The Season: The best at every school

Best Individual Seasons Of All Time (2:41)

The College Football Live crew takes a look at the top 16 individual season performances of all time in college football. (2:41)

One season can change everything. Johnny Manziel went from an unheralded recruit to a celebrity after one record-breaking trip through the SEC.

But long after the Johnny Football phenomenon has passed, Manziel's 2012 season will be remembered as the best in Texas A&M history.

Cam Newton can relate. After arriving at Auburn from junior college, Newton and the Tigers went on a legendary run, going undefeated and winning a BCS title, and Newton a Heisman Trophy, in his only season on the Plains.

The Season. That's what we set out to find. That one great season by an individual player that can be considered the best in the history of all 128 Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

ESPN.com writers and editors, in consultation with sports information directors, settled on one player for each school.

Some players had better careers. Some had gaudier stats. But these players represent the one season that combined a great individual accomplishment with its impact.

Pick a conference: American | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Conference USA | Independents | MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt


Mardy Gilyard

Cincinnati: Mardy Gilyard, WR, 2009

87 catches for 1,150 yards; 1,074 kickoff return yards

Gilyard was Big East Special Teams Player of the Year and a first-team all-league selection at both receiver and kick returner. His 99-yard kickoff return against Pitt helped the Bearcats clinch a BCS bowl berth.

Honorable mention: Greg Cook 1968, Antwan Peek 2001, Isaiah Pead 2011

Donald Brown

Connecticut: Donald Brown, RB, 2008

2,083 rushing yards, 18 rush TDs

Brown shattered the Huskies single-season rushing record by more than 800 yards, becoming just the 14th FBS player to pile up 2,000 rushing yards in a season. He ran for at least 100 yards 11 times.

Honorable mention: Mark Didio 1991, Dan Orlovsky 2004, Jordan Todman 2010

Jeff Blake

East Carolina: Jeff Blake, QB, 1991

3,073 passing yards; 31 total TDs

Blake was instrumental in the greatest season in East Carolina history, leading the Pirates to an 11-1 record and No. 9 ranking -- the same place he finished in that season's Heisman Trophy voting.

Honorable mention: Robert Jones 1991, David Garrard 1999, Chris Johnson 2007

Andre Ware

Houston: Andre Ware, QB, 1989

4,699 passing yards; 49 total TDs

Houston's only Heisman Trophy winner -- and the first African-American QB to claim the award -- Ware broke 26 NCAA records his junior season, running the Cougars' run-and-shoot offense to near perfection.

Honorable mention: Manny Hazard 1989, David Klingler 1990, Case Keenum 2011

DeAngelo Williams

Memphis: DeAngelo Williams, RB, 2004

1,948 rushing yards; 23 total TDs

Williams led the FBS in rushing touchdowns and finished second in rushing during his junior season with the Tigers, compiling more than 2,200 all-purpose yards. He had at least 100 yards in 10 of 12 games.

Honorable mention: Dave Casinelli 1963, Harry Schuh 1963, Isaac Bruce 1993

Eric Dickerson

SMU: Eric Dickerson, RB, 1982

1,617 rushing yards, 17 rushing TDs

The pride of the "Pony Express" put up school-record numbers while splitting carries with Craig James en route to an 11-0-1 season, a share of the national title and a third-place finish for the Heisman Trophy.

Honorable mention: Doak Walker 1948, Chuck Hixson 1968, Emmanuel Sanders 2009

Paul Palmer

Temple: Paul Palmer, RB, 1986

1,866 rushing yards, 15 rushing TDs; 657 KO return yards

Palmer led the nation in rushing yards and all-purpose yards, had eight 100-yard rushing games and set a school record for rushing TDs (15) that stood for 25 years. He placed second in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Honorable mention: Brian Broomell 1979, Gerald Lucear 1979, Bernard Pierce 2011

Shaun King

Tulane: Shaun King, QB, 1998

3,508 passing yards, 67.2 comp. percentage; 49 total TDs

Tulane hadn't gone undefeated in 69 years when King led the Green Wave to a 12-0 mark. He broke the single-season passing efficiency record (183.3) and was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year.

