It is that time of year folks, where the best College Football players are awarded trophies and plaques for their accolades. While there are many awards and several added each year the following are well recognized:
Maxwell Award (Outstanding Player)
Walter Camp (Player of the Year)
Doak Walker (National Running Back Award)
Davey O’Brien Award (National Quarterback Award)
Jonny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Outstanding Sr. Quarterback)
Fred Biletnikoff Award (Outstanding Wide Receiver)
John Mackey Award (Outstanding Tight End)
Outland Trophy (Outstanding Interior Linemen)
Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award (Outstanding Linemen)
Rimington Trophy (Outstanding Center)
Chuck Bednarick (Defensive Player of the Year)
Bronko Nagurski Award (Defensive Player of the year)
Dick Butkus Award (Outstanding Linebacker)
Jim Thorpe Award (Outstanding Defensive Back)
Lou Groza Award (Collegiate Place-Kicker Award)
Ray Guy Award (Outstanding Punter)
Ted Hendricks Award (Defensive End of Year Award)
Campbell Trophy (Top-Scholar Athlete)
Walter Payton Award (I-AA Offensive Player of the year)
Buck Buchanan Award (I-AA Defensive Player of the Year)
Harlon Hill Trophy (NCAA Division II Outstanding Player)
Gagliardi Trophy (NCAA Division III Outstanding Player)
The Heisman Trophy is named after a man who was a native from Cleveland, Ohio. John William Heisman grew up in the oil fields of Northwest Pennsylvania, a small town named Titusville, were he was introduced to a form of football that looked like a mix of Soccer and Ruby. He attended Brown University and Penn University where he was a varsity member despite being small in stature (5’8-158); he played all offensive line positions. What a difference 123 years makes in the total evolution of the game and human body! A man that lost a large portion of his eyesight due to lightening incident, he then went on to have a successful coaching career with stops at Auburn, Clemson, Penn, Washington & Jefferson, Rice and Georgia Tech.
After his retirement from football, he played a major part in the growth and development of the game. In 1930, he became the first Athletic Director of the Downtown Athletic Club of New York, and was the founder of a group I joined in 1990, the National Football Coaches Association. The Downtown Athletic Club created an award that was handed out yearly to the best player in College Football. When John W. Heisman died in 1936, the organization voted to name the club award the Heisman, which passed unanimously and thus the Heisman Trophy was created.
With all organizations comes a mission statement, and for this annual award they recognize the most outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners must epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work, a student-athlete of an accredited University or College. The student-athlete must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student-athlete.
The famous bronze trophy is of a running back using the side step move taught to running backs years ago, finishing with a stiff arm. The Heisman weighs 45 pounds, standing 13″ tall, 14″ long and 6 ½ inches wide. In 1934, The Downtown Athletic Club commissioned sculptor Frank Eliscu, who chose a friend and member of the New York University football team, Ed Smith as the model.
The Downtown Athletic Club turned the voting over to the journalists throughout the United States, who see the performances of the collegiate talent on a yearly basis. Sectional representatives were appointed and are responsible for assigning journalists within the states they are responsible for. Each state is divided into six sectors; Far West (AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, ND, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY), Mid-Atlanic (DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, PA, SC, VA, WV), Mid-West (IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI), North East (CT, MA, ME, NH, NYC, NY, RI, VT), South (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, TN) and Southwest (AR, CO, KS, MO, NE, NM, OK, TX).
There are 145 media votes in each section, totaling of 870 across the USA. The writers get three choices, the first is worth three points, the second choice is worth two points and the third choice is worth one. All ballots mailed to the DAC must be signed and are not valid unless a signature from the writer appears on the ballot. The point system was created to curb favoritism, while 90% plus votes are transmitted electronically.
The last four winners were quarterbacks with the exception of 2009 winner Mark Ingram.
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State 2,540
2007 Tim Tebow Florida 1,957
2008 Sam Bradford Oklahoma 1,726
2009 Mark Ingram Alabama 1,304
Players that received the most ever votes since 1935:
1968 OJ Simpson USC 2,853
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State 2,540
1998 Ricky Williams Texas 2, 355
1993 Charlie Ward Florida State 2, 310
1970 Jim Plunkett Stanford 2,229
1986 Vinny Testaverde Miami 2,213
Not only is the Heisman the oldest and prestigious award, it is the most celebrated and sought after award in American Collegiate Athletics.