 2,615 yards with a best-in-the-nation 34 touchdown passes. He finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. In the 1982 Sugar Bowl, Marino threw a 33-yard touchdown to tight end John Brown with 35 seconds left to defeat Georgia 24-20.
68. Mike Rozier (RB, Nebraska, 1981-83)
Rushing yards: 4,780 | Rushing TDs: 49 | Yards per carry: 7.2
Nebraska coach Tom Osborne wouldn't have had to wait until 1994 to win his first national championship if the Cornhuskers hadn't failed to convert a 2-point conversion with 48 seconds left in a 31-30 loss to Miami in the 1984 Orange Bowl. What's more, Nebraska might not have needed the two points if Rozier hadn't sprained his ankle early in the third quarter. He ran for 147 yards before leaving for good. As a senior in 1983, Rozier rewrote the school record book, with 2,148 yards and 29 touchdowns, averaging nearly 8 yards per carry. He ran for more than 200 yards in each of his last four regular-season games and won the Heisman Trophy.
69. Jack Ham (LB, Penn State, 1968-70)
Tackles: 251 | Blocked kicks: 4
One of the players who gave Penn State the name Linebacker U came to State College as an afterthought, getting a scholarship in Joe Paterno's second signing class only after a recruit who had committed to the Nittany Lions went elsewhere. By the end of his freshman year, however, the quiet, hardworking Ham had established himself as the bell cow of the recruiting class. In Ham's three seasons on the varsity squad, Penn State went 29-3. All three losses came in his senior season, when the All-American made 91 tackles, intercepted four passes and blocked three kicks.
Former Florida running back Emmitt Smith recalls rushing for 224 yards and two touchdowns vs. Alabama in his first career start for the Gators.
70. Emmitt Smith (RB, Florida, 1987-89)
Rushing yards: 3,928 | Rushing TDs: 36 | All-purpose yards: 4,391
Regardless of the level, the diminutive Smith stood taller than most on the football field. At Escambia High School in Pensacola, Florida, Smith scored 109 touchdowns and ran for 8,804 yards, the second-highest total in U.S. prep history. In three seasons at Florida, he set 58 school records and ran for 3,928 yards with 36 touchdowns. After 15 seasons as a pro, Smith retired as the NFL's all-time leader, with 18,355 rushing yards and 164 rushing touchdowns. As a freshman with the Gators in 1987, he ran for 1,341 yards and finished ninth in Heisman voting. Two years later, he was a unanimous All-American after he set a Florida record with 1,599 yards.
71. Derrick Thomas (LB, Alabama, 1985-88)
Tackles: 204 | Tackles for loss: 68 | Sacks: 52
For two seasons, Thomas played with Cornelius Bennett. The next two seasons, Thomas played like him. As a senior, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Thomas made 39 tackles for loss, 27 of them sacks, and added 44 quarterback hurries. His tackles behind the line of scrimmage tally is a record that might never be matched. Put it this way: Thirty-one seasons later — after a period in which the Crimson Tide have won six national championships and put 23 consensus All-American defenders on the field — no Alabama player has come within 12 of Thomas' mark of 39 tackles for loss in a season. He was named All-American and won the Butkus Award in 1988.
72. Cornelius Bennett (LB, Alabama, 1983-86)
Tackles: 287 | Tackles for loss: 41 | Sacks: 21.5
For all that Bennett accomplished in his Hall of Fame career, he remains best known among fans of Alabama (and Notre Dame) for his blindside, first-quarter sack of Fighting Irish quarterback Steve Beuerlein in 1986. Bennett blitzed and launched his 6-foot-4, 235-pound body at Beuerlein's torso. The sack forced a fumble, gave Beuerlein a concussion and was memorialized by artist Daniel Moore in a painting. Alabama won the game 28-10, marking the Tide's first victory over the Irish in five tries. Bennett had nine more sacks in his senior season, finished with 19 tackles for loss, won the Lombardi Award and was named All-American.
73. Lee Roy Jordan (LB, Alabama, 1960-62)
With President John F. Kennedy watching from the stands, Jordan might have produced the greatest individual performance in a bowl game in Alabama's 17-0 shutout of Oklahoma in the 1963 Orange Bowl. The Sooners ran 60 offensive plays in the game — and Jordan was involved in 31 tackles (15 solo stops and 16 assists). During his three seasons, the Crimson Tide went 29-2-2. The 1961 Alabama team went undefeated and won a national title. The Jordan-led defense posted six shutouts and allowed 2.3 points per game. Jordan finished fourth in Heisman voting in 1962.
74. LaDainian Tomlinson (RB, TCU, 1997-2000)
Rushing yards: 5,263 | Yards per carry: 5.8 | Rushing TDs: 54
Even after Tomlinson set school records with 2,554 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior at Waco's University High, Texas and Texas A&M thought he was too small and too slow. L.T. had to wait two years to show what he could do at TCU. Early in his junior season, he ran for 269 yards against Arkansas State and 300 against San Jose State. Against UTEP, he set an NCAA record with 406 yards on 43 carries with six touchdowns. He led the FBS in rushing with 1,850 yards in 1999 and became the first back in TCU history to run for more than 2,000 yards, with 2,158 as a senior. His 5,263 career rushing yards total ranked sixth in NCAA history at the time. He finished fourth in 2000 Heisman voting and won the Doak Walker Award.
75. Bobby Layne (QB, Texas, 1944-47)
Passing yards: 3,145 | Total offense: 3,990 yards | Interceptions by: 11
Layne was so good as a freshman at Texas that another heralded recruit, future Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle, transferred to LSU after only two weeks of preseason camp. Layne led the Longhorns to within one point of a Southwest Conference title as a freshman and returned from the Merchant Marines the next season to win an SWC championship. In the 1946 Cotton Bowl, Layne completed 11 of 12 passes, rushed for three touchdowns, passed for two and caught another one in a 40-27 victory over Missouri. As a senior, he guided UT to a 10-1 record and 27-0 shutout of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Former Florida QB Tim Tebow recalls his famous speech, "The Promise."
76. Tim Tebow (QB, Florida, 2006-09)
Passing yards: 9,285 | Rushing yards: 2,947 | Total TDs: 145 (88 pass/57 rush)
Few players were as beloved by their fan bases as Tebow, a three-time Heisman Trophy finalist who helped the Gators win a BCS national championship as a freshman in 2006. The next season, he became the first sophomore to win the Heisman, throwing for 3,286 yards with 32 touchdowns and running for 895 yards with 23 scores. He became the first player in FBS history to run and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season. As a junior, Tebow led Florida to another national title, defeating Oklahoma 24-14 in the BCS championship game. The two-time All-American broke five NCAA, 14 SEC and 28 Florida records, including career passing efficiency (170.8), completion percentage (67.1) and rushing yards by a quarterback (2,947). He won the Davey O'Brien Award in 2007 and the Maxwell Award in 2007 and '08.