Honorable mention: Marc Zeno 1987, Matt Forte 2007, Cairo Santos 2012

Howard Twilley

Tulsa: Howard Twilley, WR, 1965

134 catches totaling 1,779 yards, 16 receiving TDs

Twilley became the first receiver in college football history to break the 100-reception mark in a season. Twilley finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in addition to winning lineman of the year honors from UPI.

Honorable mention: Glenn Dobbs 1942, Jerry Rhome 1964, Paul Smith 2007

Kevin Smith

UCF: Kevin Smith, RB, 2007

2,567 rushing yards, 29 rushing TDs

On the first play of the 2007 opener, Smith went 80 yards for a TD. He never slowed down, finishing with the second-most rushing yards in a season by an FBS player and setting an NCAA record for most carries in a season.

Honorable mention: Daunte Culpepper 1998, Joe Burnett 2008, Blake Bortles 2013

George Selvie

USF: George Selvie, DE, 2007

14.5 sacks, 31.5 TFL, 3 forced fumbles

Just a sophomore, Selvie led the nation with 31.5 tackles for loss (one shy of the FBS record) and 14.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles and blocked a kick while leading the Bulls to their best season ever.

Honorable mention: Marquel Blackwell 2001, Andre Hall 2005, Matt Grothe 2007


Doug Flutie

Boston College: Doug Flutie, QB, 1984

4,013 yards of total offense; accounted for 33 TDs

The Heisman Trophy winner orchestrated what would become the defining moment in school history with his last-second, 48-yard Hail Mary pass to beat Miami 47-45. He was the first player to surpass 10,000 career yards.

Honorable mention: Mike Holovak 1942, Luke Kuechly 2011, Andre Williams 2013

C.J. Spiller

Clemson: C.J. Spiller, RB, 2009

1,715 yards of total offense; accounted for 16 TDs

The ACC's player of the year was one of the most dynamic and versatile players in the country, finishing sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting. He was the MVP of the ACC title game, even though the Tigers lost.

Honorable mention: Jeff Davis 1981, William Perry 1984, Da'Quan Bowers 2010

Dan Hill

Duke: Dan Hill, C, 1938

All-American center, co-captain

A first-team All-American selection, Hill was the anchor of the "Iron Dukes" dominant offensive line that helped Duke to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the Rose Bowl. He finished 10th in Heisman balloting that season.

Honorable mention: George McAfee 1939, Ernie Jackson 1971, Clarkston Hines 1989

Charlie Ward

Florida State: Charlie Ward, QB, 1993

3,381 yards of total offense; accounted for 31 TDs

The Heisman winner helped Bobby Bowden break through and win his first national championship by orchestrating a game-winning drive in the waning seconds of the Orange Bowl.

Honorable mention: Deion Sanders 1988, Marvin Jones 1992, Jameis Winston 2013

 Joe Hamilton

Georgia Tech: Joe Hamilton, QB, 1999

3,794 yards of total offense; accounted for 35 TDs

The Heisman Trophy runner-up led the Jackets to three fourth-quarter game-winning drives in 1999. He was the ACC's player of the year, a consensus All-American and winner of the Davey O'Brien Award.

Honorable mention: Clint Castleberry 1942, Billy Lothridge 1963, Calvin Johnson 2006

Elvis Dumervil

Louisville: Elvis Dumervil, DE, 2005

63 tackles, 20 sacks, 10 forced fumbles

He won the Ted Hendricks Award for a record-setting season in which he led the nation in sacks and also won the Bronko Nagurski Award. He was named the Big East's defensive player of the year.

Honorable mention: Chris Redman 1998, Stefan LeFors 2004, Michael Bush 2005

Ed Reed

Miami: Ed Reed, S, 2001

9 INTs in 11 games with 2 TDs, 206 INT return yards

The consensus All-American was the heart of the Hurricanes' rise to a fifth national title, and his touchdown off a lateral against Boston College sealed the win and kept the undefeated season alive.

