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8 Best Heisman Trophy Winners

The 8 Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All-Time

By Loot, College Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Barry Sanders 1988: Sanders had a cartoonish 1988 campaign for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. First of all, he was a horse, carrying the rock 344 times. Usually, that many carries results in a lower rushing average, but Sanders averaged a ridiculous 7.6 yards per carry. Sanders ran for an incredible 2628 yards. As if that were not enough, he ran for 37 touchdowns. Sanders validated his ungodly ’88 season by becoming one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. But the gap between Sanders and his college contemporaries was gigantic. Sanders was on a different level.

Marcus Allen, 1981: After a great junior season, Allen put it all together in 1981. He carried the ball 403 times for 2342 yards. He basically carried the entire team on his back. He even caught the ball 29 times. He ran for 22 touchdowns. He broke 14 NCAA records and ran for 5 straight 200-yard rushing games. The Lincoln high grad was a collegiate legend, in addition to a Hall of Fame NFL career.

Ricky Williams, 1998: No team that pops into mind depended on one player more than the Longhorns leaned on Williams during the 1998 season. Williams carried the ball 361 times and caught 24 passes. He always seemed to be at his best in the big games and the fact that he compiled these stats against SEC teams makes it all the more impressive. He rushed for 2124 yards and an incredible 27 touchdowns. Williams’ 1998 campaign was one of the greatest seasons of all time.

Tony Dorsett, 1976: Dorsett helped lead the Pittsburgh Panthers to the National Championship and was largely responsible for the team’s offensive success. The team relied heavily on Dorsett. He ran the rock 338 times for 1948 yards and 21 touchdowns. Dorsett was incredible and so much faster than opposing defenses in his junior and senior years, eventually going on to star in the NFL and becoming one of the best to ever do it.

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Mike Rozier, 1983: The Nebraska running back had a huge 1983 season. He ran the ball 275 times for 2148 yards for a ridiculous average of 7.8 yards per carry. This Cornhusker offense ran over teams and Rozier was their chief weapon, striking with 29 touchdown runs. In 1983, Rozier was an unstoppable force. Through a long line of great Nebraska backs, it’s unlikely that any were as a dominant force as Rozier.

Cam Newton, 2010: Auburn’s Newton put up obscene numbers in his 2010 campaign. Newton had better rushing stats than many Heisman winning running backs and better numbers than some quarterbacks who have won the trophy. The fact that he had both in the same year makes this a season for the ages. He threw for almost 3000 yards with 28 touchdown passes against only 6 interceptions. Throw in 1452 rushing yards and 20 touchdown carries and Newton is in rarified air. Statistically, one of the more freakish seasons in college football history.

Reggie Bush, 2005: Technically, he’s not a Heisman winner anymore after being stripped of his award for shenanigans at USC. At the same time, he was the most robustly-supported Heisman winner in the history of college football--earning 98% of the votes. It should have been 100%. In 200 carries, he averaged 8.7 yards per carry. He ran for 16 touchdowns and 1740 yards. Not enough? As a receiver, he was 37-478-2 and even ran back a punt for a touchdown, while giving the Trojans good field position on countless other occasions. He could do it all.

Desmond Howard, 1991: When coming up with a short list for the most explosive players in NCAA football history, Desmond Howard needs to be accounted for. Imagine a Big-Ten receiver who scores a touchdown on 31% of his catches. Howard, with 19 touchdown catches in 61 receptions, was an incredible wide receiver and scoring machine. He also ran for 2 touchdowns coming out of the backfield. Showing how versatile of a threat that he was, Howard also scored two special-teams touchdowns--one each returning a punt and a kick.

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