Davis, Ernie Davis, Ernie Davis was Syracuse's first Heisman Trophy winner in 1961, thanks to a strong all-around season. He is the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Davis, who was born in New Salem, Pennsylvania, relocated to Elmira, New York, when he was 12 years old and quickly established himself as a gifted athlete. As a senior at Syracuse, he set an NCAA record by scoring 50 touchdowns (returning five kicks for scores) and was unanimously chosen as the most outstanding player in college football.
Heisman winners must be full-time students at an accredited college or university and cannot have been suspended for violation of team rules.
Davis died of cancer on October 17, 1991, at the age of 36. He is still considered one of the best running backs in Syracuse University history. Today, there is an annual award given out at the end of each year that bears his name: The Ernie Davis Award. It is given to the top player in Division I-A football.
The first black player to win the Heisman Trophy was Larry Smith from Southern California. He won in 1975 after a stellar career at Compton Community College and UCLA.
The last black player to win the Heisman Trophy was OJ Simpson from USC. He won in 1995 after a great career at USC.
After Smith and Simpson, no other black player has even been nominated for the Heisman Trophy.
He brought the honor to Notre Dame in 1956, when the Irish finished 2-8. Ernie Davis was the first African-American football player to win the Heisman Trophy. He went to Syracuse University and was picked first overall in 1962, but he never played in the NFL because he was afflicted with leukemia and died in 1963.
The Heisman Memorial Award is given out annually to the nation's top college football player. The award is named after Dr. Edward "Ed" George, who in 1919 established the first national awards program for high school athletes. Before then there were only regional awards given out.
The award is presented each year during the week of the College Football Playoff Championship Game. The winner is selected by a committee composed of two former Heisman winners (one from the National Champion and one from the other team in that year's CFP), along with several other members of the media.
There have been nine other players who have been nominated for the Heisman Trophy. All have been men from either Alabama or USC. They are:
Paul "Bear" Bryant - Southern California (1963) - He led SC to its first and only undefeated season and won the Heisman Trophy. He also coached at Texas A&M and Memphis.
Ozzie Newsome - Southern California (1975) - He played linebacker for the Trojans and was a three-time First Team All-American.
Ernie Davis dismantles obstacles. The Syracuse running back earned the Heisman Trophy's first African-American winner. Unfortunately, he died of leukemia in 1963.
He was 27 years old.
Davis left school after two seasons to join the United States Army. He was granted a medical discharge due to his illness. After his death, the Heisman Trust decided not to award the trophy for another decade in an effort to honor its previous winners.
In addition to his service to his country, Davis worked during his college career to improve his community. He donated all his money and time to charitable causes and became an activist for civil rights.
After graduating from Syracuse in 1962, Davis went on to have a successful career in football. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards three times and scored 16 touchdowns.
He ended his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons in 1967 and started a business planning seminars for athletes. In 1975, the National Football Foundation created the Ernie Davis Award to honor players who display character and leadership on and off the field.
Today, the Heisman Trophy is awarded each year to the best player in college football. It is administered by the Heisman Trust, a private organization that selects the winner.
His heart was on the gridiron, according to the book Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express, the Story of a Heisman Trophy Winner by Robert C. Gallagher, and he was convinced to commit to Syracuse by the program's former running back (and future NFL giant) Jim Brown, according to the book Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express, the Story of a Heisman Trophy Winner by Robert C. Gallagher. He arrived at Syracuse in 1960 and immediately made an impact as a wide receiver and return man. He was also given the opportunity to play baseball as a freshman, but struggled mightily at the plate.
Davis won the Heisman Trophy in 1961, just two years after arriving at Syracuse. He finished with 1,977 yards of total offense and 15 touchdowns while helping lead Syracuse to a 9-1 record. After his senior season, he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the first round of the 1962 NFL Draft. However, he chose not to sign with the team and returned to Syracuse for its last season of football before being accepted into graduate school. He finished his career at Syracuse with 3,030 all-purpose yards and 28 touchdowns.
Blanchard had won the Heisman Trophy in 1945, with Davis finishing second in the vote. Alabama's Heisman Trophy winners all won national titles in addition to their honors. Blanchard led the Crimson Tide to its first of four straight undefeated seasons and was voted the No. 1 player in the country by his peers. He was drafted by the New York Yankees after graduation but chose to play pro baseball instead.
Davis helped lead Kentucky to a Southern title and a No. 4 ranking. The Wildcats were defeated 21-7 by Washington in the Sugar Bowl. After the season, he entered the Army Air Forces, where he served as a pilot during World War II.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy is given out annually to the best college football player in the nation. It is administered by the Heisman Trust, a private organization that was founded in 1983 by John W. Edwards, who played quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 1971 to 1973. Edwards died in a car crash on July 26, 1984. The first Heisman Trophy ceremony was held in 1985 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
Heisman voters are current and former players, coaches, administrators, and journalists. They select one player as the winner. The trophy is given out before each bowl game featuring a National Champion selected by the NCAA.