77. Alan Ameche (RB, Wisconsin, 1951-54)
Rushing yards: 3,212 | Yards per carry: 4.8 | Touchdowns: 25
Ameche was born Lino Dante Amici to Italian parents, but at the age of 16, he decided his name wasn't tough enough. But there was never any concern about The Horse's toughness on the football field. By Ameche's senior season, the 220-pound fullback needed special shoulder pads. He was the first freshman to lead the Big Ten in rushing, and he led the Badgers to a co-Big Ten title and their first Rose Bowl as a sophomore. As a senior, he was a unanimous All-American and won the Heisman Trophy. He ran for 3,212 yards during his Wisconsin career, an NCAA record at the time, and scored 25 touchdowns. He ran for 100 or more yards in 17 games.
78. Mike Ditka (TE, Pitt, 1958-60)
Receptions: 45 | Receiving yards: 730 | TDs: 7
Former Pittsburgh coach Foge Fazio, one of Ditka's teammates with the Panthers, once compared him to a prizefighter: "He just couldn't wait for the bell to ring and get back out there." Ditka once punched two Pitt guards in the huddle during a game because he didn't think they were playing hard enough. That was never a problem for Ditka, who led Pitt in receptions for three straight years and was a menacing defensive lineman and punter. He also played on Pitt's baseball and basketball teams and was an intramural wrestling champion.
79. John Hannah (G, Alabama, 1970-72)
Hannah weighed 10.5 pounds at birth, and family members joked that his mother fed him hamburger, instead of baby food, as a toddler. When Hannah signed with the Crimson Tide, he was the heaviest player Paul "Bear" Bryant had ever recruited. Hannah was also the best lineman to ever play at Alabama, earning All-America honors in 1971 and '72 and winning the Jacobs Award as the sport's best blocker as a senior. Hannah played 13 seasons for the New England Patriots and was named to the all-time NFL team.
80. Merlin Olsen (DL, Utah State, 1959-61)
A ferocious defender on the field and a gentle giant off it, Olsen was a two-time All-American at Utah State and won the Outland Trophy as the sport's best interior lineman as a senior in 1961. He finished 10th in Heisman voting that season. He was also honored by the National Football Foundation as one of the country's top scholar athletes. In the NFL, Olsen was part of the Los Angeles Rams' "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line. He is perhaps best known for his acting roles on TV shows such as " Little House on the Prairie" and "Father Murphy." In 2009, Utah State announced that the field at Romney Stadium (now Maverik Stadium) would be named in Olsen's honor.
81. Vince Young (QB, Texas, 2003-05)
Passing yards: 6,040 | Rushing yards: 3,127 | Total TDs: 81 (37 rush/44 pass)
Young won his final 20 games at Texas but is synonymous for one moment in time: his fourth-down touchdown run with 19 seconds left in a 41-38 victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl, which gave the Longhorns their first national title in 35 years. It was one of the greatest individual performances in the sport's history: 267 passing yards and 200 rushing yards to end USC's 34-game winning streak and deny the Trojans a third straight national title. In 2005, Young became the first FBS player to throw for more than 3,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He finished as the Heisman runner-up. A year earlier, he was the Rose Bowl MVP after running for 192 yards and four touchdowns while passing for 180 yards and another score in a 38-37 win over Michigan.
82. Ron Dayne (RB, Wisconsin, 1996-99)
Rushing yards: 6,397 | Rushing yards per game: 148.8 | Rushing TDs: 63
The Great Dayne weighed nearly 270 pounds coming out of high school, and Wisconsin was the only school that recruited him as a primary ball carrier. His four-year rushing totals: 1,863 yards as a freshman, 1,421 as a sophomore, 1,279 as a junior and 1,834 as a senior. He finished his collegiate career with 6,397 yards (7,125 including bowl stats), an NCAA record that still stands two decades later. He had 11 games with 200 or more yards, which is tied for most in FBS history. In his final two seasons, Dayne led the Badgers to back-to-back Rose Bowl victories, running for a combined 446 yards in victories over UCLA and Stanford. He's the only Big Ten player to win consecutive Rose Bowl MVP awards. In 1999, he became Wisconsin's second Heisman Trophy winner.
83. Fred Biletnikoff (WR, Florida State, 1962-64)
Receptions: 87 | Receiving yards: 1,463 | Touchdowns: 16
Biletnikoff gave few signs early in his career that he would become one of the legendary wide receivers in the game. But as a senior in 1964, paired with his classmate, quarterback Steve Tensi, Biletnikoff caught 57 passes for 987 yards and 11 touchdowns to become Florida State's first consensus All-American. He added 13 catches for 192 yards and four touchdowns in a 36-19 rout of Oklahoma in the Gator Bowl that season. More importantly, Florida State beat Florida a) for the first time in seven attempts and b) on the Gators' first visit to Doak Campbell Stadium. Here's another way of knowing the impact Biletnikoff made: Florida State retired his No. 25 jersey when he graduated.
84. Adrian Peterson (RB, Georgia Southern, 1998-2001)
Rushing yards: 6,559 | Rushing TDs: 84 | Points: 524
The original A.P. set the NCAA record for rushing yards by a freshman with 1,932 in 1998 and finished his four-year career with 6,559, the most in Division I history. He ran for 100 or more yards in 48 consecutive games, leading the Eagles to three national championship appearances, including back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000. The four-time FCS All-American holds Georgia Southern and Southern Conference records for career rushing attempts (996), rushing touchdowns (84) and points (524), among others. He was the first sophomore to win the Walter Payton Award as the FCS Player of the Year.
85. Ted Hendricks (DL, Miami, 1966-68)
Tackles: 327 | Fumble recoveries: 12 | Interceptions: 2
Born in Guatemala, the "Mad Stork" was a menacing defensive end who earned unanimous All-America honors in 1967 and '68. He finished his Miami career with 327 tackles and an average of 109 per season. As a senior, he was named UPI National Lineman of the Year and finished fifth in Heisman voting. During his junior season, he caused nine turnovers, and he set a Miami record with 12 fumble recoveries in his career. Since 2002, the Ted Hendricks Award has been given to the best defensive end in the FBS.
86. Otto Graham (QB, Northwestern, 1941-43)
Passing yards: 2,181 | Rushing yards: 823 | Passing TDs: 15
Graham arrived at Northwestern on a basketball scholarship but made his mark in football. He was an All-American in football in 1943 and in basketball the next year. He played violin, French horn and cornet, and he graduated early to join the navy during World War II. Playing left halfback in a single-wing offense, Graham amassed 1,327 yards of offense in 1942, a school record that stood for two decades. He scored 61 points in 1943, a Northwestern record that lasted 43 years. In Graham's 10 seasons as the Cleveland Browns' quarterback, his teams won seven league titles and were runners-up three times.
