College Sports

Top College Football Players Who Never Won The Heisman Trophy

Joe Burgett - June 16, 2019
College Sports

Top College Football Players Who Never Won The Heisman Trophy

Joe Burgett - June 16, 2019
Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois
Photo Credit: Fansided

36. Garrett Wolfe

Wolfe was one of the smallest running backs of his time, standing only 5’7″ and weighing barely 185 lbs. Despite his stature, he dominated as a running back for Northern Illinois. He first started his sophomore year and ran for 1,656 and 18 TDs, his junior year he ran for 1,580 and 16 TDs, and his senior year he ran for 1,928 and 18 TDs.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Due to his play, he managed to be First-Team All-MAC 3 times. Wolfe was even the MAC Player of the Year in 2006, his final season. Sadly, due to where he played, Wolfe was never in serious contention for the Heisman. Although he did well against better competition several times. Thus, Wolfe is one of the best players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
Photo Credit: YouTube

35. Ndamukong Suh

It is not common to see defenders in Heisman contention, and it’s almost unheard of to see someone from the defensive line even considered.  Yet Suh made himself known in a big way for Nebraska for all four years he was eligible to play. However, his final two years were the stuff of Cornhusker legend (2008, 2009). His junior year, Suh managed to record 76 tackles, 16 for a loss, and 7.5 sacks. This included two INTs that he would also score touchdowns on.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

His senior year was even more dominant. He would record 85 tackles with 20.5 for a loss, on top of 12 sacks and an INT. He was so unstoppable that he won nearly every award in 2009 including the Outland, Lombardi, Bronco Nagurski, and Chuck Bednarik Awards. Suh was also named the 2009 AP Player of the Year. However, he’d finish fourth in the Heisman race.

Steve Young BYU
Photo Credit: BYU Photos

34. Steve Young

While Young is known far more for his work in the NFL with the San Fransico 49ers, he was one heck of a college QB. He played for BYU and pretty much dominated the WAC in 1982 & 1983. In 1982, he threw for 3,100 yards and 18 TDs while he ran for 407 yards and 10 TDs. In 1983, he threw for 3,902 yards and 33 TDs while running for 444 yards and 8 TDs.

Photo Credit: Niners Nation

He was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year both years. However, he became an All-American in 1983. Young also won the Sammy Baugh Trophy and Davey O’Brien Award the same year. Sadly, he lost in the 1983 Heisman race, coming in second. Due to his performance in college, it’s clear Young is one of the best players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Eric Dickerson, SMU
Photo Credit: Biz 1190

33. Eric Dickerson

Dickerson is known for playing for one of the most controversial programs in collegiate sports in history, SMU. While they might be named the Southern Methodist University, they did not exactly go by biblical principles. It is said that they paid and bribed players with cars and luxury items in order to lure them to the Texas university.

Photo Credit: Sport Reviews

For his part, Dickerson was a stud RB in high school and even better one at the collegiate and pro level. 1981 & 1982 were his best years in college with 1981 seeing him run for just over 1,400 yards and 19 TDs. Meanwhile, in 1982 SMU saw Dickerson run for just over 1,600 yards and 17 TDs. He took home All-American honors but came in third in his quest for the Heisman in 1982. His lack of trophies may very well be due to everyone knowing what the SMU program was doing.

Ka'Deem Carey
Photo Credit: USA Today

32. Ka’Deem Carey

Carey is one of the best running backs in college football history. Playing for the University of Arizona, Carey put up huge numbers in both 2012 & 2013. In 2012, he ran for 1,929 yards and 23 TDs with 303 yards receiving and a TD on top of it, leading to 2232 total yards from scrimmage and 24 total TDs. In 2013, Carey had 1,885 yards rushing and 19 TDs, with one catch for a TD as well. This led to a total of 2,058 total yards from scrimmage and 20 TDs.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Carey took home All-American honors for both 2012 & 2013. However, he’d win the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year award for his 2013 campaign. Carey ended up finishing 10th in the Heisman race that same year. Thus proving that Ka’Deem Carey is one of the best players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

31. Brady Quinn

Quinn was a stud Quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He lucked out his Junior Year as Charlie Weis, former  Super Bowl-winning offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, became head coach for the Irish. Quinn went from a sophomore campaign of 2,586 yards and 17 TDs to a junior campaign at 3,919 yards and 32 TDs.

