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Heisman Trophy Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at college football’s Heisman Trophy.

December 10, 2022 – University of Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams is named the Heisman Trophy winner.

December 11, 2021 – University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is awarded the Heisman Memorial Trophy.


The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded each year to the “most outstanding football player in the United States.”

Every year, several Heisman finalists travel to the award ceremony in New York where the winner’s name is revealed.

Schools with the most wins: Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma and University of Southern California are tied with seven winners; and Ohio State with seven wins. (One player won twice – see below)

About the Trophy

The Heisman Memorial Trophy is named in honor of long-time college football coach John W. Heisman, who was also the athletic director of the New York Downtown Athletic Club.

The trophy is 13.5 inches tall, weighs 45 lbs, and is cast in bronze.

The model for the trophy was Ed Smith, a player for New York University in 1934.

Voting and Award Process

The Heisman Trophy Trust oversees balloting.

There are 929 ballots: “Sectional representatives” choose 145 voters, usually sports journalists, in six regions across the country, for 870 ballots. Each former Heisman winner can vote (58) and there is one fan vote through a special program. (as of 2022)


1935 – First award, originally called the DAC Award (New York’s Downtown Athletic Club) goes to running back Jay Berwanger, a senior at the University of Chicago.

1936 – The award is renamed in honor of John Heisman.

1961 – Ernie Davis, halfback for Syracuse University, is the first African-American to win.

1968 – The winner is running back O.J. Simpson, from the University of Southern California.

1975 – Archie Griffin becomes the only person to win twice. The running back for Ohio State wins in 1974 and 1975.

1997 – Charles Woodson, cornerback for the University of Michigan, is the first defensive player to win.

2007 – University of Florida sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow is the first underclassman ever to win. The award usually goes to juniors and seniors.

September 13, 2010 – 2005 winner Reggie Bush (USC) forfeits his award after an investigation showed he broke NCAA rules by accepting gifts and perks from would-be agents.

December 8, 2012 – Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is the first freshman to win the trophy.

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