7 worst Heisman Trophy races of all time, from Mark Ingram to Gino Torretta

The Heisman Trophy is essentially the most illustrious particular person award in all of American sports activities. Regardless of that — or, maybe, due to it — it generates an amazing quantity of debate on a year-to-year foundation, a few of it vitriolic.

The 2021 Heisman race doubtless will probably be remembered as such, not just for it being seemingly extensive open even into the latter phases of the common season, but additionally due to a number of perceived snubs absent from the finalists.

The betting favourite to win the trophy in 2021 is Alabama quarterback Bryce Younger, whom many would declare just isn’t even essentially the most gifted participant on his staff. That honor would go to linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who leads the nation in 32.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. These stats additionally dwarf these of Heisman finalist Aidan Hutchinson, the lone defender on the checklist.

Different detractors of 2021’s finalists notice how Michigan State operating again Kenneth Walker III and Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, one-time leaders of the Heisman dialogue, have been absent from the finalists. Whereas that takes nothing away from the 4 finalists (Younger, Hutchinson, Kenny Pickett and C.J. Stroud) it does illustrate the fervor with which followers focus on the Heisman.

The 2021 race just isn’t the primary one to generate controversy, nevertheless. Not by an extended shot. There have been a number of head-scratching races over current years, whether or not as a result of they have been lacking apparent stars amongst their finalists, featured less-than-inspiring rivals or just whiffed on who in the end took dwelling the {hardware}.

That is not prone to change anytime within the close to future — not so long as the voting course of contains 870 voting members and regional bias, anyway. Since Sporting Information cannot look into the longer term, we glance into the previous with the reward of hindsight to recollect among the worst Heisman Trophy races within the award’s illustrious historical past:

MORE: Biggest Heisman Trophy snubs for 2021

2009: Mark Ingram over Toby Gerhart, Ndamukong Suh

The 2009 Heisman Trophy race will probably be remembered not solely because the closest race within the award’s historical past (Alabama operating again Mark Ingram beat runner-up Toby Gerhart of Stanford by 28 factors) but additionally for the actual fact Ingram didn’t win the highest particular person award for his place, the Doak Walker. Gerhart really out-produced the sophomore in dashing yards and touchdowns (Gerhart had 1,871 yards and 28 touchdowns to Ingram’s 1,658 yards and 17 scores) to win the award.

Probably the most maddening a part of the 2009 race wasn’t that Ingram beat Gerhart, however that Nebraska defensive sort out Ndamukong Suh, the highest defensive participant within the nation and simply essentially the most dominant/excellent/invaluable participant, solely completed fourth within the closing balloting. He completed the season with 85 tackles, 24 for a loss and 12 sacks. He was nigh unstoppable within the Massive 12 championship recreation, however that wasn’t sufficient to safe him as the primary defense-only participant to win the award.

2004: Adrian Peterson’s freshman standing prices him

Leinart was the quarterback of the Trojans within the midst of their Pete Carroll-era dynasty, and put up 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns to 6 interceptions for the undefeated Trojans — a good choice, all issues thought-about. However Leinart’s play was nothing groundbreaking, whereas a freshman operating again from Oklahoma was demonstrating to the world how dominant a participant he could be for years to come back.

Adrian Peterson put up astounding numbers in his first season in Norman, dashing for 1,925 yards and 15 touchdowns with 5.7 yards per try. That included 9 straight video games of 100-plus yards and three of 220-plus yards. He was clearly completely different than the remainder of his Heisman competitors (Leinart, Oklahoma quarterback Jason White and Utah quarterback Alex Smith) and would go on to have the best skilled profession. However voters’ insistence on voting for upperclassmen stored the award out of Peterson’s deserving fingers. An underclassmen wouldn’t win the award till Florida’s Tim Tebow in 2007. A freshman didn’t win it till Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in 2012.