Honorable mention: Russell Maryland 1990, Warren Sapp 1994, Willis McGahee 2002

Lawrence Taylor

North Carolina: Lawrence Taylor, LB, 1980

69 tackles, 16 sacks, 22 TFL

Taylor arrived at UNC as a DE and left as a force who redefined the linebacker position. He was the ACC Player of the Year, an All-American for the 11-1 Tar Heels and a semifinalist behind Hugh Green for the Lombardi Award.

Honorable mention: Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice 1948, Dre' Bly 1996, Julius Peppers 2001

Philip Rivers

NC State: Philip Rivers, QB, 2003

4,595 yards of total offense; accounted for 37 TDs

Wolfpack fans are fond of calling their school the new "QB U" because of the NFL talent it has produced at the position. In 2003, Rivers set ACC records for passing and TDs and led the nation in pass efficiency.

Honorable mention: Ted Brown 1978, Torry Holt 1998, Mario Williams 2005

Tony Dorsett

Pittsburgh: Tony Dorsett, RB, 1976

2,217 yards of total offense; accounted for 23 TDs

The only Heisman Trophy winner in school history, Dorsett helped deliver a national title. He also set the NCAA career rushing record (which has since been broken). His 2,150 rushing yards in 1976 still rank No. 7 in NCAA history.

Honorable mention: Hugh Green 1980, Larry Fitzgerald 2003, Aaron Donald 2013

Ernie Davis

Syracuse: Ernie Davis, RB, 1961

980 yards of total offense; accounted for 14 TDs

The Elmira Express became the first black player to win the Heisman after setting eight school career, season and single-game records in 1961. His No. 44 jersey, previously worn by Jim Brown, has since been retired.

Honorable mention: Jim Brown 1956, Don McPherson 1987, Donovan McNabb 1998

Bill Dudley

Virginia: Bill Dudley, RB/DB/K/P, 1941

2,467 yards of total offense; accounted for 18 TDs

UVa scored 279 points in 1941 en route to an 8-1 record. Dudley had a hand in 206 of those points -- a whopping 74 percent. He finished second in the nation in rushing and all-purpose yards and won the Maxwell Award.

Honorable mention: Tiki Barber 1995, Heath Miller 2004, Chris Long 2007

Michael Vick

Virginia Tech: Michael Vick, QB, 1999

Led nation in passing efficiency; 2,747 yards of total offense

Few freshmen have made as much of an impact as Vick did. He engineered the nation's most prolific offense, was a Heisman finalist, set a freshman record for pass efficiency and led Virginia Tech to the national title game.

Honorable mention: Don Strock 1972, Bruce Smith 1983, Corey Moore 1999

Brian Piccolo

Wake Forest: Brian Piccolo, RB, 1964

1,166 yards of total offense; accounted for 17 TDs

As a senior, Piccolo led the nation in rushing and even took over place-kicking duties. He is best remembered, however, for the movie "Brian's Song," about his friendship with Gale Sayers and untimely death.

Honorable mention: Billy Ray Barnes 1956, Jay Venuto 1979, Alphonso Smith 2007


Red Grange

Illinois: Red Grange, RB, 1924

1,176 yards of total offense; 15 total TDs

Grange soared to national prominence against Michigan with four long touchdowns in the first 12 minutes. The All-American halfback became the first winner of the Chicago Tribune's Silver Football as Big Ten MVP.

Honorable mention: Al Brosky 1951, Dick Butkus 1964, David Williams 1984

Anthony Thompson

Indiana: Anthony Thompson, RB, 1989

1,793 rushing yards on 358 carries; 24 TDs

Thompson finished second in the Heisman voting and claimed the Walter Camp and Maxwell awards even though his team failed to make a bowl. He broke the NCAA single-game rushing record with 377 yards vs. Wisconsin.

Honorable mention: John Isenbarger 1967, Joe Norman 1978, Antwaan Randle El 2001

Nile Kinnick

Iowa: Nile Kinnick, RB, 1939

1,012 yards of total offense, 16 TDs; 8 INTs on defense

Kinnick broke 14 school records in 1939 -- six of which still stand -- while accounting for all but three of the Hawkeyes' touchdowns. He became Iowa's only Heisman winner and was named AP Male Athlete of the Year.

