Looking back at every Heisman Trophy winner since 2010: Cam Newton, Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow

By Chris Gharagozlo
Nov 1, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) reacts after throwing a second half touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy award is the most prestigious award in college football. Becoming a Heisman Trophy winner symbolizes is being the best of the best.

The Heisman winner is at the center of the nation’s spotlight and becomes engraved in college football history. Each winner becomes a legend, but it does not always translate into the next level: the NFL. 

Here is a look back at every Heisman winner since 2010 and how they fared in the NFL, and where they are today. 

List of Heisman Trophy winners from 1935 to 2009

  • 1935: Jay Berwanger, RB, Chicago
  • 1936: Larry Kelley, TE, Yale
  • 1937: Clinton Frank, HB, Yale
  • 1938: Davey O’Brien, QB, TCU
  • 1939: Nile Kinnick, RB, Iowa
  • 1940: Tom Harmon, RB, Michigan
  • 1941: Bruce Smith, RB, Minnesota
  • 1942: Frank Sinkwich, RB, Georgia
  • 1943: Angelo Bertelli, QB, Notre Dame
  • 1944: Les Horvath, HB, Ohio State
  • 1945: Doc Blanchard, FB, Army
  • 1946: Glenn Davis, RB, Army
  • 1947: John Lujack, QB, Notre Dame
  • 1948: Doak Walker, RB, SMU
  • 1949: Leon Hart, TE, Notre Dame
  • 1950: Vic Janowicz, RB, Ohio State
  • 1951: Dick Kazmaier, RB, Princeton
  • 1952: Billy Vessels, RB, Oklahoma
  • 1953: John Lattner, RB, Notre Dame
  • 1954: Alan Ameche, FB, Wisconsin
  • 1955: Howard Cassady, RB, Ohio State
  • 1956: Paul Hornung, QB, Notre Dame
  • 1957: John David Crow, RB, Texas A&M
  • 1958: Pete Dawkins, RB, Army
  • 1959: Billy Cannon, RB, LSU
  • 1960: Joe Bellino, RB, Navy
  • 1961: Ernie Davis, RB, Syracuse
  • 1962: Terry Baker, QB, Oregon State
  • 1963: Roger Staubach, QB, Navy
  • 1964: John Huarte, QB, Notre Dame
  • 1965: Mike Garrett, RB, Southern Cal
  • 1966: Steve Spurrier, QB, Florida
  • 1967: Garby Beban, QB, UCLA
  • 1968: O.J. Simpson, RB, Southern Cal
  • 1969: Steve Owens, RB, Oklahoma
  • 1970: Jim Plunkett, QB, Stanford
  • 1971: Pat Sullivan, QB, Auburn
  • 1972: Johnny Rodgers, WR, Nebraska
  • 1973: John Cappelletti, RB, Penn State
  • 1974: Archie Griffin, RB, Ohio State
  • 1975: Archie Griffin, RB, Ohio State
  • 1976: Tony Dorsett, RB, Pittsburgh
  • 1977: Earl Campbell, RB, Texas
  • 1978: Billy Sims, RB, Oklahoma
  • 1979: Charles White, RB, Southern Cal
  • 1980: George Rogers, RB, South Carolina
  • 1981: Marcus Allen, RB, Southern Cal
  • 1982: Herschel Walker, RB, Georgia
  • 1983: Mike Rozier, RB, Nebraska
  • 1984: Doug Flutie, QB, Boston College
  • 1985: Bo Jackson, RB, Auburn
  • 1986: Vinny Testaverde, QB, Miami Florida
  • 1987: Tim Brown, WR, Notre Dame
  • 1988: Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State
  • 1989: Andre Ware, QB, Houston
  • 1990: Ty Detmer, QB, BYU
  • 1991: Desmond Howard, WR, Michigan
  • 1992: Gino Torretta, QB, Miami Florida
  • 1993: Charlie Ward, QB, Florida State
  • 1994: Rashaan Salaam, RB, Colorado
  • 1995: Eddie George, RB, Ohio State
  • 1996: Danny Wuerffel, QB, Florida
  • 1997: Charles Woodson, CB, Michigan
  • 1998: Ricky Williams, RB, Texas
  • 1999: Ron Dayne, RB, Wisconsin
  • 2000: Chris Weinke, QB, Florida State
  • 2001: Eric Crouch, QB, Nebraska
  • 2002: Carson Palmer, QB, Southern Cal
  • 2003: Jason White, QB, Oklahoma State
  • 2004: Matt Leinart, QB, Southern Cal
  • 2005: Reggie Bush, RB, Southern Cal*
  • 2006: Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State
  • 2007: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
  • 2008: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
  • 2009: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