87. Steve Young (QB, BYU, 1981-83)
Passing yards: 7,733 | Rushing yards: 1,084 | Total TDs: 74 (56 passing/18 rushing)
Before the left-handed Young won three Super Bowl titles with the San Francisco 49ers, he was a dangerous dual-threat quarterback at BYU. As a senior in 1983, Young led the Cougars to an 11-1 record and victory in the Holiday Bowl. He set a BYU single-season record by completing 71.3% of his passes for 3,802 yards with 33 touchdowns. He also ran for 444 yards and eight scores. He was the Heisman Trophy runner-up and won the Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien awards. Young finished his BYU career with 7,733 passing yards and 56 touchdowns while running for 1,084 yards and 18 scores.
88. Leon Hart (E, Notre Dame, 1946-49)
Receiving yards: 742 | TD catches: 13
Hart was the last lineman to win the Heisman Trophy in 1949, but his greatest legacy might be that the Fighting Irish never lost a game during his four-year career. In Hart's time, Notre Dame went 36-0-2 and won national titles in 1946, '47 and '49. The Irish finished second in 1948. Hart was a three-time All-American and won the Maxwell Award in his final season. His biggest play came against USC in 1948, when he caught a short pass and broke no fewer than eight tackles to score a 35-yard touchdown to tie the Trojans 14-14 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
89. Jerry Robinson (LB, UCLA, 1975-78)
Tackles: 468 | Interception returns for TDs: 3
Robinson started his college career as a wide receiver, but Bruins coach Dick Vermeil persuaded him to move to inside linebacker just before the Rose Bowl at the end of Robinson's freshman campaign. The next season, Robinson had 28 tackles against Air Force. He had 23 against USC in 1977. He finished his UCLA career with a school-record 468 tackles, which is the second-highest school total today. Robinson was a three-time All-American, and the Downtown Athletic Club of New York named him linebacker of the year in 1977 and '78.
90. George Gipp (B, Notre Dame, 1917-20)
Rushing yards: 2,341 | Passing yards: 1,769 | Touchdowns: 21
Even if you don't believe the fabled details of Gipp's impassioned plea to legendary Fighting Irish coach Knute Rockne from his deathbed in 1920, which Rockne shared with his team during his famous "Win one for the Gipper" speech eight years later, this much is undeniable: Gipp was Notre Dame's first All-American. In four seasons, he ran for 2,341 yards, a school record that stood until 1978. He also completed 93 passes for 1,769 yards and scored 156 points. He punted, kicked field goals and extra points, and returned kicks. He died from pneumonia at age 25. Gipp was a member of the inaugural College Football Hall of Fame class in 1951.
91. Steve Spurrier (QB, Florida, 1964-66)
Passing yards: 4,848 | Passing TDs: 36 | Total offense: 5,290 yards
Spurrier won the 1966 Heisman Trophy as Florida's quarterback and returned to his alma mater to coach the Gators to their first national title three decades later. He is one of only four men inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. As Florida's quarterback, Spurrier was an All-American twice. He passed for 4,848 yards with 36 touchdowns and averaged 40.3 yards punting during his career. As a senior, he waved off Florida's regular placekicker and booted a 40-yard field goal to beat Auburn 30-27.
92. Bill Fralic (T, Pitt, 1981-84)
When Fralic was in the eighth grade, he stood 6-foot-3 and weighed 235 pounds – before he started lifting weights. Then-Pitt coach Jackie Sherrill met Fralic at a golf course in 1977 and asked, "What college do you play for?" Fralic was a three-time All-American (unanimous in 1983 and '84) at Pitt and became the first offensive lineman to twice finish in the top 10 in voting for the Heisman Trophy, finishing eighth in 1983 and sixth in '84. According to Pitt's sports information department, the Panthers devised the term "pancake block" when tallying how many times Fralic put an opponent on his back.
93. Drew Brees (QB, Purdue, 1997-2000)
Passing yards: 11,792 | Passing TDs: 90 | Pass completions: 1,026
Brees started 29 games in high school and never lost. He led Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, to a state championship as a senior, but his only scholarship offers were from Purdue and Kentucky. By the time he was finished with the Boilermakers, he had established two NCAA, 13 Big Ten and 19 Purdue records. Brees was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He was the 2000 Maxwell Award winner and the Academic All-American of the Year. Brees still ranks first in Big Ten history in career completions (1,026) and passing yards (11,792), and he is second in touchdowns (90).
94. Alex Karras (DL, Iowa, 1955-57)
Perhaps best known as a commentator on Monday Night Football and for his acting roles in the TV sitcom "Webster" and film "Blazing Saddles," Karras was a menacing tackle at Iowa and for the Detroit Lions. The Gary, Indiana, native was the first Iowa player to earn first-team All-America honors in two seasons. The 1956 Iowa team won a Big Ten title and beat Oregon State 35-19 in the school's first Rose Bowl. In 1957, Karras won the Outland Trophy and was runner-up to Texas A&M's John David Crow in Heisman voting, marking the highest a tackle has ever finished.
95. Steve Owens (RB, Oklahoma, 1967-69)
Rushing yards: 3,867 | Touchdowns: 56
Owens was born in Gore, Oklahoma, and raised in Miami, Oklahoma, and he dreamed of playing for the Sooners. A bruising and powerful runner, Owens set what was then an NCAA record with 17 consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He also established NCAA career records for carries (905), rushing yards (3,867), touchdowns (56) and points (336). As a senior in 1969, Owens carried the ball 358 times for 1,523 yards and 23 touchdowns. He won the Heisman Trophy, despite the Sooners' finishing with a 6-4 record.
96. Charles White (RB, USC, 1976-79)
Rushing yards: 5,598 | Rushing TDs: 46 | All-purpose yards: 6,545
USC coach John Robinson once called White "the most competitive athlete I've ever seen." White's mental fortitude was on display in his final college game, the 1980 Rose Bowl, in which he carried the ball 39 times for 247 yards — while battling the flu — in a 17-16 victory over Ohio State. White accounted for 70 of USC's 80 yards on the game-winning drive, including a 1-yard touchdown run with 90 seconds to play. He won the 1979 Heisman Trophy after leading the country in rushing with 1,803 yards and 18 touchdowns. He ran for 100 or more yards in 31 games. USC went 42-6-1 and won three Rose Bowls during his career.
Jake Rowe of 247 Sports recalls Tommie Frazier breaking several tackles on a play for Nebraska in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.
97. Tommie Frazier (QB, Nebraska, 1992-95)
Passing yards: 3,521 | Total offense: 5,476 yards | Passing TDs: 43
"Touchdown Tommie" was the perfect fit for Nebraska coach Tom Osborne's offense, and he helped deliver Osborne's first national championships in back-to-back seasons in 1994 and '95. After the team dropped consecutive Orange Bowls in the 1992 and '93 seasons, Frazier's junior season in 1994 was nearly derailed by blood clots. But he was able to return from a seven-game layoff for the Orange Bowl, in which he led the Cornhuskers to a come-from-behind, 24-17 victory over Miami. The next season, Frazier had a memorable 75-yard touchdown run in the Cornhuskers' 62-24 rout of Florida in the Fiesta Bowl to win a second straight title. Frazier set a Big Eight record with a 33-3 record as a starter.