Honorable mention: Chuck Long 1985, Brad Banks 2002, Shonn Greene 2008

Randy White

Maryland: Randy White, DE, 1974

47 tackles, 12 sacks; helped Terps notch 5 shutouts

Nicknamed the "Manster," White went full beast mode his senior season on his way to winning the Outland and Lombardi trophies. He was so dominant that he was named MVP of the Liberty Bowl despite the Terrapins' loss.

Honorable mention: Jack Scarbath 1952, Gary Collins 1961, E.J. Henderson 2002

Charles Woodson

Michigan: Charles Woodson, CB, 1997

8 INTs, 9 PBUs and 4 TDs (1 rushing, 2 receiving, 1 PR)

Defensive players aren't supposed to win the Heisman, but Woodson's 1997 season was so good that he beat out Peyton Manning for the statue. Woodson starred in all phases of the game.

Honorable mention: Willie Heston 1904, Tom Harmon 1940, Desmond Howard 1991

Lorenzo White

Michigan State: Lorenzo White, RB, 1985

2,066 rushing yards on 419 carries; 17 TDs

White set a Big Ten record for rushing yards in a season as a sophomore, earning the first of two top-five Heisman Trophy finishes in his career. His 419 carries that season remain the most in Big Ten history.

Honorable mention: Bubba Smith 1966, Julian Peterson 1999, Charles Rogers 2001

Bronko Nagurski

Minnesota: Bronko Nagurski, FB/DT, 1929

Led nation in rushing yards (737); All-American at FB and DT

The most dominant all-around player of his era earned first-team All-American honors at both tackle and fullback. Grantland Rice wrote, "Eleven Nagurskis [on a team] ... would be something close to murder and massacre."

Honorable mention: Bruce Smith 1941, Bobby Bell 1961, Tyrone Carter 1998

Mike Rozier

Nebraska: Mike Rozier, RB, 1983

2,486 all-purpose yards; 29 TDs

Rozier ran with a fierce style en route to Nebraska's second Heisman Trophy, punishing defenses for 2,148 yards -- at the time, No. 2 in collegiate history -- and 29 touchdowns while averaging 7.8 yards per attempt.

Honorable mention: Johnny Rodgers 1971, Tommie Frazier 1995, Ndamukong Suh 2009

Damien Anderson

Northwestern: Damien Anderson, RB, 2000

2,063 rushing yards; 23 TDs

The spread offense arrived in 2000, and no player benefited quite like Anderson, who set team records for rushing, points, touchdowns and yards per carry. He eclipsed 1,000 yards during a five-game Big Ten stretch.

Honorable mention: Otto Graham 1943, Darnell Autry 1995, Pat Fitzgerald 1995

Archie Griffin

Ohio State: Archie Griffin, RB, 1974

1,695 rushing yards (averaged 143.4 per game); 12 TDs

With two Heisman Trophy campaigns to his credit, picking just one of Griffin's seasons to honor as Ohio State's best is a challenge in itself. But he was close to unstoppable in 1974, rushing for 100 yards or more 11 times.

Honorable mention: Charles "Chic" Harley 1919, Eddie George 1995, David Boston 1998

Lydell Mitchell

Penn State: Lydell Mitchell, RB, 1971

1,567 rushing yards; scored 29 TDs (26 rushing, 3 receiving)

The elusive, short-step runner didn't win the Heisman like John Cappelletti did two seasons later, but Mitchell averaged nearly a yard per carry more and had nine more rushing TDs.

Honorable mention: John Cappelletti 1973, Courtney Brown 1999, Larry Johnson 2002

Drew Brees

Purdue: Drew Brees, QB, 2000

3,668 passing yards, 26 TDs; rushed for 5 TDs

The Maxwell Award winner capped his record-setting career by leading Purdue to its first Rose Bowl in 34 years. Brees led the nation in total offense, won the Unitas Golden Arm Award and finished third in Heisman voting.