Photo Credit: Slap The Sign

Quinn would finish up his senior year at 3,426 and 37 TDs. Both years Notre Dame excelled and competed for a National Title each time. Losses to USC killed their chances each year, however. Quinn earned a ton of awards for his work both years. In 2005, he won the Sammy Baugh Trophy. However, in 2006 he won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Maxwell Award. Brady was even voted as the Cingular All-America Player of the Year. Sadly, the highest he finished in the Heisman voting was third.

Chuck Muncie, Cal
Photo Credit: College Sports Maven

30. Chuck Muncie

If you ask any old-timer who saw Muncie play, they’d tell you he was robbed from getting the Heisman Trophy during the 1975 season. It’s not hard to see why.  In just 11 games, Muncie rushed for 1,460 yards and 13 TDs. He also caught 39 balls thrown his way for 392 receiving yards and two TDs. He also had 143 passing yards and two passing TDs.

Photo Credit: SF Examiner

All of his career numbers were records at The University of California, Berkley. In 1975, he took home All-American honors and was even the PAC-8 Player of the year. Why did Muncie come in second in the 1975 Heisman race? People wanted to see Archie Griffen repeat as the Heisman winner. His numbers were not even close to Muncie’s. Thus, Muncie is one of the greatest players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Rex Grossman, Florida
Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

29. Rex Grossman

While many know Grossman for his time with the Chicago Bears, he was actually quite a successful college quarterback. He played for the Florida Gators and took the SEC by storm both his sophomore and junior years. However, he was impressive enough in 2000, his freshman year, to win an SEC Championship. Yet that sophomore year was just amazing.

Photo Credit: Wruf

Grossman put up 3,896 yards and 34 TDs with five rushing TDs as well. This resulted in a slew of awards including All-American Honors, the 2001 SEC Player of the Year, and the 2001 AP College Football Player of the Year. He also led the Gators to a victory in the Orange Bowl. Sadly, he finished second in the Heisman race this year. His junior season was not as impressive but it was still good.

DeAngelo Williams, Memphis
Photo Credit: FanPicks

28. DeAngelo Williams

Williams is proof that running backs can come out of any college, in any division, and be a major asset to an NFL team at any point. Just ask Carolina and Pittsburgh about that. Williams played at the University of Memphis, part of the Conference USA. Williams was able to dominate every year he played there.

Photo Credit: Behind The Steel Curtain

As a sophomore, he ran for 1,430 yards and 10 TDs. As a junior, he rushed for 1,948 and 22 TDs. Then as a senior, he rushed for 1,964 yards and 18 TDs. This final year landed him First-Team All-American honors. He’d sadly finish seventh in the Heisman race in 2005. However, he is among the only players ever to be named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year more than once. He won it three times.

Colt McCoy, Texas
Photo Credit: SB Nation

27. Colt McCoy

McCoy is a straight-up winner. He started four seasons for the University of Texas and put up great numbers each year. As a freshman, he threw for 2,570 yards and 29 TDs. His sophomore year, he threw for 3,303 yards and 22 TDs. His junior year, he threw for 3,859 yards and 34 TDs. Finally, his senior year, he threw for 3,521 yards and 27 TDs. His junior year was his most successful season statistically. In addition to his throwing numbers, he also ran for 561 yards and 11 TDs.

Photo Credit: Kxan

Due to his impressive run with the Longhorns, he’d take home several awards. In 2008, he won the Walter Camp Award and Archie Griffen Award. In 2009, however, he took home the Danny O’Brien Award, Manning Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Walter Camp Award, and Maxwell Award. He’d even be named the Sporting News College Athlete of the Year. However, he’d fell short of the Heisman both years, finishing second in 2008 and third in 2009.

Drew Brees, Purdue
Photo Credit: Sporting News

26. Drew Brees

If you thought Brees randomly threw for a lot of yards and touchdowns when he arrived in New Orleans, you likely never saw him in college. At Purdue University, Brees had three amazing years. In his sophomore campaign, he threw for 3.983 yards and 39 TDs. In his junior year, he threw for 3,909 yards and 25 TDs. Finally, in his senior season, he threw for 3,668 yards and 26 TDs.

