College football’s most-convincing Heisman Trophy winners since 2000

Few player awards in sport gain as much attention annually as the Heisman Trophy. The quest for the prestigious honor in college football is often a season-long conversation, starting with Heisman odds in the offseason and concluding with the December award ceremony in New York City that every aspiring football player dreams of receiving an invitation to. 

Granted, not all Heisman winners are created equal. Some won narrow races, while others blew out the field with record-setting statistics and an unprecedented wow factor. Sometimes it is timing sometimes it is skill, and often it can be a combination of both. 

For that reason, ranking Heisman winners over a prolonged period is an extremely subjective one at best when considering all the variables. But even as the size of the voter-base changes, just how convincingly each Heisman winner won the award is not up for debate. You’ll notice a trend that voters have been more aligned in their selections as the years have gone on, but there are some winners from the early 2000s on the list who still stand the test of time.

Below is a look at every Heisman winner since 2000 ranked by percentage of total points possible obtained.

22. Eric Crouch, Nebraska QB, 2001 (27.75%)

21. Mark Ingram, Alabama RB, 2009 (46.99%)

20. Matt Leinart, USC QB, 2004 (47.85%)

19. Carson Palmer, USC QB, 2002 (48.01%)

Crouch represented an era that since disappeared from the world of college football. Nebraska, which had tremendous success with its option rushing attack under Tom Osborne and later Frank Solich, was led by Crouch, who guided the Huskers to a Rose Bowl appearance against Miami. Palmer began USC’s resurgence as a national power, setting the stage for a dominant run in the mid-2000’s for the Trojans. Another USC quarterback joined him on the list of Heisman winners when Leinart won the award in 2004 en route to guiding the Trojans to a BCS national title. Ingram, amazingly, became the first Alabama player to win a Heisman when he helped lead the Crimson Tide to the national championship.

18. Jason White, Oklahoma QB, 2003 (53.54%)

17. Chris Weinke, Florida State QB, 2000 (58.86%)

16. Robert Griffin III, Baylor QB, 2011 (60.66%)

15. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma QB, 2008 (62.13%)

Weinke led Florida State to an undefeated regular season en route to winning the Heisman in 2000 before the Seminoles fell to Oklahoma in the BCS national title game. Several yeas later, White found himself quarterbacking a Sooners squad in 2003 that some considered as perhaps the greatest college football team in history before OU sputtered in the Big 12 and BCS national championship games that fall, though it didn’t stop White from taking home Heisman honors. Five years later, Sam Bradford followed suit in winning the Heisman and guiding the Sooners to the national title game, only to lose on that stage. As for Griffin, he became Baylor’s first Heisman winner in program history in guiding the Bears to, at the time, perhaps their most successful season ever on the gridiron. 

Author: Lucy Green