Heisman Trophy Most Prestigious Award in Football

Cole Henrichs, Contributing Reporter

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The most prestigious award in all of college football, The Heisman Memorial Trophy, is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football.

The Heisman was created and named in 1935 by the Downtown Athletic Club and was originally going to be presented to the best player east of the Mississippi River. However, in 1936, the director of the club, John Heisman, died and the trophy was renamed after him and they decided to expand the eligibility to include the west side of the Mississippi River.

The trophy was designed by a sculptor named Frank Eliscu and was modeled after Ed Smith, a stand out running back who played at New York University. The trophy is made out of cast bronze, is 13.5 inches tall, 14 inches long, 16 inches in width and weighs 25 pounds.

In order to win the award, each athlete needs to be nominated and voted for, however not everybody can vote. There are 870 members of sports journalism who are allowed to vote for the Heisman trophy winner. Nissan, the sponsor of the award, is also given a vote, but they decided to give their vote to the fans so they set up a poll where the fans vote and the player with the most fan votes wins that single vote.

The first Heisman winner was a University of Chicago running back by the name of Jay Berwanger. Jay played from 1933 to 1935 in an era when the University of Chicago played in the Big Ten. Berwanger, at 6 feet and 195 pounds, played running back in a single-wing offense. In three seasons, and 23 games, he was very versatile, running, passing, punting, blocking, and tackling. He even participated in kick offs, kicked extra points, called the plays and played 60 minutes a game. Jay rushed for 1,839 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. On defense, he played linebacker for the first three downs, then dropped back to return the punt. He once made 14 tackles against Minnesota in one half.

The most recent winner of the trophy was Kyler Murray, quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners. Murray is the seventh player from Oklahoma to win the award, which ties Notre Dame and Ohio State for the most all time wins by a college program. Murray, who is only 5’10 and 195 pounds, threw for 4,054 yards and 40 touchdowns, with another 892 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He led the Sooners to a 12-1 record, the Big 12 title and an appearance in the College Football Playoffs. His passer rating of 205.72 is the best in Heisman history, eclipsing the mark of 203.76 set by Mayfield in 2017.

The Heisman Memorial Trophy has been presented 84 times and is the most prestigious and important award in all of college football.