98. John Cappelletti (RB, Penn State, 1971-73)
Rushing yards: 2,639 | Rushing TDs: 29 | All-purpose yards: 3,735
Cappelletti is most remembered for his emotional Heisman Trophy acceptance speech in 1973, in which he belittled his football achievements compared to the fight his 11-year-old brother, Joey, endured while battling leukemia. A defensive back during his first two seasons at Penn State, Cappelletti moved to running back as a junior. He ran for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns in 1972 and had 1,522 yards with 17 scores as a senior. He had three straight 200-yard rushing games in the final month of the 1973 season, helping Penn State finish 12-0.
99. Anthony Munoz (OT, USC, 1976-79)
The 6-foot-6 Munoz, such a talented athlete that he pitched on the Trojan baseball team, opened holes for two future Heisman winners, Charles White and Marcus Allen. Yet Munoz might have been the greatest what-if on one of the great what-if teams in college football history. Munoz suffered a left knee injury in the 1979 season-opening 21-7 victory over Texas Tech and needed surgery. He missed the remainder of the regular season; surely he would have made a difference in the 21-21 tie with Stanford that prevented USC from sharing No. 1 with Alabama for a second straight season. In fewer than four months, however, Munoz, through sheer will and arduous rehab, returned to the field for the Rose Bowl. In that game, White rushed for 247 yards and, late in the game, the winning touchdown in USC's 17-16 defeat of Ohio State.
100. Rod Woodson (DB, Purdue, 1983-86)
Tackles: 445 | Interceptions: 11 | Kickoff return yards: 1,535
You could search long and hard for something Woodson couldn't do as a Boilermaker. He set 13 individual records while playing corner, returning kicks and taking reps at running back and wide receiver. He was named All-American in 1986. Oh, yeah, the 6-foot, 195-pound Woodson also set an NCAA record in the 60-meter hurdles and won five Big Ten track championships. The only thing Woodson didn't do on the football field? Go undefeated. The Boilermakers went 16-26-1 in his four seasons, which, if you think about it, makes Woodson's star shine even more brightly.
101. Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson, 2014-16)
Passing yards: 10,163 | Completion percentage: 67.4 | Passing TDs: 90
No player had a more integral role in establishing Clemson's recent dominance than Watson, who had a 32-3 record as a starter. He was at his best on the sport's biggest stage. He had 478 total yards with four touchdown passes in a 45-40 loss to Alabama in the CFP national championship after the 2015 season. The next year, he threw for 420 yards with three scores, including the game winner to Hunter Renfrow with one second left, to beat the Crimson Tide 35-31. It was Clemson's first national title in 35 years.
102. LaVar Arrington (LB, Penn State, 1997-99)
Sacks: 19 | Tackles for loss: 39
Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr offered Arrington perhaps the greatest compliment a linebacker can receive when he compared Arrington to Lawrence Taylor. "When you're standing on the sideline, as a coach, you just feel his presence out there," Carr said. "He's so fast, agile and competitive." In 1998, Arrington became the first sophomore to be named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after he totaled 65 tackles, 7 sacks and 2 interceptions. He was even better as a junior, with 72 tackles, 9 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. Arrington was named a consensus first-team All-American and won the Butkus Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award.
103. Sid Luckman (QB, Columbia, 1936-38)
Passing yards: 2,413 | Passing TDs: 20
As a highly recruited player from Brooklyn, New York, Luckman spurned about 40 programs to play at Columbia, which didn't offer athletic scholarships at the time. He paid his way by painting walls and washing dishes at a fraternity house. As the Lions' left halfback from 1936 to '38, Luckman completed 180 passes for 2,413 yards and 20 touchdowns. As a senior in 1938, he was named a consensus All-American, finished third in Heisman voting and made the cover of Time magazine. He is credited with pioneering the T-formation while playing quarterback for the Chicago Bears and winning four league championships.
104. Julius Peppers (DE, North Carolina, 1999-2001)
Sacks: 30.5 | Tackles for loss: 53
Peppers was a transcendent athlete who led the FBS in sacks in 2000 and also played 56 games for North Carolina's storied basketball program. In 2000, Peppers led the ACC and set a UNC single-season record with 24 tackles for loss. He averaged 1.9 tackles for loss per game, which ranks second in FBS history, and finished second in UNC history with 30.5 career sacks and 53 tackles for loss. He was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2001 and won the Bednarik and Lombardi awards, becoming the first Tar Heels defensive player to win a national college football award.
105. Junior Seau (LB, USC, 1988-89)
Tackles: 107 | Tackles for loss: 33
Because of academic restrictions, Seau played only two seasons for the Trojans, but he left an indelible mark. In 1989, he had 19 sacks and 27 tackles for loss and was named a unanimous All-American and the Pac-10 defensive player of the year. The Trojans went 19-4-1, won back-to-back conference titles and played in two Rose Bowls in his two seasons. After bypassing his senior season, Seau was the fifth pick of the 1990 NFL draft and played 20 seasons as a pro.
106. Doug Williams (QB, Grambling, 1974-77)
Passing yards: 8,411 | Total offense: 8,354 yards | Passing TDs: 93
Williams, from Zachary, Louisiana, broke glass ceilings throughout his playing career. As a senior at Grambling, he became the first quarterback from a historically black college to be named to the Associated Press All-America team. He became the first black quarterback chosen in the first round of the NFL draft when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made him the 17th pick in 1978, and he became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl when he led the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 decision over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. At Grambling, Williams was a two-time winner of the Black College Player of the Year award. He guided the Tigers to a 35-5 record as a starter and won three SWAC titles under Eddie Robinson. He set NCAA career records in passing yards (8,411) and touchdown passes (93).
107. Keith Jackson (TE, Oklahoma, 1984-87)
Receptions: 62 | Receiving yards: 1,470 | Yards per catch: 23.7
It is a tribute to Jackson that he received this honor as a tight end in the Sooner wishbone. No one in that offense caught many passes; Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer didn't much like to throw the ball. But give Switzer credit; he had a 6-foot-3, 248-pound player who had the speed, the moves and the hands to play tight end. To play him at any other position would have been a shame. Jackson played his best against archrival Nebraska: He recorded an 88-yard touchdown run in 1985, and in 1986, in the final 1:22, he caught a touchdown pass and a 41-yard pass to set up the winning field goal in a 20-17 Sooners victory. "I block, and I block, and I block," Jackson told Sports Illustrated after the game, "and we win and win and win. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't live for these moments."
108. Mike Singletary (LB, Baylor, 1977-80)
Tackles: 662 | Solo tackles: 351 | Tackles for loss: 103
Here's how much impact Singletary made on the Baylor program during his four seasons with the Bears: As soon as he graduated, the school created the Mike Singletary Award, which is given to the senior player who epitomizes "contribution to Baylor football while bringing honor to the school both on and off the field." That's exactly what Singletary, a menacing linebacker, did. He had 97 tackles as a freshman, a school-record 232 as a sophomore, 188 as a junior and 145 as a senior. His career total of 662 is a Baylor record. In 1978, he had 33 tackles against Arkansas and 31 against Ohio State. He was named All-Southwest Conference three times and first-team All-American twice.