Honorable mention: Bob Griese 1966, Leroy Keyes 1967, Rod Woodson 1986

Paul Robeson

Rutgers: Paul Robeson, end, 1917

Three-sport star; All-American end

He made the first of back-to-back All-American teams. He became a national star after his dominant performance on both sides of the ball in Rutgers' upset win against the Newport Naval Reserve squad at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

Honorable mention: Nate Toran 1976, Ray Rice 2007, Kenny Britt 2008

Ron Dayne

Wisconsin: Ron Dayne, RB, 1999

2,034 rushing yards on 337 carries; 20 TDs

The Heisman Trophy winner had five 200-yard games, including three straight to end his record-setting career. Dayne won his third Big Ten rushing title and second consecutive Rose Bowl MVP trophy.

Honorable mention: Pat Richter 1962, Ron Dayne 1996, Montee Ball 2011

BIG 12

Robert Griffin III

Baylor: Robert Griffin III, QB, 2011

4,992 yards of total offense, 47 total TDs

Baylor's iconic Heisman winner led the underdog Bears to a 10-win season that has forever changed the program. Griffin broke or tied 22 school records, and his Heisman moment to stun Oklahoma was about as good as it gets.

Honorable mention: Don Trull 1963, Mike Singletary 1980, Terrance Williams 2012

Troy Davis

Iowa State: Troy Davis, RB, 1996

2,185 rushing yards; 21 TDs

Davis was consistent and explosive, rushing for at least 130 yards in all 11 games and exploding for 378 rushing yards against Missouri. He took the Cyclones program to another level during his junior season.

Honorable mention: Everett Kischer 1938, Chris Washington 1981, Troy Davis 1995

Gale Sayers

Kansas: Gale Sayers, RB, 1963

1,072 total yards; 8 TDs

Before he starred for the Chicago Bears, the "Kansas Comet" dazzled for the Jayhawks. Sayers set an NCAA record with a 99-yard touchdown run against Nebraska. He was a two-time consensus All-American.

Honorable mention: Ray Evans 1942, John Hadl 1960, Aqib Talib 2007

Darren Sproles

Kansas State: Darren Sproles, RB, 2003

2,735 yards of total offense; 19 TDs

Sproles embarrassed Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game with 235 rushing yards on 22 carries. His exceptional title game was just a glimpse at his superb season that led the nation in total rushing yards and all-purpose yards.

Honorable mention: Chris Canty 1995, Michael Bishop 1998, Collin Klein 2012

Lee Roy Selmon

Oklahoma: Lee Roy Selmon, DE, 1975

132 tackles, 10 sacks

The Sooners have had five Heisman Trophy winners but only one Lee Roy Selmon. One of the most dominant defensive players in college football history, Selmon captured the Outland and Lombardi trophies in 1975.

Honorable mention: Billy Sims 1978, Adrian Peterson 2004, Sam Bradford 2008

Barry Sanders

Oklahoma State: Barry Sanders, RB, 1988

2,628 rushing yards; 37 TDs; four 300-yard games

Even as we're overwhelmed by eye-popping offensive numbers of this era, Sanders' season still stands out. He broke 38 FBS records, and his 154-yard performance against Missouri was the lowest output of his season.

Honorable mention: Thurman Thomas 1987, Dez Bryant 2008, Justin Blackmon 2010

Vince Young

Texas: Vince Young, QB, 2005

4,086 yards of total offense, 38 total TDs

Young brought Texas its first national title in 37 years as an unstoppable dual threat who thrived in big moments, none more memorable than his 8-yard TD dash on fourth-and-5 to defeat USC in one of the sport's greatest games.

Honorable mention: James Street 1969, Earl Campbell 1977, Ricky Williams 1998

Davey O'Brien, QB, 1938

TCU: Davey O'Brien, QB/DB/P/K, 1938

1,975 total yards; 22 TDs in 10 games

He was 5-foot-7, he could throw, he could run, he could cover, and he could kick. What's not to love about O'Brien? The Heisman winner led TCU to an undefeated season and AP national title as a true every-down player.

