What Is The Heisman Trophy?

What Is The Heisman Trophy

Instead of a Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, NCAA college football has the Heisman Trophy. Each year, the Heisman is awarded following the completion of the college football season. Read on to learn more about the Heisman Trophy, including its history, who votes on the players, and why it is called the Heisman Trophy.

What is the Heisman Trophy?

The Heisman Trophy is an award given to the most outstanding player in college football each year, voted on by a mix of sports journalists, previous Heisman winners, and fans. It is regarded as the highest individual honor a college football player can receive. Heisman winners have historically been drafted in the first round of NFL Draft, making winning the trophy a first step to a lucrative career.

Why is it Called the Heisman Trophy?

The Heisman Trophy is named after John Heisman, a long-time player and coach of college football. Heisman was a pioneer of college football, coaching multiple high-level programs like Auburn, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. While the trophy was originally called the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, it was renamed two months after Heisman’s death in 1936.


The Heisman Trophy was originally created by the Downtown Athletic Club (DAC) in New York City as the DAC Trophy in 1935. It was only called the DAC Trophy for one year, as it was renamed to the Heisman Trophy in 1936 after the death of John Heisman. The first player to win the DAC Trophy was University of Chicago running back Jay Berwanger. The first player to win the trophy after the name change was Yale’s Larry Kelley.


Unlike other awards in college and professional sports, the Heisman Trophy voting process includes three different groups of voters. The three different groups and the amount of votes they receive are as follows:

  • Sports Journalists: 870 journalists with one vote each
  • Past Heisman Winners: 57 past winners with one vote each
  • Fans: Fan survey winner will receive one vote

Sports journalists and past Heisman winners will select three players and rank them 1-3 on their ballot. The number one selection on their ballot will receive three points, the number two selection receives two points, and the third selection receives one point. All points are tallied together from the ballots to determine the winner.


After the voting process has concluded, the Heisman Trophy finalists are announced. The finalists are the four players who received the most points from the voting process. The finalists are announced the Monday before the Heisman Trophy Ceremony and are invited to attend the Ceremony that weekend where the winner will be announced.

Heisman Trophy Winners

Below is a list of players who have won the Heisman Trophy in the past 10 years:

2013Jameis WinstonFlorida State
2014Marcus MariotaOregon
2015Derrick HenryAlabama
2016Lamar JacksonLouisville
2017Baker MayfieldOklahoma
2018Kyler MurrayOklahoma
2019Joe BurrowLSU
2020DeVonta SmithAlabama
2021Bryce YoungAlabama
2022Caleb WilliamsUSC


What is the Heisman Trophy in college football?

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player in college football. Sports journalists, past Heisman winners, and fans participate in the voting process. The award has been given out since 1935, making it one of the oldest awards in collegiate sports.

Has anyone ever won the Heisman Trophy twice?

The only player to have ever won the Heisman Trophy twice was Ohio State running back Archie Griffin. Griffin won his first Heisman in 1974 and his second in 1975. He also came in fifth in Heisman voting in 1973, making him one of the most dominant four-year college football players of all time.

How much money do you get for winning the Heisman Trophy?

There is no monetary prize given to the player or school that wins the Heisman Trophy. Instead, two bronze Heisman Trophies are made for the winner and their school, which they both get to keep. Players that win the trophy and their schools have not been allowed to sell their trophy since 1999.