109. John David Crow (RB, Texas A&M, 1955-57)
Rushing yards: 1,455 | Yards per carry: 4.9 | Touchdowns: 19
During coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's final season at Texas A&M in 1957, he told reporters, "If John David Crow doesn't win the Heisman Trophy, they ought to stop giving it." Crow was Bryant's only Heisman winner during his 36-year coaching career. Despite missing parts of three games because of injuries in 1957, Crow ran for 562 yards with six touchdowns, caught two passes and threw five scores. Plus, he had five interceptions on defense. As a junior in 1956, he played against rival Texas with a broken foot but still ran for a 27-yard touchdown and caught the go-ahead score in a 34-21 win, which was the Aggies' first over the Longhorns in Austin since 1922.
110. Steve McNair (QB, Alcorn State, 1991-94)
Passing yards: 14,496 | Passing TDs: 119 | Rushing yards: 2,327
A strong-armed and fleet-footed quarterback from tiny Mount Olive, Mississippi, Air McNair put Alcorn State, an HBCU with an enrollment of about 3,300 students, on the map during the early 1990s. He set FCS career records with 14,496 passing yards and 16,823 total yards. He threw 119 touchdowns and ran for 33 more. He finished third in Heisman voting and won the Payton Award as the top FCS player in 1994. Even more impressive, McNair brought his team back from 11 fourth-quarter deficits to win.
111. Mike Garrett (RB, USC, 1963-65)
Rushing yards: 3,221 | Touchdowns: 30 | Return yards: 1,198
If USC is truly "Tailback U.," Garrett launched the tradition by winning the school's first Heisman Trophy in 1965. Four other Trojans tailbacks would follow his path. (Reggie Bush later gave his back.) As a senior, Garrett led the country with 1,440 rushing yards with 17 touchdowns (two on punt returns). His career rushing total of 3,221 yards in three seasons broke a 15-year-old NCAA record. He also had 36 receptions, 43 punt returns, 30 kickoff returns, and threw six passes. In 1993, he was named USC's athletic director, a position he held until 2010.
112. Rich Glover (DL, Nebraska, 1970-72)
Tackles: 211 | Tackles for loss: 25
Legendary Nebraska coach Bob Devaney called Glover "the greatest defensive player I ever saw." The two-time All-American helped the Cornhuskers win back-to-back national titles in 1970 and '71. He is best remembered for making 22 tackles in Nebraska's 35-31 win over Oklahoma in the Game of the Century in 1971. As a senior, Glover had 100 tackles and nine tackles for loss. He was a consensus All-American, won the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy, and finished third in Heisman voting.
113. Billy Ray Smith Jr. (DE, Arkansas, 1979-82)
Tackles: 229 | Tackles for loss: 63
Smith was well aware of his father's legacy at Arkansas. Billy Ray Smith Sr. was a star tackle at Arkansas and spent 13 seasons in the NFL. It's why Smith waited until junior high to use his full birth name. Billy Ray Smith Jr. made his own legacy at Arkansas, however, lettering four years at defensive end and serving as team captain in 1982. He was a unanimous All-American in 1981 and '82 and set a school record with 63 tackles for loss in his career, to go with 229 tackles. Smith was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1983 as the fifth pick of the first round. He was the Chargers' team MVP in 1987.
114. Kenny Easley (DB, UCLA, 1977-80)
Tackles: 374 | Interceptions: 19
Racism died hard in the Virginia of the 1970s, which is why Easley fled Norfolk for the West Coast. He quickly established himself as a force in the Pac-10. In a league that featured the power running of USC and the West Coast offense of Stanford, Easley brought the size and speed necessary to deal with both. He made such a name for himself that by his senior season, his third consecutive as an All-American, Easley finished ninth in the Heisman voting, attracting five first-place votes.
115. Derrick Brooks (LB, Florida State, 1991-94)
Tackles: 274 | Sacks: 8.5 | Interceptions: 5
In many ways, Brooks might have been the greatest player that talent-rich Florida ever produced. At Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, he was an All-American and named National Defensive Player of the Year by USA Today. At Florida State, he was a two-time consensus All-American and helped lead the Seminoles to their first national championship in 1993. He finished his FSU career with 274 tackles, 8.5 sacks and five interceptions. Brooks spent his entire 14-year NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leading the franchise to its only world championship with a 48-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003.
116. Byron "Whizzer" White (RB, Colorado, 1935-37)
Rushing yards: 1,864 | Total offense: 2,538 yards | Touchdowns: 24
White excelled on the field and in the classroom at Colorado. In 1937, the Heisman runner-up led the nation in four major statistical categories: scoring, rushing, total offense and all-purpose yards. White's record-setting 246 all-purpose yards per game stood until Barry Sanders broke the mark in 1988. White was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and first in his class at Colorado. He became a Rhodes Scholar and was No. 1 in his class at Yale. White won two Bronze Stars in Pacific combat in World War II and in 1962 became the youngest man to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
117. Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon, 2012-14)
Passing yards: 10,796 | Passing TDs: 105 | Passing efficiency: 171.8
Mariota began his football journey in Honolulu, where he led Saint Louis School to the state championship during his senior year. After a redshirt season, Mariota became the first freshman to start at QB for Oregon in 22 years. He set records from Day 1. Mariota left Oregon as the career leader in completions (779), passing yards (10,796), total offense (13,033) and total touchdowns (134). But it was about more than stats for the 2014 Heisman winner. He led the Ducks to a 36-5 record over three seasons. Mariota guided Oregon to the first CFP national title game, where the Ducks fell short against Ohio State.
118. Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford, 2014-16)
All-purpose yards: 6,987 | Rushing yards: 3,922 | Touchdowns: 33
One of the most explosive offensive players in history, McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season all-purpose yards record (3,864) as a sophomore in 2015, when he had eight straight games with more than 200 total yards; finished runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting; and was a unanimous All-American and the AP player of the year. McCaffrey capped the season by setting a Rose Bowl record with 368 all-purpose yards in Stanford's 45-16 rout of Iowa. McCaffrey led the nation in all-purpose yards again (211.6 yards per game) as a junior, before declaring for the NFL draft. After being slowed by injuries in his final season, he was drafted No. 8 overall by the Carolina Panthers and quickly blossomed into one of the best players in the NFL, being named an All-Pro at two positions (RB, flex) this season.
119. Don Hutson (E, Alabama, 1932-34)
Receiving yards: 404 | Touchdowns: 3
Hutson was a receiver ahead of his time. He changed the way football was played. "Don had the most fluid motion you had ever seen when he was running," said Bear Bryant, who was the other end on the Tide team. "It looked like he was going just as fast as possible when all of a sudden he would put on an extra burst of speed and be gone." The 1934 All-American perfected catching the ball in traffic and made the end around a devastating threat. Hutson caught six passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in Alabama's 29-13 win over Stanford in the 1935 Rose Bowl.