Photo Credit: People

His final year also included 521 yards rushing and five TDs, and all of this led to several awards. In 1998, Brees was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. However, in 2000, his final year, he won the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award and even the Maxwell Award. Sadly, he never finished higher than third in the Heisman race. Brees is still one of the best players who never won the Heisman trophy.

Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Photo Credit: theGrio

25. Montee Ball

The University of Wisconsin has had a great rushing attack for nearly a decade now. However, most of that started with Ball. His final two years as the lead rusher for the team were his best. Ball’s junior year, he rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 TDs. He also had 306 yards receiving and six TDs and he also passed for one touchdown as well.

Photo Credit: Dallas News

However, Ball only managed a measly 1,830 yards and 22 TDs his senior year, bringing shame upon his dojo. He was an All-American & the Jim Brown Award winner twice as well. Montee won the Archie Griffen Award & the Big Ten Offensive Player Of the Year Award in 2011. Montee went on to win the Doak Walker Award in 2012. Not to mention, he was a three-time Big Ten Champion. Sadly, the highest Montee Ball finished in the Heisman race was fourth.

LaDainian Tomlinson TCU
Photo Credit: ESPN

24. LaDainian Tomlinson

Tomlinson is one of the greatest running backs in the history of the NFL. However, he was one heck of a collegiate player when he played at Texas-Christian University (TCU). He had two impressive years at TCU, his junior & senior years. In his junior year, he rushed for 1,974 yards and 20 TDs. His senior year, Tomlinson rushed for 2,158 yards and 22 TDs.

Photo Credit: Bolts From The Blue

This led to Tomlinson being a 2-time All-American. He was also both the 1999 & 2000 WAC Offensive Player of the Year and he was First-Team All-WAC twice as well. In 2000, Tomlinson won the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the best college running back. Sadly, he only finished fourth in the Heisman race in 2000.

Larry Fitzgerald, Pitt
Photo Credit: Cardiac Hill

23. Larry Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald redshirted his first year at the University of Pittsburgh. However, once he could play, he put up legendary numbers for a wideout. As a freshman(RS), he managed 69 receptions for 1,005 yards and 12 TDs. However, his breakout year was clearly his redshirt sophomore year. During this year, he caught 92 balls for 1,672 yards and 22 TDs.

Photo Credit: Az Central

His redshirt sophomore campaign led to several award nominations and wins. In 2003, he took home the Big East Offensive Player of the Year Award, Fred Biletnikoff Award, and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. He’d sadly end up second in the Heisman race that year. This just goes to prove Fitzgerald is one of the best players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Darren McFadden, Arkansas
Photo Credit: ChatSports

22. Darren McFadden

McFadden was a dominant running back for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 2005 to 2007. His final two years were his most explosive seasons when the “Wildcat” playbook was introduced. This allowed McFadden to be not only a running and receiving threat, but also a threat to pass. This led to McFadden putting up huge sophomore year numbers with 1,647 yards rushing and 14 TDs. He caught a TD, returned a kick for a TD, and threw for three more.

Photo Credit: Arkansas Fight

His junior year, McFadden rushed for 1,830 yards and 16 TDs. This included one receiving TD and four passing TDs. He was First-Team ALL-SEC all three years he started. His final two years, he won the Doak Walker Award and SEC Offensive Player of the Year, as well as took home All-American honors twice each. He is still among only a handful of players to finish second in the Heisman race two years in a row and never win.

Toby Gerhart, Stanford
Photo Credit: Stanford University Athletics

21. Toby Gerhart

Gerhart may not be a name people know all that well today. However, at one point he could have been called the best college football player alive. He had a good collegiate career at Stanford with his last few years being his best. In his junior year, he rushed for 1,136 yards and 15 TDs. However, Gerhart exploded during his senior year.

