How about the all-time Heisman football team?

by Gary Shelton on August 23, 2016 · 1 comment

in College Sports in Florida, general

Tueday, 6 a.m.

We argue. That's the point.

We debate. We discuss. We shake our heads in exasperation. We measure memories.

Who is the best all-time college quarterback? Is it Joe Montana? Is it Peyton Manning? John Elway?

How about the best running back? Is it Jim Brown? Earl Campbell? Barry Sanders?

How do you judge? Do you consider awards? Statistics? Competition? Teammates?

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Well, here's an idea. Why not let the Heisman Trophy, as famous and as flawed as it is, be the final arbiter? Wouldn't that say something about the regard the players held in their college seasons?

Here are the ground rules. Whoever finishes highest, wins. Someone who was second in the voting beats someone who was third. The total votes matter. The number of times a player was in the voting matters.

Oh, it isn't flawless. Champ Bailey finished higher than Deion Sanders. Tim Brown finished higher than Jerry Rice. Manti Te'o made it and Lawrence Taylor didn't. Manning's best finish was second; other quarterbacks have won it.

Got it?

Be prepared to disagree, of course. But you're disagreeing with the Heisman voters.


DL: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska. Suh played all over the line when he finished fourth in 2009 for Nebraska. A star in the NFL.

DL: Steve Emtman, Washington. Injuries stopped his pro career, but in college, Emtman was good enough to be the overall No. 1 draft pick. He was fourth in the '91 Heisman.

DL: Rich Glover, Nebraska. Glover, a relentless defensive tackle for Nebraska, was third in 1972. That's three slots better than Warren Sapp.

DL: Alex Karras, Iowa. Karras was second in the voting in 1957. He had a great career with the Detroit Lions.

LB: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame. Despite his controversies, Te'o was an excellent linebacker for the Irish. He finished second in 2012.

LB: Hugh Green, Pitt. Green, too, finished second before being drafted first by the Tampa Bay Bucs. He was second to George Rogers in 1980.

LB: Dick Butkus, Illinois. Butkus' best finish was third in 1964. An all-time NFL star.

CB – Charles Woodson, Michigan. Woodson's victory over Peyton Manning (who finished in the top 10 three times) can still be debated. Woodson had a fine NFL career himself, however.

CB – Champ Bailey, Georgia. Bailey was a star for Georgia and in the NFL. He finished seventh in 1998.

S – Tyrann Mathieu, LSU. The Honey Badger finished fifth in 2011 for the Tigers. Now a star with the Arizona Cardinals.

S – Terry Hoage, Georgia. Hoage finished fifth in 1983. Played 13 years in the NFL for six teams.


E – Desmond Howard, Michigan. Howard won the Heisman in 1991.s He made his mark in the NFL as a return specialist, including winning MVP of Super Bowl XXXI.

E – Tim Brown, Notre Dame. Brown won the award in 1987. He later reached the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Finished his career with the Bucs.

T – John Hicks, Ohio State. A massive offensive tackle who finished second in 1973.

T – Kurt Buriss, Oklahoma. Burris finished second in the Heisman Trophy in 1954.

G – Chuck Bednarik, Penn. Bednarik was later one of the most vicious linebackers in the NFL. But in college, he was a two-way performer who finished third in the Heisman in 1948.

G – Jerry Tubbs, Oklahoma. Tubbs finished fourth in the 1956 voting. In his three years at Oklahoma, his team's records were 10-0, 11-0 and 10-0.

C – Dave Rimington, Nebraska. Rimington finished fifth in the 1982 voting. Both Burris and Tubbs spent time at center as well, but these were the high finishing linemen.

TE – Ken McAfee, Notre Dame. Where did Joe Montana's votes go? Some of them might have gone to his tight end, who finished third in 1977.

RB – Archie Griffin, Ohio State. The easiest selection of any. Griffin is the only player to win two Heismans, in 1974 and 1975.

RB – O.J. Simpson, USC (1, 1968). Forget his controversies. Simpson came as close to being a two-time winner as possible. He was second in 1967 and won with 2,853 votes.

QB – Tim Tebow, Florida (1, 2007). Okay, this one is going get some feedback. But Tebow is the only Heisman-winning quarterback with three top-five finishes. He won it in 2007, was third in 2008 and fifth in 2009. Remember, it's a college award, not an NFL one.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Larry Beller August 23, 2016 at 4:45 pm

The problem with using Heisman votes as a measuring stick is that the whole process of selecting the Heisman trophy winner is so political. Candidates from schools with well known powerhouse programs always have an advantage. But it’s fun to talk about. Nice to see some of my all time favorites like Alex Karras, Charles Woodson & Desmond Howard on this list. By the way I completely agree that Tim Tebow should at least be considered for the top QB spot purely in terms of how dominant he was over his entire college career in spite of being less talented than some of the other all time greats who were better passers.


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