120. Raghib "Rocket" Ismail (WR, Notre Dame, 1988-90)
Receiving yards: 1,565 | Return yards: 1,607 | All-purpose yards: 4,187
Versatile. Electric. And so very, very fast. Every return, catch or run by Rocket Ismail brought a mix of anticipation and excitement. "That may be the fastest guy I've ever seen," Michigan coach Bo Schembechler said after Ismail returned two kickoffs for TDs to lift the Irish to a 24-19 win over the Wolverines in 1989. "He's faster than the speed of sound. We couldn't tackle him." Not many could. The two-time first-team All-American helped the Irish to the 1988 national title and a 12-1 mark in 1989.
121. Jonathan Ogden (OT, UCLA, 1992-95)
Ogden combined size (6-8, 310) and strength (NCAA champion shot-putter) in a way that few offensive linemen have before or since. His coach, Terry Donahue, once told The (Baltimore) Sun that on his recruiting visit to the Ogden home in Washington, D.C., "I was just struck by how massive he really was." Donahue coaxed Ogden across the continent to Westwood, where he played on two Pac-10 championship teams; just as importantly (according to most Bruins), Ogden's teams went 4-0 against USC. In his last two seasons, Ogden not only helped make a two-time 1,000-yard rusher out of Karim Abdul-Jabbar, he also allowed a total of only two sacks. He was an All-American and won the Outland Trophy in 1995.
122. Warren Sapp (DL, Miami, 1992-94)
Tackles: 176 | Sacks: 19.5
After arriving on campus as a 6-foot-3, 232-pound tight end, Sapp blossomed into a force on the defensive line. In 1994, the now-284-pound defensive tackle became the first Miami player ever to win the Lombardi Award, given to the best college player, regardless of position. That season, he had 84 tackles; led the Hurricanes in sacks (10.5), tackles for loss (9.0) and quarterback pressures (25); was a consensus All-American; and finished sixth in the Heisman voting. His trash talking fit right in with the Hurricane greats too. He declared for the draft after that season and was selected No. 12 overall in the 1995 NFL draft.
123. Michael Vick (QB, Virginia Tech, 1999-2000)
Passing yards: 3,074 | Passing TDs: 20 | Yards per attempt: 9.79
Vick's name is forever linked with the brutal dogfighting operation that earned him a 23-month prison sentence and derailed his NFL career. It also overshadowed a short but game-changing college legacy. After arriving in Blacksburg from Newport News, Virginia, Vick spent a redshirt year on the scout team, as coach Frank Beamer had promised his high school coach. The next season, in 1999, Vick led the FBS in passing efficiency and tied Herschel Walker for the highest finish in Heisman voting (third) by a freshman, behind winner Ron Dayne and runner-up Joe Hamilton. Vick guided the Hokies to their first undefeated regular season in school history and first national championship appearance, in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State. While the Hokies lost 46-29, Vick's 43-yard touchdown run and a performance in which two FSU defenders tore ACLs attempting to tackle him are the enduring memories of the game. Vick became the first overall pick of the 2000 NFL draft.
Former Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey reminisces about Calvin Johnson's immediate impact as a freshman standout receiver.
124. Calvin Johnson (WR, Georgia Tech, 2004-06)
Receiving yards: 2,927 | TD receptions: 28 | Receptions: 178
It's not difficult to find Calvin Johnson's name in Georgia Tech's record book. Just look at the top of every record. The two-time first-team All-American leads the Yellow Jackets in eight categories, including receiving yards (2,927), touchdown passes (28) and 100-yard receiving games (13). The 2006 Biletnikoff Award winner's speed, hands, size and work ethic made him almost impossible to cover. He delivered unforgettable moments, too, including a one-handed catch against NC State and a game-winning snag against Clemson in 2004.
125. John Lattner (RB, Notre Dame, 1951-53)
Rushing yards: 1,724 | Interceptions by: 13 | Touchdowns: 20
Rushing. Receiving. Kickoff returns. Punting. Interceptions. Lattner did it all for the Irish on both sides of the ball — and the two-time All-American did it well. He carried the Irish to a 9-0-1 record and took home the Heisman Trophy in 1953. Although he did not lead Notre Dame in rushing, receiving or scoring in 1953, his versatility on both sides of the ball helped him claim the Heisman and a spot on the cover of Time. Lattner's 3,095 all-purpose yards topped Notre Dame's record book until Vagas Ferguson in 1979.
126. Ed Marinaro (RB, Cornell, 1969-71)
Rushing yards: 4,715 | Yards per carry: 5.1 | Rushing TDs: 50
It is up for debate as to whether Marinaro is the last great running back produced by the Ivy League. What is not up for debate are the numbers that illustrate his production. Marinaro remains one of only nine rushers to lead the nation in rushing in consecutive seasons, joining such stars as O.J. Simpson, Ricky Williams and LaDainian Tomlinson. He averaged 174.6 yards per game, and he carried the ball an astounding 34 times per game over three seasons. As a senior, Marinaro made every All-America team, won the Maxwell Award and finished second for the Heisman.
127. Leroy Keyes (RB, Purdue, 1966-68)
Rushing yards: 2,090 | Total offense: 2,271 yards | Yards per carry: 5.9
Leroy Keyes had the misfortune of playing college football in the same era as O.J. Simpson, whose outsized career and personality overshadowed one of the best running backs of that generation. Purdue used Keyes not only as a game-breaking back, but he also caught 80 passes in his college career at 15.1 yards per catch. Keyes helped lead the Boilermakers to a share of the 1967 Big Ten title, which they have won exactly once in the 52 years since. Keyes scored 19 touchdowns that season and finished third in the 1967 Heisman vote behind Gary Beban of UCLA and Simpson. As a senior, Keyes finished second to, yes, Simpson.
128. Greg Pruitt (RB, Oklahoma, 1970-72)
Rushing yards: 2,844 | Rushing TDs: 35 | All-purpose yards: 3,990
When Oklahoma adopted the Wishbone offense in 1970, Pruitt's first varsity season, it became readily apparent why. The 5-9, 177-pound Pruitt proved you can't tackle what you can't touch. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry over his Sooners career. As a junior, when Oklahoma lost the Game of the Century to Nebraska, 35-31. Pruitt got 9.4 yards per carry on 16.1 attempts per game. Oklahoma was so deep in running backs in those days that Pruitt might not have gotten enough touches to win the Heisman. He finished in the top three twice, making All-American as a junior and senior.
1991 Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard recalls his famous punt return vs. Ohio State and how the famous Heisman pose celebration was his backup.
129. Desmond Howard (WR, Michigan, 1989-91)
Receiving yards: 1,944 | Return yards: 1,448 | Touchdowns: 35
The shock came not because Howard won the 1991 Heisman, the first end to do so in 42 seasons. The shock came because Howard won it so easily, receiving 85 percent of the first-place votes. He made 19 touchdown catches and scored four others. Howard had a knack for the big moment in the big game. Early in the season he sealed a 24-14 defeat of Notre Dame with a diving catch of a 25-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-1. Late in the season, Howard punctuated a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State by striking the Heisman pose. He had wanted to do a flip into the end zone to impress his girlfriend. Instead, Howard impressed the entire country.