Photo Credit: Stanford Daily

Gerhart put up 1,871 yards rushing and 28 TDs. He even threw for a TD as well. His 2009 senior campaign was so successful that he achieved multiple awards. Gerhart took home All-American honors, PAC-1o Offensive Player of the Year, and the Doak Walker Award. However, he came in second in the Heisman race. To this day, it is the smallest margin of victory over another player in the history of the Heisman.

Jim McMahon, BYU
Photo Credit: Deseret News

20. Jim McMahon

McMahon is most known for his Super Bowl win with the Chicago Bears. However, like a few men on this list already, McMahon was a huge star for BYU. McMahon attended the school all four years, but his last two years he was the starting quarterback. McMahon skipped his playing time for two years between his sophomore and junior year to do the two-year Mormon mission. By the time he came back, for his junior campaign, he was impossible to stop.

Photo Credit: Time

McMahon threw for 4,571 yards and 47 TDs. The latter of which was an NCAA record for a bit. He had a modest Senior year, throwing for 3,555 yards and 30 TDs. He won the WAC Offensive Player of the Year Award in 1978, 1980, and 1981. In ’81, he was also given the Sammy Baugh Trophy and Davey O’Brien Award. Sadly, he never finished higher than third in the Heisman race.

Colt Brennan, Hawaii
Photo Credit: Icon Sports Wire

19. Colt Brennan

Brennan was a terrific Quarterback for the University of Hawaii from 2005 to 2007. He put up huge numbers for the University every single year. His sophomore year, Brennan threw for 4,301 yards and 35 TDs, on top of 154 yards rushing and two TDs. During his junior year, Colt threw for 5,549 yards and 58 TDs with 366 yards rushing and five TDs. Meanwhile, during his senior season, Brennan threw for 4,343 yards and 38 TDs with eight rushing TDs to add onto this.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Needless to say, awards flowed in. He was First-Team All-WAC twice, WAC Offensive Player of the Year twice, and the Sammy Baugh Trophy winner. He was a finalist for every other passing award known as well. Despite his impressive play, Brennan never finished higher than third in the Heisman race.

Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Photo Credit: Hustle Belt

18. Jordan Lynch

Lynch put up some of the most historic numbers ever for a quarterback in collegiate history. While he did see time on the field all four years he was at Northern Illinois, he started the last two. His junior season, Lynch passed for 3,138 yards and 25 TDs. This is along with 1,815 rushing yards and 19 TDs. His senior year was even bigger. He threw for 2,892 yards and 24 TDs, while he rushed for 1920 yards and 23 TDs. He even caught a TD for good measure.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

This is years of 4,953 & 4,835 total yards from scrimmage each. Lynch would become the MAC Offensive Player of the Year both years as a result. He won Second-Team All-American honors his Junior year while winning First-Team All-American honors his senior year. However, the highest Lynch finished in the Heisman race was third.

Case Keenum, Houston
Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

17. Case Keenum

Keenum was a quarterback for the University of Houston. It seemed like the man was simply unstoppable in college. He is among only a handful of men at any level of collegiate football to throw for 5,000 yards in three different seasons. While he threw for 44 TDs in both 2008 & 2009, both 5,000+ passing seasons, his senior season was his best year. That season, he threw for 5,631 yards and 48 TDs. Not to mention, Keenum has 23 rushing TDs for his entire college career.

Photo Credit: Chron

Clearly, Keenum won several awards for his work all three starting seasons. He’d finish with Second-Team All-American honors at best. However, in 2008, won the C-USA Offensive Player of the Year and even became the Conference USA Most Valuable Player Awards winner twice (2009, 2011). He also won the Sammy Baugh Trophy twice (2009, 2011). Sadly, the highest Keenum finished in the Heisman race was seventh.

Troy Davis, Iowa State
Photo Credit: widerightnattylite.com

16. Troy Davis

Davis is one of the best running backs in college football history. He played for the Iowa State Cyclones during his collegiate period and put up huge numbers his last two years there. During his junior season, Davis rushed for 2,010 yards and 15 TDs, with an additional receiving TD on top of it. His senior season, however, Davis rushed for 2,185 yards and 21 TDs.

