heisman trophy winners have been collecting college football’s most prestigious individual award since 1935, but there are only a select number of elite schools with multiple recipients of the iconic hardware.
Only 11 powerhouse programs in NCAA football have three or more Heisman Trophy winners, and the most dominant team in the country today, the Alabama Crimson Tide, added to their incredible history with a fourth Heisman Trophy winner. heisman trophy thanks to quarterback bryce young.
Reading: Alabama heisman winners all time
but who has the bragging right of all time from now on? Believe it or not, several other schools top Alabama’s total. Read on to find out who among the elite schools has the most heisman trophy winners, with all stats courtesy of sports-reference.com.
- 1 auburn tigers – 3 heisman trophy winners
- 2 army black knights – 3 heisman trophy winners
- 3 florida gators – 3 heisman trophy winners
- 4 Florida State Seminoles: 3 Heisman Trophy Winners
- 5 michigan wolverines – 3 heisman trophy winners
- 6 nebraska cornhuskers – 3 heisman trophy winners
- 7 crimson tide of alabama – 4 heisman trophy winners
- 8 usc trojans – 6 heisman trophy winners
- 9 notre dame fighting irish – 7 heisman trophy winners
- 10 ohio state buckeyes: 7 heisman trophy winners
- 11 oklahoma sooners – 7 heisman trophy winners
auburn tigers – 3 heisman trophy winners
- pat sullivan, quarterback, 1979
- bo jackson, running back, 1985
- cam newton, quarterback, 2010
how cool is bo jackson? Beyond being a Tecmo Bowl video game legend, Jackson lived up to the hype in real life. He was a professional star of two sports in football and baseball, but when he had the ball in his hands on the gridiron, there was nothing like it.
Cam Newton’s story is also just epic. Problems off the field in Florida forced Newton to transfer to Blinn College. In his year at Auburn thereafter, he led the Tigers to a national championship. Newton accounted for 50 total touchdowns (30 passing, 20 rushing) in 2010, leading Auburn to a perfect 14-0 record in one of the best individual seasons in history. Despite only one production season, Newton became No. 1 overall selection in 2011.
army black knights – 3 heisman trophy winners
- doc blanchard, side, 1945
- glenn davis, running back, 1946
- pete dawkins runner, 1958
You’d hardly think of the military as a college football powerhouse, but the Black Knights had an incredible run with three of their players winning the heisman trophy in a span of two decades.
Under head coach Earl Blaik, Army posted an exceptional record of 121-33-10 and won three straight national championships. Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard were the key players in that three-peat streak. Davis had 3,099 career scrimmage yards and 48 touchdowns, while Blanchard posted totals of 2,098 and 35 in those categories.
florida gators – 3 heisman trophy winners
- Steve Spurrier, quarterback, 1966
- Danny Wuerffel, quarterback, 1996
- Tim Tebow, quarterback, 2007
It’s about the Florida Gators quarterback, and the most interesting thing about this list is that Steve Spurrier was actually Wuerffel’s head coach when they combined to help the Gators win a national championship in 1996.
spurrier and wuerffel were completely different players from tim tebow. The lightning rod that turned out to be Tebow was unlike anything college football had ever seen before. Tebow accounted for 3,286 yards and 32 tds in the air to go with 895 yards and 23 tds on the ground when he rightfully seized the heisman in 2007.
Florida State Seminoles: 3 Heisman Trophy Winners
- charlie ward, quarterback, 1993
- chris weinke, quarterback, 2000
- jameis winston, quarterback, 2013
There’s a two-sport star theme when it comes to the Seminoles’ heisman trophy winners.
It’s crazy to think that Charlie Ward also played basketball at Florida State and still received the Heisman his senior year. Ward went on to play in the NBA, as dual-threat QBS were few and far between when he intended to enter the NFL, but he was electrifying for the Seminoles as a two-year starter.
chris weinke tried to play baseball professionally before a solid career in college football. he was the oldest player to win the heisman at age 28.
jameis winston eventually played baseball for the seminoles, but wisely stuck with football in the end. Matching Johnny Manziel’s groundbreaking achievement as the only other freshman heisman winner, Winston went even further by earning a national championship victory that year as well.
michigan wolverines – 3 heisman trophy winners
- Tom Harmon, running back, 1940
- Desmond Howard, wide receiver/punt returner, 1991
- Charles Woodson, cornerback/punt returner, 1997
Wolverines have one of the richest traditions in college football, period. Its history dates back to the 19th century, and Tom Harmon’s three years as a running back/quarterback hybrid helped lift Michigan out of a relative slump in the mid-1930s.
Versatility is a common thread that unites these Michigan men, indeed. When it comes to Desmond Howard, he was just as dangerous on offense as he was on special teams to take him home, big pun.
charles woodson was unique. he took plays as a receiver and running back on offense, excelled as a punt returner, but more impressively, shut down the opposition as the extremely rare defensive player to join the heisman fraternity. Woodson was too good to deny it in 1997 when he caught seven of his 16 interceptions.
nebraska cornhuskers – 3 heisman trophy winners
- johnny rodgers, running back/wide receiver, 1972
- mike rozier, running back, 1983
- eric crouch, quarterback, 2001
it’s been tough for the cornhuskers to sled for the most part since tom osborne prevailed with a perfect 12-0 record in 1997. soon after, however, eric crouch came along and lifted the heisman trophy for the most part thanks to his running prowess, as he had 1,115 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2001.