130. Charlie Ward (QB, Florida State, 1989-93)
Passing yards: 5,747 | Total offense: 6,636 yards | Passing TDs: 49
Ward's ability to run and pass made him the forerunner of the modern quarterback. Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden began to use him in a no-huddle shotgun set midway through Ward's junior season. Bowden called it "the Kentucky Derby" offense, because the Derby is known as the fastest two minutes in sports, and Bowden put Ward into what was then known a two-minute offense. Ward set 19 school records and led the Seminoles to the 1993 national title, Bowden's first. Ward also won the Heisman Trophy and, just for grins, led the basketball Seminoles to the Elite Eight. He bypassed pro football to play 10 seasons in the NBA.
131. Ozzie Newsome (WR, Alabama, 1974-77)
Receiving yards: 2,070 | Yards per catch: 20.3 | TD catches: 16
Newsome was so good that he made All-American even though he played wide receiver in a Wishbone offense, which is kind of like being a pianist in a string quartet. Newsome turned down Auburn, where Pat Sullivan had just passed his way to the 1971 Heisman, to sign with Bear Bryant, who proceeded to make passing a viable threat in the triple-option. Having an athlete as big (6-4, 210) as Newsome on the outside made passing easier to accomplish. When Newsome graduated, he owned pretty much every receiving record Alabama had to own.
132. Angelo Bertelli (QB, Notre Dame, 1941-43)
Passing yards: 2,548 | Passing TDs: 28 | Interceptions by: 12
Bertelli, a first-generation American from Springfield, Massachusetts, became known as the "Springfield Rifle" for his ability to throw the ball. He completed an unheard-of 57 percent of passes as a sophomore. Irish coach Frank Leahy switched to the newfangled T-formation in 1942 because he had Bertelli to run it. As a senior, Bertelli completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in the first six games, all of which Notre Dame won by at least 23 points. The Marine Corps intervened — there was a war on, you know — and away Bertelli went. He had been so impressive that he won the 1943 Heisman, anyway.
133. Charlie Justice (RB, North Carolina, 1946-49) Rushing yards: 2,634 | Total offense: 4,871 yards | Touchdowns: 39
Justice is on the short list of greatest players never to win the Heisman. As a junior, he finished second to fellow junior Doak Walker of SMU. As a senior, he finished runner-up to Notre Dame end Leon Hart. "Choo Choo" Justice had to settle for being a two-time All-American and a Tar Heels legend. His school total-offense record (which doesn't include 1,794 return yards or his 42.6 punting average) stood for 45 seasons. His stature in North Carolina athletics will never diminish. A statue of him stands outside Kenan Stadium. Inside, the 22-yard lines are painted Tar Heel blue.
134. Warrick Dunn (RB, Florida State, 1993-96)
Rushing yards: 3,959 | Receiving yards: 1,314 | Touchdowns: 49
In the middle of a run in which the Seminoles finished in the top five for 14 consecutive seasons, Dunn played enough as a freshman to gain 868 tandem yards and score 10 touchdowns, including the one that sealed Florida State's chance to play for the 1993 national title. With the Seminoles clinging to a 27-21 lead in the fourth quarter at Florida, on third-and-10, Dunn took a swing pass from Charlie Ward and raced 79 yards for the clinching touchdown. No one has ever quieted the Swamp quicker. Ward averaged 7.5 yards on each of the 707 plays that he ran or caught the ball. Just as importantly, Florida State went 43-5-1 in his four seasons.
135. Cam Newton (QB, Florida/Auburn, 2007-08/2010)
Rushing yards: 1,473 | Passing yards: 2.854 | TDs responsible for: 50
Newton started out at Florida, where a young quarterbacks coach named Dan Mullen lobbied head coach Urban Meyer to replace Tim Tebow with Newton. Uh, no. But Mullen is a shrewd judge of talent. Newton got in trouble at Florida and decamped to junior college. He went to Auburn and had one of the greatest single seasons in the history of the game. What Newton's prolific numbers don't tell you is he carried Auburn to its second national title and won the Heisman Trophy in 2010, all while facing allegations that his father had tried to sell his son's talents to the highest bidder. In his only Iron Bowl, Newton led the Tigers from a 24-point deficit to win at Alabama, 28-27. It is known as the Camback.
136. Anthony Carter (WR, Michigan, 1979-82)
Receiving yards: 2,681 | All-purpose yards: 5,197 | Touchdowns: 36
Carter stood 5-11 and weighed only 161 pounds, and that might have been while wearing a helmet and cleats. But in a Big Ten Conference that still viewed the forward pass with a raised eyebrow, Carter wreaked havoc. His career touchdowns remained a school record for 22 seasons. As a freshman, he caught a 45-yard touchdown as time expired to beat Indiana, 27-21. Carter only got better, making All-American three times and winning the Big Ten Silver Football (MVP) as a senior. Over four seasons, he averaged 19 yards per catch and 12 yards per punt return. He remains a beloved figure in Wolverines football.
137. Nile Kinnick (RB, Iowa, 1937-39)
Rushing yards: 724 | Total offense: 2,169 yards | Interceptions by: 18
In those less cynical days, an All-American boy made his grades and kept his nose clean. Kinnick excelled at both, not to mention being one of the best backs in the nation. He earned Phi Beta Kappa and the 1939 Heisman, finishing his Hawkeyes career with 2,169 total yards and 18 interceptions. Kinnick turned down a lucrative NFL contract to go to law school. He turned down the U.S. Navy brass who wanted him to play service football because he wanted to be a good officer. As a Navy pilot, stationed on an aircraft carrier off the Venezuelan coast, his plane developed mechanical problems on a training flight. Kinnick landed in the ocean rather than endanger the ship and died at age 24.
138. Ed Reed (DB, Miami, 1998-2001)
Tackles: 288 | Interceptions: 21 | Interception return yards: 389
When Reed signed with The U in Feb. 1997, the Canes had just suffered their first losing season in 17 years. When he left after his senior season of 2001, Miami had regained the national championship. It was no coincidence — Reed played an integral role on that 2001 team, which won 10 of 12 games by at least 22 points. In one of the nail-biters, an 18-7 victory at Big East rival Boston College, Reed sealed the victory by stripping teammate Matt Walters of his interception and returning the ball 80 yards for a touchdown. Reed was named All-American in 2000 and 2001.
139. Woodrow Lowe (LB, Alabama, 1972-75)
Lowe is one of four Crimson Tide linebackers on this list, and it is no fluke that he holds his place among players such as Lee Roy Jordan, Cornelius Bennett and Derrick Thomas. Lowe and Bennett are the only three-time All-Americans in the rich history of Alabama football. The 134 tackles he made as a sophomore in 1973 remain an Alabama single-season record, and 44 years later, he has slipped from first to only fourth in career tackles (315). Alabama went 43-5 in Lowe's four years and never finished out of the top seven.