Photo Credit: Desmoines Register

Davis won All-American honors both years, and in his final year of 1996, he won the Jim Brown & Chic Harley Awards. During the 1996 Heisman race, he sadly finished second, his highest. Yet this only goes to show that Davis truly is one of the best players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

15. Graham Harrell

The Texas Tech quarterback Harrell put up some massive numbers while playing. From 2006 to 2008, Harrell managed to destroy every opponent Texas Tech faced off against in Mike Leach’s Airraid offense. His sophomore season, Graham threw for 4,555 yards & 38 TDs. In his junior season, Harrell threw for 5,705 (second-most in a season) & 48 TDs. Finally, his senior season, he threw for 5,111 yards & 45 TDs.

Photo Credit: Section 215

This is in addition to 4 rushing touchdowns his junior season and six rushing touchdowns his senior season. In 2007, Graham won the Sammy Baugh Award and landed on the ALL-BIG 12 Second-Team. Meanwhile, in 2008, Harrell won the AT&T All-America Player of the Year Award & The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He’d also win the Sporting News Player of the Year Award in a three-way tie. Sadly, he finished fourth in the Heisman race that year.

Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Sean Gardner

14. Tyrann Mathieu

On the surface, Mathieu’s numbers during his two years at LSU may not seem as impressive to you as they actually are. However, “The Honeybadger” was known to be tough to play against. In his 2010 campaign, Mathieu recorded 57 total tackles with 8.5 going for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two INTs, five fumbles forced, and three fumbles recovered.

Photo Credit: Football Study Hall

In his 2011 run, Mathieu recorded 76 total tackles with 7.5 going for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and two INTs. He also had six forced fumbles and had five fumble recoveries, two of which he took back for touchdowns. He also took two punt returns back for touchdowns. In this same year, he became the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He’d finish First-Team All-SEC, an All-American, and win the Chuck Bednarik Award. Mathieu even won the SEC Championship. Sadly, he’d land fifth in the Heisman race.

Kellen Moore, Boise State
Photo Credit: MLive.com

13. Kellen Moore

Moore is a winner, plain and simple. The man could do no wrong as the quarterback for Boise State. He’d have four straight years where he threw for over 3,400 yards. His last three years improved not only in efficiency but also in touchdowns. He threw for 39 TDs his sophomore year, 35 TDs his junior year, and 43 TDs his senior year. This compared to the 25 TDs he threw as a freshman.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Moore became a 2-time WAC Offensive Player of the Year, one-time MWC Offensive Player of the Year, two-time First-Team ALL-WAC, and Second-Team ALL-WAC once. He would also lead the Boise State Broncos to three WAC Championships and two big Fiesta Bowl wins. Sadly, Moore finished no higher than fourth in the Heisman race. Proving Moore is one of the best players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Peyton Manning, Tennessee
Photo Credit: timesfreepress.com

12. Peyton Manning

Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in history. However, it truly all began for him when he played for the University of Tennessee. He started for the team officially for three years but played for four years with the Volunteers. His final two years are his most successful. As a junior, he threw for 3,287 and 20 TDs with three rushing TDs. As a senior, Manning threw for 3,819 yards and 36 TDs with three rushing TDs.

Photo Credit: Head Topics

Manning led his team to an SEC Championship but failed to win against Nebraska in the National Title game in 1996. In 1997, Manning won several awards for his work. This included the Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Maxwell Award, and 1997 SEC Player of the Year. Manning also took home All-American honors a few times. Sadly, the highest he finished in the Heisman race was second during his 1997 season.

Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Photo Credit: Sportsnaut

11. Saquon Barkley

Barkley was a stud running back for the Penn State Nittany Lions for 3 years. Serving as their back from 2015 to 2017, he put up incredible numbers that helped Penn State become a threat in the Big Ten. His best two seasons were 2016 & 2017, however. In 2016, Barkley rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 TDs with 402 receiving yards and four TDs. In 2017, Barkley rushed for 1,271 yards and 18 TDs with 632 yards receiving and three TDs. He also recorded a passing touchdown this year as well.

Photo Credit: Si

His performance led to First-Team ALL-BIG 10 honors both seasons as well as Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year twice. In 2017, he received All-American honors to add to his conference awards. However, Penn State did not do as well as they would have liked in 2017, so he finished fourth in the Heisman race that year.