But let’s not forget Mike Rozier’s 2,148-yard rushing campaign in 1983 with 7.8 yards per carry and 29 TDs. what about those apples? Plus, Johnny Rodgers rushed for 10 touchdowns while rushing for over 1,000 receiving yards in 1972. That’s an amazing feat in its own right.
crimson tide of alabama – 4 heisman trophy winners
- Mark Ingram, running back, 2009
- Derrick Henry, running back, 2015
- DeVonta Smith, wide receiver, 2020
- Bryce Young, quarterback, 2021
Here’s a fun fact: Since the dawn of the new millennium, every heisman trophy winner has been a quarterback. that is, except for the aforementioned epic tuscaloosa triumvirate.
yes, crimson tide bears that distinction because usc’s reggie bush saw his award vacated in 2005 due to ncaa violations. We can still fondly remember Bush for his game-making prowess, but let’s focus on Alabama here.
mark ingram and derrick henry have had successful careers in the nfl, defying the so-called heisman curse. Ingram is a shorter fullback with a stocky build whose decisive running style and power helped him thrive in college. meanwhile, henry is just a nature monster of speed and size that even nfl defenders don’t want to take down.
smith’s 2020 campaign was phenomenal as he had 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. He legitimately beat out his quarterback and fellow first-round pick, Mac Jones, for the award.
Given what quarterback bryce young accomplished this season, it’s no surprise he’s become the latest winner of the alabama heisman trophy. they also join oklahoma with back-to-back heisman trophy winners.
usc trojans – 6 heisman trophy winners
- Mike Garrett, running back, 1965
- O.J. Simpson, running back, 1968
- Charles White, running back, 1979
- Marcus Allen, running back, 1981
- Carson Palmer, quarterback, 2002
- Matt Leinart, quarterback, 2004
mike garrett broke through in 1965 as the first usc player to take home the heisman, pioneering the tradition of first-place running back greatness. o.j. Simpson is infamous for his life off the field, but he nearly won back-to-back heismans and finished second in the voting in 1967. His two-year college career consisted of 3,423 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns.
matt leinart benefited greatly from reggie bush’s presence, but did well in his own right by guiding the trojans to back-to-back national titles in a truly epic three-year opening tenure.
carson palmer is probably better known for what he did in the nfl than for how he did in college. He showed how sticking with the program as a fifth-year senior could pay huge dividends when he claimed the heisman from him in 2002.
however, the most impressive campaign of all has to go to marcus allen. in 1981 he rushed for 2,427 yards and 22 touchdowns on 433 carries. Those are just mind-boggling numbers and a testament to Allen’s toughness in taking on that historic workload.
notre dame fighting irish – 7 heisman trophy winners
- Angelo Bertelli, quarterback, 1943
- Johnny Lujack, quarterback, 1947
- Leon Hart, tight end, 1949
- Johnny Lattner, running back, 1953
- Paul Hornung, quarterback, 1956
- John Huarte, quarterback, 1964
- Tim Brown, wide receiver, 1987
It’s a rich lineage of quarterbacks in South Bend, Indiana, when it comes to Notre Dame’s multitude of Heisman Trophy winners. Before it was fashionable for field generals to win the vote, the Fighting Irish had plenty of qbs to get the job done.
given how hard it is for non-quarterbacks to win, especially in recent times, let’s appreciate what tim brown did in 1987. after a 5-6 season, notre dame needed to get things moving headed in the right direction under second-year head coach Lou Holtz. brown would prove essential to that cause.
In helping the Irish to an 8-4 record, Brown had 34 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown, three punt returns and 846 receiving yards on just 39 receptions (21.7 receiving yards). the following year, notre dame had a perfect record and won the national championship.
ohio state buckeyes: 7 heisman trophy winners
- Les Horvath, running back/quarterback, 1944
- Vic Janowicz, running back/punter, 1950
- Howard Cassady, running back, 1955
- Archie Griffin, running back, 1974 & 1975
- Eddie George, running back, 1995
- Troy Smith, quarterback, 2006
similar to usc, is a rich history of brokers in the state of ohio. However, the man who stands out from the crowd of accomplished racers is obviously Archie Griffin. scarlet and gray have bragging rights that buckeyes are the only show producing someone who has won this prestigious accolade twice.
To review more recent history, Eddie George made the most of his final season at Columbus, rushing for 1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns to go with 47 receptions for 417 yards. That combination of hard running and pass-catching ability made George a scoring threat every time he touched the ball.
oklahoma sooners – 7 heisman trophy winners
- Billy Vessels, running back, 1952
- Steve Owens, fullback, 1969
- Billy Sims, running back, 1978
- Jason White, quarterback, 2003
- Sam Bradford, quarterback, 2008
- Baker Mayfield, quarterback, 2017
- Kyler Murray, quarterback, 2018
thanks to the extended offense, oklahoma has been a catalyst for changing the landscape of college football. Bob Stoops oversaw the efforts of Jason White and Sam Bradford to win the Heisman, but Stoops’ successor, Lincoln Riley, took it all to another level, producing two award winners who became No. 1 overall draft pick.
baker mayfield played with a mountain-sized chip on his shoulder as a transfer of technology from texas. He thrived in Stoops’ senior year, but took his game to the next heisman level with Riley at the helm in 2017, throwing for 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Who would have thought that another state transfer from texas a&m lone star kyler murray would actually surpass mayfield’s prolific output next year?
murray was a top 10 pick in the mlb draft, but he missed out on that path with the oakland athletics, and in his only full season as a starter for the sooners? well, you know. He won the heisman, throwing for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns, with 1,001 rushing yards and 12 more rushing tds.
And that completes our full list of elite college football programs that have produced three or more heisman trophy winners. stay tuned to see who wins next year. most likely a quarterback.
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