Heisman Trophy winners list: Can Manti Te'o become 1st defensive player to win?

USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is up against 77years of Heisman history on Saturday night.

There will be Heisman history made on Saturday night in New York, as either the first freshman, purely defensive player, or Kansas State player will win college football's most prestigious award. Johnny Manziel is projected to become the first ever freshman and just the second Texas A&M player to win the Heisman. Manziel broke the SEC total offense mark in the Aggies first season in their new conference, as they rolled to a 10-2 record with Kevin Sumlin and Manziel confounding opposing defenses. Manziel was a true dual threat, putting up huge numbers both on the ground and through the air.

Manti Te'o is expected to be the closest competitor with Manziel, but early returns and projections have the freshman QB winning it. Te'o would be the first defensive player to win the Heisman. Charles Woodson flipped things when he won in 1997, but Woodson also had an array of highlights on special teams and occasionally at wide receiver to bolster his cause. Te'o had an incredible season but he would truly break the mold, and 77 years of history, if he were to pull off the upset.

But again, it's likely headed to another quarterback, a position that's owned the award this century. Here's a complete list of winners:




Year Winner School Position Points
1935 Jay Berwanger Chicago Halfback
1936 Larry Kelley Yale End 219
1937 Clint Frank Yale Halfback 524
1938 Davey O'Brien TCU Quarterback 519
1939 Nile Kinnick Iowa Halfback 651
1940 Tom Harmon Michigan Halfback 1303
1941 Bruce Smith Minnesota Halfback 554
1942 Frank Sinkwich Georgia Halfback 1059
1943 Angelo Bertelli Notre Dame Quarterback 648
1944 Les Horvath Ohio State Quarterback/Halfback 412
1945 Doc Blanchard Army Fullback 860
1946 Glenn Davis Army Halfback 792
1947 Johnny Lujack Notre Dame Quarterback 742
1948 Doak Walker SMU Halfback 778
1949 Leon Hart Notre Dame End 995
1950 Vic Janowicz Ohio State Halfback/Punter 633
1951 Dick Kazmaier Princeton Halfback 1777
1952 Billy Vessels Oklahoma Halfback 525
1953 Johnny Lattner Notre Dame Halfback 1850
1954 Alan Ameche Wisconsin Fullback 1068
1955 Howard Cassady Ohio State Halfback 2219
1956 Paul Hornung Notre Dame Quarterback 1066
1957 John David Crow Texas A&M Halfback 1183
1958 Pete Dawkins Army Halfback 1394
1959 Billy Cannon LSU Halfback 1929
1960 Joe Bellino Navy Halfback 1793
1961 Ernie Davis Syracuse Halfback/Linebacker/Fullback 824
1962 Terry Baker Oregon State Quarterback 707
1963 Roger Staubach Navy Quarterback 1860
1964 John Huarte Notre Dame Quarterback 1026
1965 Mike Garrett USC Halfback 926
1966 Steve Spurrier Florida Quarterback 1679
1967 Gary Beban UCLA Quarterback 1968
1968 O.J. Simpson USC Halfback 2853
1969 Steve Owens Oklahoma Fullback 1488
1970 Jim Plunkett Stanford Quarterback 2229
1971 Pat Sullivan Auburn Quarterback 1597
1972 Johnny Rodgers Nebraska Running back 1310
1973 John Cappelletti Penn State Running back 1057
1974 Archie Griffin Ohio State Running back 1920
1975 Archie Griffin Ohio State Running back 1800
1976 Tony Dorsett Pittsburgh Running back 2357
1977 Earl Campbell Texas Running back 1547
1978 Billy Sims Oklahoma Running back 1896
1979 Charles White USC Running back 1695
1980 George Rogers South Carolina Running back 1128
1981 Marcus Allen USC Running back 1797
1982 Herschel Walker Georgia Running back 1926
1983 Mike Rozier Nebraska Running back 1801
1984 Doug Flutie Boston College Quarterback 2240
1985 Bo Jackson Auburn Running back 1509
1986 Vinny Testaverde Miami Quarterback 2213
1987 Tim Brown Notre Dame Wide receiver 1442
1988 Barry Sanders Oklahoma State Running back 1878
1989 Andre Ware Houston Quarterback 1073
1990 Ty Detmer BYU Quarterback 1482
1991 Desmond Howard Michigan Wide receiver 2077
1992 Gino Torretta Miami Quarterback 1400
1993 Charlie Ward Florida State Quarterback 1743
1994 Rashaan Salaam Colorado Running back 1743
1995 Eddie George Ohio State Running back 1460
1996 Danny Wuerffel Florida Quarterback 1363
1997 Charles Woodson Michigan Cornerback 1815
1998 Ricky Williams Texas Running back 2355
1999 Ron Dayne Wisconsin Running back 2042
2000 Chris Weinke Florida State Quarterback 1628
2001 Eric Crouch Nebraska Quarterback 770
2002 Carson Palmer USC Quarterback 1328
2003 Jason White Oklahoma Quarterback 1481
2004 Matt Leinart USC Quarterback 1325
2005 Reggie Bush USC Running back 2541
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State Quarterback 2540
2007 Tim Tebow Florida Quarterback 1957
2008 Sam Bradford Oklahoma Quarterback 1726
2009 Mark Ingram, Jr. Alabama Running back 1304
2010 Cam Newton Auburn Quarterback 2263
2011 Robert Griffin III Baylor Quarterback 1687

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