Andrew Luck, Stanford
Photo Credit: Pacific Takes

10. Andrew Luck

Luck first became known to the world due to his amazing work as the quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal. In his sophomore (RS) year, he passed for 3,338 yards and 32 TDs with 453 yards rushing and two TDs. His redshirt junior year, Luck passed for 3,517 yards and 37 TDs with two rushing touchdowns to add to this. Luck led his team to a win in the 2011 Orange Bowl but barely took a loss in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Luck was named to the First-Team All-PAC 12 & took home First-Team All-American honors twice. He also won the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year both years. During the 2011 season, he took home the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Maxwell Award, and the 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year. Sadly, he finished second in the Heisman race in both 2010 & 2011.

Reggie Bush, USC
Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

9. Reggie Bush

We know what you’re saying, “but he won!” While true, his Heisman was taken away or essentially given back. Basically, it is like he never won it. Therefore, he’s legal to use for this list. Bush was a top player for USC. He was a top reason why they were able to take home two National Championships and get to three in a row from 2003 to 2005.

Photo Credit: Inside Hook

As a sophomore, Bush rushed for 908 yards and seven TDs, had 509 receiving yards and seven TDs, had two punt return touchdowns, and a passing touchdown. As a junior, he rushed for 1,740 yards and 17 TDs, had 478 receiving yards and two TDs, and he had one punt return touchdown. This led Bush to winning the PAC-10 Offensive Player of the Year twice. In 2005, he took home the Doak Walker Award, AP Player of the Year, and Walter Camp Player of the Year. Since his Heisman is vacated, the highest he finished in the Heisman race was 5th in 2004.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

8. Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey was a gifted player for the Stanford Cardinal when he played for them from 2014 to 2016. His later years were the most successful. In 2015, he rushed for 2,019 yards and eight TDs, with 645 receiving yards and five TDs. This includes kick return & punt return touchdowns. McCaffrey also had two passing touchdowns on the year. Stanford ultimately led the Pac-12 Conference Championship the same year.

Photo Credit: Espn

In 2016, he rushed for 1,603 yards and 13 TDs with 310 receiving yards and three TDs. Both seasons gave McCaffrey First-Team All-PAC 12 honors twice. However, in 2015, McCaffrey saw Consensus All-American honors along with being named the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year & AP Player of the Year. He also took home the 2015 Johnny Rodgers Award, 2015 Paul Hornung Award, and 2015 Jet Award. Sadly, the highest McCaffrey finished in the Heisman race both years was second in 2015.

Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

7. Adrian Peterson

Peterson is one of the greatest running backs in history and it is quite clear that all of this started with his freshman year at the University of Oklahoma. During this year, Peterson rushed for 1,925 yards and 15 TDs. His dominance on the field led to one of the highest finishes for a true freshman in Heisman history with a second-place finish.

Photo Credit: Draft Kings Nation

He followed it up with a sophomore year where he rushed for 1,104 yards and 14 TDs through an injury-plagued season. His junior year, Peterson rushed for 1,012 yards and 12 TDs, adding a receiving TD on top of it. Yet again doing so through injuries. Adrian would be named a Unanimous All-American in 2004 but was named First-Team All-BIG 12 all three years he was at Oklahoma. Many believe Peterson deserved the 2004 Heisman, sadly, it was not to be.

Tommie Frazier, Nebraska
Photo Credit: Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated

6. Tommie Frazier

It is well-known to college football fans that Frazier was a huge reason why Nebraska went to three National Championship games in a row, winning two of them in 1994 & 1995. However, he was never given the credit he deserved by the Heisman committee.  His best year was in 1995 as part of, what experts claim, is the greatest college football team in history.

Photo Credit: ESPN

In ’95, Frazier passed for 1,362 yards and 17 TDs while he rushed for 604 yards and 14 TDs. This led to Consensus All-American honors and the 1995 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Frazier was named Orange Bowl MVP twice due to the National Title wins that took place there. However, despite losing to Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl for the National Title, Frazier would be named MVP there as well.