2010 Heisman Trophy Winner: Quarterback Cam Newton, Auburn

Newton was the most electric player in the country in 2010. After being an unknown at Florida, he burst onto the scene at Auburn after a year in community college. Newton had 50 total touchdowns en route to leading Auburn to a national championship. 

Newton won the Heisman over Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and was drafted with the No.1 pick by the Carolina Panthers. 

How he did on the NFL level

Newton is the only one on this list who made it to the Super Bowl. He led the Panthers to a 15-1 season, and a Super Bowl 50 appearance. Newton’s heroics earned him another trophy to add to his trophy case, an NFL MVP. 

Newton crumbled versus the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, but it still does not take away his historic season. Since the 2015-2016 season, Newton struggled in his final years with Carolina. He found himself a new home for the current 2020 season with the New England Patriots and is making the country remember how good he is.

Newton has found the most success so far in the NFL out of every player on this list. Newton holds a handful of impressive records, a Super Bowl appearance, and an NFL MVP. 

2011: Quarterback, Robert Griffin III, Baylor

Baltimore Ravens QB Robert Griffin III
Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Griffin III was a must-watch player in 2011. Griffin threw for over 4,000 yards and added just under 700 yards on the ground. Griffin led Baylor to a 10-3 season, and it was not a season like Newton had with Auburn.

Griffin led Baylor to have the fourth-best offense in college football, and victories versus No. 15 TCU and No. 5 Oklahoma. Baylor capped off their season with a huge win versus Washington in the Alamo Bowl. Griffin won the Heisman Trophy over Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Russell Wilson, and Tyrann Mathieu. 

How he did on the NFL level

The Washington Football Team made a blockbuster trade with the Rams basically trading away their future for Baylor’s quarterback. The deal seemed to be well worth it after Griffin’s rookie season. 

He threw for over 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns alongside 815 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. His 76-yard run against the Minnesota Vikings symbolized his historic rookie season. 

Washington football finally was back until it wasn’t. Griffin battled through nagging injuries, and things started to get ugly with him and Washington’s coaching staff. Griffin developed the reputation of being high maintenance, and eventually, fellow 2012 draft pick, Kirk Cousins, took over. 

Griffin had one of the most electric rookie seasons of any quarterback in NFL history. He gave hope to a hopeless franchise, and that is no small task. He is now a backup quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens and serves as a mentor to one of the best quarterbacks in the game, someone else on this list, Lamar Jackson.

2012: Quarterback, Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M 

“Money Manziel” might be the most polarizing in college football history. Despite his off-field issues, there is no arguing he was beyond entertaining to watch. He was a threat with his arm and his feet. His highlight reels leave viewers scratching their heads. He made impossible plays seem so easy. 

It wasn’t just stats are not what made him a Heisman winner. Of course, it helped and gave it more validation. Ultimately, it was Manziel’s ability to captivate a nation with his style of play and theatrics. He led the Aggies to an 11-2 record and knocked off No.1 Alabama. 

He beat out Manti Te’o in the Heisman race, and Manziel’s NFL career did not mimic the Heisman Trophy winner’s collegiate success.

How he did on the NFL level

In the 2014 draft, Manziel took a slide. The Cleveland Browns selected the Heisman winner with the No.22 pick. Manziel was believed to be the quarterback the Browns have been waiting for. 

However, that never came true. He lasted only two years in Cleveland and those were his only years in the NFL. He would have stints in the Canadian football league and the AAF. 

