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Heisman Trophy history: Who won last year? Which positions have won it the most?

The biggest individual prize in college football is on the line. Here’s the history of the award.

Detail view of LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow’s Heisman Trophy during a post ceremony press conference at the New York Marriott Marquis. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy will be awarded for the 87th time on Saturday, December 11th by the Heisman Trust. And while you think you might know about the oldest trophy in college football, here’s a few things you might not be aware of about the award.

Keep in mind each winner actually receives two Heismans; one for themselves, and one for the university they represented to display.


The Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan was the trustee and host of the event until 2001, when the 9/11 attacks damaged their location and the organization eventually filed for bankruptcy.

The Yale Club of New York City took over presentation rights in 2002 and 2003, with the ceremony at the Marriott Marquis on Broadway. The Marquis also held the 2004 event, but the newly-formed Heisman Trust took over governance of the award that same year, and in 2005 moved it to the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, where it remained for 15 years.

The PlayStation Theater closed at the end of 2019, and the ceremony took place virtually in 2020 from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut due to Covid-19.

For 2021, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room in New York City will serve as the host for the first time. All 84 winners of the award will have their painted portrait on display, but not 2005 winner and USC running back Reggie Bush, who later forfeited his award.

Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner

If you’ve forgotten about Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, blame the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation. Smith had 117 catches for 1,856 and 23 touchdowns his senior year before becoming the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Heisman winners by position

Quarterback is the position that has won the trophy the most, with 35 winners. Add another two listed as halfback-quarterback in Iowa’s Nile Kinnick (1939) and Ohio State’s Les Horvath (1944).

20 “outright” running backs have won including Bush, but when you combine the halfbacks, fullbacks, and other various assorted players that ran out of the backfield in the Wing-T or Diamond, you can add another 24 players.