2003: Larry Fitzgerald’s brilliance snubbed

DeVonta Smith in 2020 grew to become the primary receiver to win the Heisman since Desmon Howard in 1991. However Larry Fitzgerald ought to have claimed that honor within the 2003 Heisman race after placing up 92 receptions for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns for 8-5 Pitt.

White had 3,846 passing yards and 40 touchdowns to 10 interceptions for the BCS championship game-bound Sooners however, once more, voters selected to prioritize stats over play when it got here to voting. In that sense, it would nearly at all times be a quarterback award, contemplating no different participant touches the ball extra. At the least voters understood Fitzgerald’s brilliance sufficient to make him a not-too-distant runner-up in 2003 (he completed simply 128 factors behind White).

2000: LaDainian Tomlinson finishes fourth

Tomlinson wasn’t precisely an unknown commodity when he rushed for two,158 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior for 10-2 TCU in 2000; he had already rushed 1,974 yards and 20 scores the 12 months prior, when Ron Dayne gained the Heisman. But regardless of dashing for 4,000-plus yards within the span of two seasons, Tomlinson completed an absurd fourth within the Heisman balloting behind three quarterbacks (beginning to see a development but?) These have been Florida State’s Chris Weinke, Oklahoma’s Josh Heupel and Purdue’s Drew Brees, respectively.

Whereas these gamers definitely put up respectable numbers, they have been, once more, hardly earth-shattering. In the meantime, Tomlinson’s single-season dashing whole was the fourth-highest on the time he set it in 2000, and was 8 yards greater than Heisman winner Tony Dorsett’s mark in 1976.

1992: Gino Torretta retains Marshall Faulk from Heisman

The 12 months is 1992. Miami’s dynasty of the ’80s seemed to be going sturdy into the brand new decae, because the Hurricanes got here off a break up nationwide title in 1991 and have been able to compete for the consensus championship in 1992. The Hurricanes had the nation’s top-ranked offense, led by Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta. However his numbers (228 completions out of 402 makes an attempt for 3,060 yards and 19 touchdowns to seven interceptions) look downright pedestrian from the trendy lense.

Historical past does not look kindly on Torretta’s Heisman, particularly after Alabama’s top-ranked protection schooled the trash-talking Hurricanes within the 1993 Sugar Bowl to win the nationwide championship. In the meantime, sophomore operating again Marshall Faulk of San Diego State rushed for 1,630 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hindsight is 20/20, however voters ought to have seen that Faulk’s brilliance could possibly be credited to himself, and never simply the Aztecs’ WAC opponents.

1980: George Rogers over Hugh Inexperienced, Herschel Walker

South Carolina’s George Rogers had arguably higher stats over his Georgia counterpart, dashing for 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns to Walker’s 1,616 yard and 15 touchdowns, regardless of the actual fact the latter out-rushed Rogers 219-168 of their head-to-head matchup. In the meantime, arguably the very best participant within the nation, Pitt defensive finish Hugh Inexperienced, completed because the runner-up in 1980.

How dominant was Inexperienced in 1980? He had 123 tackles, 17 tackles, seven compelled fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, six passes defensed and 17 quarterback hurries. He gained the Sporting Information Participant of the Yr, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards that season, although clearly did not impress Heisman voters sufficient to warrant turning into the primary defensive participant to win the award.

1956: Jim Brown’s unrecognized greatness

Paul Hornung was a flexible participant for Notre Dame in 1956 however nonetheless had extra interceptions (13) than passing touchdowns (three). In the meantime, Syracuse operating again Jim Brown led all Heisman finalists with 986 dashing yards and 13 touchdowns, all on high of a 6.2 yard-per-carry common. He completed fifth behind the likes of Tennessee’s Johnny Majors, Oklahoma’s Tommy McDonald and Oklahoma’s Jerry Tubbs.

It is simple to see why Brown’s greatness went unrecognized in faculty soccer. 5 years following his commencement, Orange operating again Ernie Davis grew to become the primary Black participant in faculty soccer historical past to win the Heisman.

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