John Cappelletti, winner of the Heisman Trophy John Cappelletti became Penn State's first Heisman Trophy winner after leading the Nittany Lions to a perfect 12-0 season and a No. 5 position in both major polls.
Heisman winners are as follows: John Cappelletti (Penn State, 1966), Mike Guman (Pitt, 1967), Eric Dickerson (USC, 1977), Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1983), Charles Woodson (Michigan State, 1994), Ricky Williams (Texas, 2000), and Jamaal Charles (Kansas, 2008).
The award was created by former Ohio State player George E. Watson in 1935. He wanted to create a way for players to be recognized for their achievements on the field. The trophy is given out each year at the end of November during the football season. It is presented to the player who is considered the best overall player in college football.
Penn State has had many great players over the years, but only one person has been honored with the Heisman Trophy.
Yes, since 2004, when NCAA sanctions were announced against the school for violations involving football recruits, Penn State has been limited to competing in the Big Ten Conference.
Penn State has had a football team since 1887. With more than 40 consensus All-America picks, a Heisman Trophy winner (John Cappelletti, 1973), and a pair of national titles, the program is in the top ten all-time. It's also one of only four programs to have played in every NFL season.
A newspaper editor in Pennsylvania asked John H. Outlaw, "Why don't you people in Penn State start a college football team?" Outlaw replied, "You can't start a college football team in Penn State because it's too cold." The editor said, "Well, I'll do it myself then," and he did, founding Pennsylvania State College in 1885. The new school hired Outlaw as its first president, and they play each other today because the two schools couldn't agree on another arrangement at the time. Outlaw was quoted directly in support of this story, which may explain why Penn State has never dropped the game.
They played their first season, 1888, with a 0-0 record. They've been winning ever since, except for that terrible year when Joe Paterno was fired after going 72-40-1 over 20 years. He's probably the best coach in NCAA history. If you put him up against others who have won multiple championships, like Bear Bryant or Frank Leahy, he would definitely win.
Even though the award was named after John Heisman, who played center, tackle, and end at Brown (1887–1918) and Penn (1889–1891), an offensive lineman has never won the Heisman. However, there have been several players who have been nominated for the award during its existence.
John L. McEwen of Yale (1880–1881) and Harvey Hesterman of Michigan (1916–17) were two linemen who have been nominated for the award. McEwen's nomination came when he led Yale to an undefeated season and Hesterman was nominated for his work on a Michigan team that went 10-0. Another nominee is Frank Gifford of Pennsylvania (1937–38). The Heisman Trophy is actually made by Engelhard Industries and they make a special version with Gifford's name on it. This trophy is displayed at the Heisman Memorial Trophy Museum in New York City.
There have also been several candidates over the years who have received more votes than not but did not win.
There have been three winners of the Heisman Trophy. Three Heisman Trophy winners have come from the program: quarterback Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000, and Jameis Winston in 2013. The Biletnikoff Award, named after Florida State Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, is given yearly to the finest receiver in college football. It was first awarded in 1960 and has been won by several players who went on to have successful careers in the NFL.
Heisman winners receive a golden statue and $100,000. The award is given out each year at the Heisman Trophy ceremony which is held in New York City's Hilton Hotel. The ceremony is hosted by ESPN.
Florida State has had more than its share of outstanding receivers. They include Charlie Brown, John Black, James Brooks, Terry Allen, Michael Adams, Andre Davis, Deion Sanders, Christian Peter, Roy Williams, Terrell Owens, and Larry Fitzgerald.
In 1993, Charlie Ward became the first player from Florida State to win the Heisman Trophy. He led the Seminoles to a 9-0-1 record and a No. 2 ranking when he left school after one season to enter the 1993 NFL Draft. The Detroit Lions picked him up as their starting quarterback, but he was injured during training camp and lost his chance to start. He ended up playing seven games for the Lions that season.
Most Heisman Trophy winners have been seniors over the majority of the award's existence. In 2012, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the Heisman Trophy's first freshman winner. Only a few juniors have received the honor, beginning with Doc Blanchard, the eleventh recipient in 1945.
Manziel's victory drew criticism from some members of the media and sports community for putting himself before his team. However, many others praised him for his performance over the course of the season. He led the Aggies to an 11-1 record and their first No. 1 ranking since 1999, when they were ranked first by both the Coaches' Poll and AP Poll. The 2011 winner, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, was considered one of the favorites to win last year's Heisman Trophy race before he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery.
There have been other freshmen or sophomores who have finished in the top five of the Heisman voting, including Oklahoma State running back Justin Smith (2003) and Missouri defensive end Jared Goff (2016). Neither player won the award, but both were finalists.
The only other freshman to win the Heisman is Doug Flutie of Boston College in 1984. He went on to play in the NFL for several teams including two seasons with the New York Patriots where he made the Pro Bowl.
Since then, no other freshman has even come close to winning the award.