Manziel was one of the most entertaining players to watch in college. Sadly, it never translated to success in the NFL and the XFL didn’t even want him. He has since moved on from his career and acknowledges the mistakes that derailed his promise.

2013: Quarterback, Jameis Winston, Florida State

The 2013 Florida State football program was one of the best teams in college football since 2000. While there was absurd talent throughout the roster, it all started with Jameis Winston. 

Winston threw for over 4,000 yards, 40 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. He led his team to a national championship beating Auburn in an all-time classic. Winston declared for the NFL draft a year later and went go No. 1 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

How he did on the NFL level

Winston had only 10 interceptions during his Heisman campaign. In the NFL, turnovers and Winston seemed to always be in the same sentence. In 2019, Winston was the first quarterback ever to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. 

He only led Tampa to one winning season in his five seasons. He was selected to a pro-bowl once, and the talent is undeniable, but it never worked out in the NFL.

Tampa Bay moved onto the greatest quarterback ever, Tom Brady, and Winston is now a backup to Drew Brees in New Orleans. 

2014: Quarterback, Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Mariota and Winston will always be compared to each other. Winston won the Heisman in 2013, and Mariota won in 2014. Both were drafted back-to-back No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2014 draft. 

Mariota threw for over 4,400 yards and rushed for over 700 yards. He led one of the most electric offenses in the nation and lost in the national championship.

Mariota declared for the 2015 NFL draft, and was drafted No. 2 to the Tennessee Titans.

How he did on the NFL level

Similar to Winston, Mariota struggled to find team success in the NFL. His best season was with the Titans in 2017 leading them to a 9-7 record. It may be argued that Mariota held back the team because once Mariota was benched, the team found great success and is currently 5-1 after making the AFC Championship the previous year. 

Mariota is now a backup quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders, and it is fascinating how both Mariota and Winston are both backups in 2020. 

2015: Running back, Derrick Henry, Alabama 

Henry is the only non-quarterback who has won the Heisman since 2010. He rushed for over 2,000 yards with 28 touchdowns. He actually beat out a fellow running back, Christian McCaffrey. 

Henry was virtually unstoppable during his Heisman campaign. We haven’t rarely seen a running back carry a team in recent years, but Henry took Alabama to a national title.

He rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns in a close victory versus Clemson. The Titans selected another Heisman Trophy winner, picking Henry with the No. 45 pick in the 2016 draft. 

How he did on the NFL level

It took Henry some time to make his presence felt in the NFL. In 2018, he enjoyed his first 1,000-yard season and hasn’t looked back ever since.

In 2019, he dominated the NFL rushing for over 1,540 yards and had 16 touchdowns. His dominance is continuing into 2020 as he is already at 775 rushing yards othrough seven games. Henry is a man amongst boys in the open field.

2016: Quarterback, Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Jackson is the only player on this list whose team never really had a shot at the national title. This does not take away from him posting absurd numbers through the air. He threw for over 3,500 yards, and 30 touchdowns.

However, this was not the most impressive part. Jackson had over 1,500 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns. He literally put up video games numbers. Despite not making the national championship, Jackson led Louisville to a 9-4 record and a huge win versus No. 2 Florida State.

Jackson led them to a blowout victory of 63-20, throwing for over 200 yards and rushing for 146 yards and four touchdowns. He followed up on his Heisman campaign with a near repeat performance. He came in third in voting for the Heisman in 2017.

How he did on the NFL level

The 2018 draft is a draft more teams wish they can re-do. Jackson was selected with the last pick in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens. The Browns selected Baker Mayfield. The Jets selected Sam Darnold, and the Bills and Cardinals drafted Josh Allen and Josh Rosen respectively. 

The only team that might not want to re-do their pick is the Bills. Jackson came bursting onto the scene, and is one of best quarterbacks in the league in just his third year. He won the 2019 NFL MVP award, and is making the Ravens legitimate Super Bowl contenders. 

He makes plays that cannot even be done in a video game, and is one of the most electrifying players in the NFL. Jackson’s career just started, and that is a scary thought for the NFL as this former Heisman Trophy winner should keep improving. 