Honorable mention: Jim Swink 1955, LaDainian Tomlinson 2000, Andy Dalton 2010

Michael Crabtree, 2007

Texas Tech: Michael Crabtree, WR, 2007

1,962 receiving yards, 134 catches, 22 TDs

The greatest player in Tech history didn't take long to get started, setting FBS freshman records for catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He went on to become the first two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award.

Honorable mention: Zach Thomas 1995, B.J. Symons 2003, Graham Harrell 2008

Major Harris, 1988

West Virginia: Major Harris, QB, 1988

2,525 yards of total offense; 20 TDs

Harris quarterbacked the Mountaineers to their first undefeated season and a matchup in the Fiesta Bowl with No. 1 Notre Dame for the national title. He led the nation in passing efficiency.

Honorable mention: Aaron Beasley 1994, Pat White 2007, Tavon Austin 2012


Rusty Smith

FAU: Rusty Smith, QB, 2007

32 touchdown passes, 3,688 passing yards

Smith had a hand in writing the history of FAU football, guiding the program to its first bowl game. He set the school's single-season records for TDs and passing yards on the way to becoming Sun Belt Player of the Year.

T.Y. Hilton

FIU: T.Y. Hilton, WR, 2011

72 catches, 1,038 yards; 23.2 yards per punt return average

A four-year starter, Hilton saved his best for last during his senior season. But what's most impressive is that he excelled against the big boys of college football, going off for 201 yards and two TDs in an upset win over Louisville.

Troy Edwards

Louisiana Tech: Troy Edwards, WR, 1998

140 catches for 1,996 yards and 27 TDs

Yes, Edwards played in a smaller conference, but he was no small-time talent. The Biletnikoff Award winner was a star against every team he faced. Against Nebraska, he destroyed the Cornhuskers with 21 catches for 405 yards.

Randy Moss

Marshall: Randy Moss, WR, 1997

26 TD catches, 1,820 receiving yards

Notre Dame and Florida State's loss was Marshall's gain. Moss should have ended up a Fighting Irish and came close to becoming a Seminole, but he ultimately took a more direct route to stardom with the Thundering Herd.

Dwight Dasher

Middle Tennessee: Dwight Dasher, QB, 2009

3,943 yards of total offense; accounted for 36 TDs

When you best someone like Vince Young, you've really done something. That's exactly what Dasher did when he set a record for QB rushing yards in a bowl game when he ran for 201 yards in the New Orleans Bowl.

Mean Joe Greene

North Texas: "Mean" Joe Greene, DT, 1968

Consensus All-American; No. 4 pick in 1969 NFL draft

Believe it or not, Greene was more than that classic Coca-Cola ad from his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a pretty good football player too, earning consensus All-American honors.

Taylor Heinicke

Old Dominion: Taylor Heinicke, QB, 2012

5,546 total yards, 55 TDs

Heinicke was unstoppable in 2012, as he broke Steve McNair's record with 5,076 passing yards. He set a Division I record with 791 total yards against New Hampshire and won the Walter Payton Award.

Dicky Maegle

Rice: Dicky Maegle, RB/DB, 1953

Consensus All-American; No. 10 pick in 1955 NFL draft

The season will be remembered for Maegle's 265-yard performance versus Alabama in the Cotton Bowl and the infamous tackle made by Tommy Lewis as he came off the sideline, but Maegle provided a spark all season.

Ray Guy

Southern Miss: Ray Guy, P, 1972

Averaged 46.2 yards per punt; had 93-yard punt vs. Ole Miss

There's a reason the Ray Guy Award is given annually to the nation's best punter. In 1972, Guy set the school record for longest punt, longest field goal (61) and punting average. He also had eight interceptions on defense.

Roddy White

UAB: Roddy White, WR, 2004

1,472 receiving yards, averaged 20.5 yards per catch

Despite leading the nation in receiving yards, White wasn't even nominated as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. He did, however, lead UAB to its first and only bowl appearance in school history.