140. Jay Berwanger (RB, Chicago, 1933-35) Rushing yards: 1,839 | Total offense: 2,760 yards | Touchdowns: 22
Berwanger won the Heisman before it was the Heisman, taking the inaugural award in 1935. The Downtown Athletic Club bestowed the Heisman name to the award after John Heisman died the following year. Big for his day at 6-1, 195, Berwanger nonetheless had 9.9 speed. The two-time All-American could run and pass, kick and defend. In those one-platoon days, Berwanger did everything well, except turn pro. He could make more money in private business than he could playing for George Halas and the Chicago Bears.
141. Jim Parker (OL, Ohio State, 1954-56)
Parker, a cat-quick guard and menacing blocker, was the measuring stick for any lineman under legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes. Parker was the Buckeyes' first Outland Trophy winner in 1956 and a two-time All-American. During his three seasons, the Buckeyes won 23 of 28 games, captured back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1954 and '55 and claimed the 1954 national championship. At 273 pounds, Parker was the biggest player the Baltimore Colts had ever drafted. "He blocked out the sun," Colts general manager Ernie Accorsi said. In 1973, Parker became the first full-time offensive lineman inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
142. Tommy McDonald (RB, Oklahoma, 1954-56)
Rushing yards: 1,683 | Total offense: 2,254 yards | Touchdowns: 35
The 5-9, 169-pound McDonald made up for a lack of size with distinctive athletic skills. He averaged nearly 7 yards per carry at Oklahoma. In his senior season, he scored 17 touchdowns, threw for three more, and won the Maxwell Trophy. McDonald finished third in the 1956 Heisman vote, known as the one Paul Hornung won even though Notre Dame went 2-8. McDonald's Sooners didn't lose that season, or any of three seasons. McDonald and his classmates went 31-0, the last 20 victories by more than one score. Those 20 victories came in 1955 and 1956, when Oklahoma finished No. 1.
143. Chris Spielman (LB, Ohio State, 1984-87)
Tackles: 546 | Sacks: 8 | Interceptions: 11
In a program known for physicality and intensity, Spielman remains the career leader in solo tackles (283) more than three decades after he graduated. He finished his four seasons in Columbus under head coach Earle Bruce with 546 tackles, still third among Buckeyes all time, and intercepted 11 passes. Without a doubt, the wildest statistic among these 150 players is that Spielman made 29 tackles against archrival Michigan in his junior season. He won the Lombardi Award as a senior, when he repeated as a consensus All-American.
144. Tony Boselli (T, USC, 1991-94)
The rebuilding of USC football in the early 1990s just might have begun with the signing of Boselli, who didn't sign with his home-state, national-champion Colorado Buffaloes in order to go to USC. At 6-8, 305 pounds, Boselli rapidly remade the prototype of the ideal offensive tackle. Boselli made All-Pac-10 as a freshman, when the Trojans went 3-8. By his junior year, USC won a share of the conference championship. Boselli made All-American twice, capping his career by being named MVP of a team that won the Cotton Bowl.
145. Mike Reid (DL, Penn State, 1966-69)
Reid anchored the defense that brought Penn State and its young coach, Joe Paterno, to prominence. In his last two seasons, the Nittany Lions went 22-0, and as a senior Reid won both the Outland Trophy, given to the national's best interior lineman, and the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's best player. Reid also excelled as a heavyweight wrestler and shortened his NFL career in order to pursue his love of music. He became a songwriter, and while this list may not settle the argument over the best player, there should be no debate over the most versatile. Reid is a member of both the College Football and the Country Music Halls of Fame.
146. Gary Beban (QB, UCLA, 1965-67)
Passing yards: 3,940 | Touchdowns: 33 | Total offense: 5,197 yards
Beban may be the classic example of the bromide, "All he could do was beat you." He was not big (6-0, 191), didn't have a particularly strong arm, and beat no one with his legs. But Bruins coach Tommy Prothro made two comments about Beban that defined his worth: "He has no weaknesses," and "The more pressure, the better he is." As a three-year starter, Beban went 24-5-2. That included an upset of national champion Michigan State in the 1966 Rose Bowl, 14-12. Beban and No. 1 UCLA lost to O.J. Simpson and No. 3 USC, 21-20, in 1967. Beban threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, and he beat Simpson for the 1967 Heisman.
147. Bob Griese (QB, Purdue, 1964-66)
Passing yards: 4,402 | Passing TDs: 28 | Yards per completion: 12.6
In an era when the standard for passing accuracy stood at 50 percent, Griese completed more than 60 percent of his passes in his last two seasons combined. He threw or rushed for 42 touchdowns, and more importantly, the 1965 All-American and 1966 Heisman runner-up led the Boilermakers to play to their potential. Of the four games Purdue lost in Griese's junior and senior seasons, three were to top-10 teams. In his last college game, Griese led Purdue to a 14-13 victory over USC in the 1967 Rose Bowl. In the 53 seasons since, the Boilermakers have returned to Pasadena once.
148. Deacon Jones (DE, South Carolina State/Mississippi Valley State, 1958/1960) David Jones — his nickname in college was D.J.; "Deacon" arrived early in his NFL career — spent his freshman season in 1958 at South Carolina State. But after he began to participate in civil rights protests, he said, the Bulldogs no longer had a uniform for him. He transferred to Mississippi Vocational School, where an NFL scout looking at the Delta Devils running backs noticed that a 6-5 defensive end outran them all. Jones became an NFL legend in a 14-year career, spent largely with the Los Angeles Rams. On the centennial of black-college football in 1993, Jones was named to the All-Time HBCU team.
149. Champ Bailey (DB/AP, Georgia, 1996-98)
Interceptions: 8 | Receiving yards: 978
A year after Michigan corner Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy by playing a little offense and returning kicks, Bailey seemed to launch a campaign to bring back one-platoon football. The 6-1, 186-pound Bailey remained on the field for an amazing 1,070 plays. Playing alongside safety Kirby Smart, Bailey made 52 tackles and caught 50 passes — 47 on offense, three on defense. He led the Dawgs that season with 744 receiving yards. Alas, Bailey finished seventh in the Heisman voting. He won the Nagurski and sealed his place among the game's elite.
150. Baker Mayfield (QB, Texas Tech/Oklahoma, 2013/2015-17)
Passing yards: 14,607 | Passing TDs: 131 | Completions: 1,026
He wasn't good enough to earn a scholarship to Texas Tech. He walked on and started his first college football game. He left Lubbock and enrolled at Oklahoma, where he walked on and, after sitting out a year, started the first game for which he was eligible. In three seasons as a Sooner, Mayfield led his second school to three Big 12 championships and two playoff berths, and won the 2017 Heisman. He set a school record by throwing 131 touchdown passes. If you can't get a scholarship offer, you may as well be the best walk-on ever to play the sport.