Hugh Green, Pitt
Photo Credit: Pitt Panthers

5. Hugh Green

Green was one of the most dominant college football defenders in history. He played for the University of Pittsburgh from 1977 to 1980, putting up big numbers each year. In 1977, he had 92 tackles, 15 for a loss, 12 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and one INT. In 1978, Green had 109 tackles, 12 for a loss, 13 sacks, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and two INTs. The 1979 season saw Green get 135 tackles, 14 for a loss, 11 sacks, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and one INT.

Photo Credit: Main Line Autographs

Finally, in 1980, Green managed 123 tackles, 11 for a loss, 17 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. As you can see, Green was literally unstoppable. Green was named to the First-Team All-BIG East 4 times &  took home Consensus All-American honors three times (1978, 1979, 1980). In 1980, he won the Maxwell Award, the Vince Lombardi Award, and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. However, his best Heisman finish was second in 1980.

AJ McCarron, Alabama
Photo Credit: Roll Bama Roll

4. A.J. McCarron

On the surface, people may look at McCarron’s numbers and assume he shouldn’t be a Heisman winner. However, he put up huge numbers for an Alabama Crimson Tide QB and he was a true winner. The best thing McCarron did was also what he didn’t do. He rarely made a turnover, giving the Tide wins based simply on perfection. As a sophomore, he threw for 2,634 yards and 16 TDs.

Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle

As a junior, he’d throw for 2,933 yards and 30 TDs. Finally, as a senior, McCarron threw for 3,063 yards and 28 TDs. This resulted in two SEC Championships as well as two BCS National Championships. He also contributed to a third National Title earlier in his career. In 2013, he’d win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award & The Maxwell Award. Sadly, he finished second in the Heisman race that year.

Vince Young, Texas
Photo Credit: hallandarena.com

3. Vince Young

The architect for one of the greatest National Championship wins in history, the Texas Longhorns great known as Vince Young really deserved more respect. Young had two great years at Texas, 2004 & 2005. In 2004, he passed for 1,849 yards and 12 TDs with 1,079 yards and 14 TDs. In 2005, Young would destroy everything. He passed for 3,036 yards and 26 TDs with 1,050 rushing yards and 12 TDs.

Photo Credit: Fox Sports

This 2005 season led to Young winning the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Davey O’Brien Award, Manning Award, Maxwell Award, and he was Consensus All-American. Sadly, he lost the Heisman race to Reggie Bush in 2005. This led to a Rose Bowl game with USC and Texas where the Trojans had 2 Heisman winners on offense. Young and the Longhorns would defeat them to become the 2005 BCS National Champions. Young had 467 total offensive yards, scoring three rushing TDs, including the go-ahead game-winner.

Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Wisconsin Athletics

2.  Melvin Gordon III

Gordon III was a tremendous running back for the Wisconsin Badgers from 2011 to 2014. He’d get the start his final two years with the team. In his junior year, he rushed for 1,609 yards and 12 TDs. Gordon then exploded his senior year, rushing for 2,587 yards and 29 TDs, along with 153 receiving yards and three TDs.

Photo Credit: NBC 15

Gordon also took part in back to back Big Ten Championships in 2011 & 2012. However, 2014 was his year in which he was named First-Team All-Big Ten & a Unanimous All-American. He’d also win the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award and the Doak Walker Award. Sadly, he somehow finished second in the Heisman race.  Gordon is clearly one of the best players who never won the Heisman Trophy.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Photo Credit: NCAA

1. Deshaun Watson 

The brilliant player who is Watson may be proving he’s an amazing player with the Houston Texans, but we all knew from watching him play with the Clemson Tigers. Watson played for Clemson from 2014 to 2016, however, he started all of 2015 & 2016. In 2015, he put up solid numbers with 4,109 passing yards and 35 TDs with 1,105 rushing yards and 12 TDs.

Photo Credit: Chicago Sun Times

In 2016, he’d pass for 4,593 yards and 41 TDs with 629 rushing yards and nine TDs. For his 2015 campaign, he’d win the ACC Player of the Year & Offensive Player of the Year as well as be named a Consensus All-American. For both seasons, he was named the ACC Athlete of the Year and won both the Davey O’Brien & Manning Awards twice. In 2016, he and the Tigers won in the College Football Playoff National Championship in heart-stopping fashion against the Alabama Crimson Tide as well.

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