2017: Quarterback, Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Mayfield’s Heisman season was similar to Johnny Manziel, but in a different way. Mayfield did not have the off-field problems that Manziel had. Mayfield was seen as a cocky quarterback with his antics versus Ohio State, and his trash-talking with Kansas. 

However, this did not take away from his season. He threw for over 4,600 yards with 43 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He led Oklahoma to the Rose Bowl to play Georgia. They came up short, but Mayfield went and won games and put up the numbers too. 

He declared for the 2018 draft and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 pick, and became the next quarterback to break the Browns quarterback cycle. 

How he did on the NFL level

Similar to Jackson, Mayfield’s career is still young. However, Mayfield has not found the same success from his fellow 2018 draftee. He came in as relief for Tyrod Taylor versus the Jets his rookie season. He came in and won the game, and the hype surrounded him.

Mayfield has not been bad, but he is also raising some long-term concerns over his lack of development in his third season. He struggled with interceptions in 2019 and that problem still exists a year later with seven picks in eight games. Fortunately, the Browns are 5-3 and Cleveland is finally excited about its football team.

If Mayfield can help break the Browns’ 18-year playoff drought, then this draft pick will be deemed a success. Mayfield’s career has just started, and he is bringing the Browns some much-needed wins. If he can’t turn things around, he may join the other Heisman Trophy winners who became NFL Draft busts.

2018: Quarterback, Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

 

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray in Week 3
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Murray followed up his fellow Sooners’ Heisman campaign with one of his own. Murray’s passing stats did not match up to Mayfields. However, Murray made plays with his feet that Mayfield did not. Murray rushed for over 1,000 yards and had 12 touchdowns.

Murray led Oklahoma to the Orange Bowl to play Alabama. Similar to Mayfield, he came up short. However, it does not take away what he did on the football field. Murray struggled in 2015 with Texas A&M, but bounced back in a big way with Oklahoma. 

He was not only a star on the football field, but also the baseball field. After debating between entering the NFL Draft or playing baseball, Murray chose football. The decision paid off, with the Cardinals selecting the former Heisman Trophy winner with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

How he did on the NFL level

Murray has not played more than two seasons of football, so it is difficult to evaluate his success. In his rookie season, he threw for over 3,700 yards, and led Arizona to a 5-10-1 record. 

Now in his second season, he is making his presence known. He has led Arizona to a 5-2 record, and is becoming one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league. Through six games, he has had seven rushing touchdowns and 13 passing touchdowns. Quite simply, he is surpassing the team’s wildest expectations set for him when he was drafted.

2019: Quarterback, Joe Burrow, LSU

LSU’s 2019 season was something out of a movie. The team had a coach who breathed Louisiana football. The team dominated extremely good teams and made it look easy, and had a quarterback who was once a third-stringer. 

Burrow might arguably be the best quarterback in college football history. He completed 76.3% of his passes for over 5,600 yards and had 60 touchdowns. He also only threw six interceptions. 

Burrow’s stats are not the only thing that made him special. He won against top-tier competition and made it look easy. LSU beat seven ranked teams. The team stamrollws Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, dominated Oklahoma in the College Football Playoffs, and blew the doors off Clemson in the national championship.

Legitimately adored by the state of Lousiana, Burrow went from a third-string quarterback to the best quarterback in college football and later the No. 1 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.

How he did on the NFL level

At times, it’s been rough for Burrow in Cincinnati. There has been plenty of drama surrounding the coaching staff and he is getting hit more than any other NFL quarterback, yet the 6-foot-4 gunslinger remains poised.

Burrow is on pace to set the NFL’s single-season rookie record for passing yards. With an 11/5 TD/INT ratio, Cincinnati’s franchise quarterback is also impressing in the clutch and with his ability to protect the football.

Despite the difficult circumstances, Burrow is already proving he can be a star quarterback in the NFL, especially if he develops more and the Bengals rebuild their offensive line. Needless to say, Cincinnati is enjoying the early success of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

2020 Heisman Candidates – Who will be the next Heisman Trophy winner?

  • 1.Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  • 2. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  • 3. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
  • 4. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
  • 5. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida