Jameis Winston and the Top 10 Heisman Winners to Win a National Championship
Jameis Winston and the Top 10 Heisman Trophy Winners to Win a National Championship
On Monday, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston led Florida State to another National Championship, snapping the ongoing dominance of the SEC by beating the heart-attack pack of Auburn. Auburn seemed to have the upper hand for most of the game with a great running game from Tre Mason and key passes from Nick Marshall. Even Auburn’s defense seemed to be playing better than Florida State’s highly touted defense. However, when it came down to the second-half and late in the fourth quarter, it was the Heisman hero Jameis Winston that proved to be the difference maker.
It seems reasonable to assume many Heisman Trophy winners went on to win National Championships, but not as many as you’d think. It’s essentially the highest honor combo that any player can receive in college football by winning the most coveted individual trophy and the highest team award possible. Like Winston, others have been able to win the Heisman, squash the over-hype and lead their team to a National Championship victory.
Winston’s dominance in the Heisman race became clear pretty early on in the season with Johnny Manziel’s team floundering a bit and other hopefuls under-performing. Some say he won the award before facing any real test in the ACC, unlike A.J. McCarron who plays in the SEC and was considered for the Heisman as well. After beating Auburn, the SEC Champion, Winston proved he belongs with the top names in college football history. Here’s a look at some of the best Heisman winners that also won a National Championship.
10. O.J. Simpson
We’ll start this list off with a bang. That’s not a pun, because the weapon he would’ve used if he “did it” was a knife. In any case, “The Juice” was a smooth, long-stride running back who sliced his way down the field and into the Heisman Trophy fraternity in 1968. The year before in 1967, Simpson led his team to a National Championship as a junior, a year in which he was also a Heisman candidate.
9. Matt Leinart
Keeping with the USC theme, Matt Leinart won the Heisman in 2004 and led USC to their first BCS National Championship win that year. In 2003, he also helped USC snag the AP National Championship after a win in the Rose Bowl against Michigan. He’s not much of an NFL player, but at least he got those party pictures out there before he became irrelevant.
8. Danny Wuerfel
Danny Wuerfel won the Heisman in 1996 and took the Florida Gators to a National Championship victory. In 1995, he also played in a National Championship deciding game, but lost.
7. Mark Ingram Jr.
In 2009, Alabama’s Mark Ingram Jr. won the Heisman and ultimately the National Championship. Alabama went 14-0 in a season where Ingram broke their single-season rushing record.
6. Charlie Ward
Charlie Ward won the Heisman in 1993 and took Florida State to their first ever National Championship. Like Jameis Winston, Ward was a multi-sport athlete, but he played in the NBA and was drafted into Major League Baseball. He is the only Heisman winner to play in the NBA.
5. Cam Newton
In 2010, Cam Newton won the Heisman and filtered out all the hype and noise to become a National Champion that year. Despite playing only one year with Auburn, his NFL play has proved that his great season was not a fluke.
4. Charles Woodson
As primarily a defensive player, Michigan’s Charles Woodson won the Heisman in 1997 by beating out Tennessee’s Peyton Manning and shared a National Championship with Nebraska that year. Like fellow Michigan Alum Desmond Howard, he made a lot of his noise as a return man and played occasionally as a slot receiver. He was also a shutdown cornerback.
3. Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker won the Heisman in 1982 with Georgia two years after winning the national championship against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. He was also a consensus All-American in 1980, 1981, and 1982, as well as two-time Pro Bowler in the NFL. In 1999, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
2. Tony Dorsett
To go even further back, Tony Dorsett won the Heisman in 1976, along with just about every other award he could win that year. He led Pittsburgh to a National Championship in 1976 and went on to win a Super Bowl as a starter his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys.
1. Tim Tebow
People like to hate on Tim Tebow, but he is actually the perfect person to top this list. With Florida he won the Heisman in 2007 and won two National Championships in 2007 and 2009. He also finished third in the Heisman voting in 2008. Plus, his pose, “Tebowing”, became more famous than Desmond Howard’s Heisman pose. So that’s something, too.
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