The Five Worst Heisman Trophy Winners Ever

By John Garces
August 14, 2014 8:18 am
Print
486 Views 4 Comments

The Heisman Trophy is without a doubt the greatest individual award in college football, but it's winners are not all created equal. 

This list is about the five worst winners ever, at least in the opinion of this writer.

A few things to get off of my chest about this list right off the bat: all five of the selections on my list are quarterbacks, which makes sense not only because the trophy has been won by more quarterbacks than any other position, but also because it is often the position that provides the worst winners of it. 

So let's get started.

5. Gary Beban-UCLA QB, 1967

Beban won the 1967 Heisman Trophy in no small part due to his Bruins defeating fellow Heisman favorite (and the very next year's winner), OJ Simpson and the USC Trojans in one of college football's classic games, and doing so in a valiant effort while battling through torn rib cartilage.

But one doesnt make a list of "worst Heisman winners" because of what they do in college, and Beban's non-existant NFL career, which lasted only three years and consisted of barely any time on the field at all as he backed up Sonny Jurgenson in Washington, is a big reason why he lands here.

4. Chris Weinke-Florida State QB, 2000

Weinke won the Heisman Trophy at the ripe old age of 28 by leading the Seminoles to a national championship game appearance in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. But that's about where the good vibes end for Weinke, who gave up what assuredly would've been a more lucrative baseball career to chase his football dreams at the age of 25.

When the highlight of your career resume says "oldest winner in Heisman Trophy history", then you can see why he would be on this list.

Winning only 2 games in his entire professional career and being at the helm of a Carolina Panthers team that lost 15 straight games to end the 2001 season after winning his NFL debut and having the second-longest losing streak by a quarterback in NFL history at 17 games is also a reason.

3. Eric Crouch-Nebraska, 2001

The early-2000s were clearly not good times for the Heisman-winning quarterbacks of the era, as a year after Weinke won the award and began his fast-track to a professional flameout, Crouch followed suit in leading Nebraska to an extremely controversial national championahip game appearance.

Crouch's Heisman win is no doubt tarnished by the 62-36 loss the Cornhuskers suffered to Colorado in their regular season finale, which many thought should've ended not just his Heisman hopes, but Nebraska's national title hopes, as well.

But Crouch isn't the worst name on this list, because even though he had trouble giving up his dream of being an NFL QB, his conversion to wide receiver gave him a shot at the NFL before he finally got to live his dream (sort of) in the CFL.

2. Gino Torretta-Miami, 1992

In most of the other lists I used as a reference for this one, Gino Torretts was an almost-unanimous choice for #1.

And while I will be making the argument for someone else, it's hard to argue woith that sentiment, since he parlayed his 1992 Heisnman-winning campaign into next-to-nothing at the next level.

Torrretta bounced around between the NFL and NFL Europe for the five years he played proifessionally, and had an unrenarkable career everywhere he played. 

But all things considered, there's still someone with a worse resume out there.

1. Jason White-Oklahoma, 2003

At the collegiate level, the former Sooners QB was a feel-good success story after winning the Heisman Trophy in 2003 after coming off reconstructive knee surgeries in both 2001 and 2002.

Which is going to be the thing that might make his appearance at the top of this list controversial.

But after returning for a medical hardship season in 2004, White would become just the third Heisman-winning QB to go undrafted (and the first one to still be pursuing a football career and go undrafted, as 1958 winner Pete Dawkins chose to fulfill his military commitments after graduating from Army and 1993 winner Charlie Ward chose to pursue a professional basketball career after leaving Florida State).

Which sort of speaks for itself, even if he did at least pursue his NFL dreams for a while when given a chance to with the Titans before retiring after citing his weak knees as the reason.

 

 

Learn how to get your FREE subscription to CollegeFootballGeek via our partners DraftKings and FanDuel! CFG is the ONLY service with 1-on-1 Expert Daily College Fantasy Football strategy and advice! SUBSCRIBE today!

submit to reddit


By John Garces
Contributor
Become a fan

Leave a Comment

Previous Comments (4)

Please to post a comment.

2 months ago
The Heisman Trophy is for performance as a College football player. It has nothing to do with a NFL career. Go back and rewrite this article about what each of these players did in college compared to other players receiving votes the same year. Thats the rest of the story!
2 months ago

Totally agree Robert. Don't judge a Heisnan winner by his accomplishments at the next level.
2 months ago
In 1967 Gary Beban and UCLA lost the showdown with O.J. Simpson and USC. Simpson should have won the He is an but the committee wasn't big on honoring underclassmen at the time.Therefore Beban won it.Weinke quit baseball because he couldn't hit. I hate judging a Heisman winner's worthiness based on his pro career. White had awful knees and was never goingto pass a physical.Crouch ddidn't want to change positions and just walked away.All of theseguys got it done on the college level.
2 months ago
Heisman runners up generally fare no better in the pros. Joe Hamilton (99),Casey Weldon(91), Troy Davis(96), Leroy Keyes(68), Ed Marinaro(71), Anthony Davis(74), Chuck Long(85), Anthony Thompson (89) are just some of the many Heisman runners up who fared no better in the NFL than the Heisman winner.

Connect With Us

Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...
Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.