Fred Wendt

UTEP: Fred Wendt, RB, 1948

1,546 rushing yards; 20 TDs

Wendt's 1,546 rushing yards set an NCAA single-season record that was later broken by O.J. Simpson in 1968. Wendt rushed for an astonishing 326 yards in one game that season.

Eric Soza

UTSA: Eric Soza, QB, 2012

20 TDs to three INTs; 26 total TDs

The pickings might be slim for a UTSA program that began playing football in 2011, but it's hard to argue against what Soza did in 2012 when he led the Roadrunners to an 8-4 record.

Antonio Andrews

Western Kentucky: Antonio Andrews, RB, 2012

3,161 all-purpose yards; accounted for 15 TDs

Only two players have ever gained 3,000 or more all-purpose yards in a single season: Barry Sanders and Andrews. The Hilltoppers' star played nonconference games against Alabama and Kentucky in 2012 too.


Doc Blanchard

Army: Doc Blanchard, RB, 1945

722 rushing yards; 17 total TDs

Half of a backfield combo that ranked as one of the most devastating, Blanchard became the first junior to win the Heisman. Teaming with Glenn Davis, Blanchard starred at running back and linebacker and was the kicker.

Honorable mention: Glenn Davis 1945, Glenn Davis 1946, Pete Dawkins 1958

Ty Detmer

BYU: Ty Detmer, QB, 1990

5,188 passing yards; 45 total TDs

It wasn't easy to unseat the seasons of Jim McMahon (1980) and Steve Young (1983) as the Cougars' greatest, but Detmer did it as a junior. His Heisman run featured a win over reigning national champion Miami.

Honorable mention: Jim McMahon 1980, Steve Young 1983, Luke Staley 2001

Roger Staubach

Navy: Roger Staubach, QB, 1963

1,892 yards of total offense, 15 total TDs

Before a tour of duty in Vietnam and two Super Bowl titles in five tries with the Dallas Cowboys, Staubach won the Heisman, quarterbacking the Midshipmen to nine wins, including Navy's last victory over Notre Dame until 2007.

Honorable mention: Joe Bellino 1960, Napoleon McCallum 1983, Keenan Reynolds 2013

Johnny Lujack

Notre Dame: Johnny Lujack, QB, 1947

2,518 yards of total offense, 21 total TDs

The forefather of the western Pennsylvania cradle of quarterbacks, Lujack led Notre Dame to a 9-0 mark and won the Heisman Trophy to cap a career interrupted by service in World War II.

Honorable mention: George Gipp 1920, Leon Hart 1949, Manti Te'o 2012


Dwight Smith

Akron: Dwight Smith, CB, 2000

10 interceptions, two returned for TDs; 58 tackles

Smith led the country in interceptions, INT return yards and defensive TDs. He was Akron's first FBS All-American and the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. The Zips had consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 14 years.

Honorable mention: Charlie Frye 2003

Brad Maynard

Ball State: Brad Maynard, P, 1996

Averaged 45.8 yards per punt

Maynard made history in 1996 when he became the first punter in the history of college football to be named player of the year in an NCAA Division I conference after earning MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Honorable mention: Nate Davis 2007

Freddie Barnes

Bowling Green: Freddie Barnes, WR, 2009

155 catches for 1,770 yards and 19 TDs

Barnes averaged 11.9 receptions and 136.2 yards per game, and his 22-catch, 278-yard performance against Kent State helped him become a Biletnikoff finalist. His 155 receptions was, and still is, an FBS record.

Honorable mention: Omar Jacobs 2004

Naaman Roosevelt

Buffalo: Naaman Roosevelt, WR, 2008

104 catches for 1,402 yards and 13 TDs

Buffalo had essentially never seen anything like Roosevelt's school records at wide receiver. The Bulls had only one other 1,000-yard receiver in school history before Roosevelt's explosive campaign.

Honorable mention: Khalil Mack 2013

Brian Pruitt

Central Michigan: Brian Pruitt, RB, 1994

1,890 yards rushing; 22 total TDs

Pruitt did it all in 1994. He led the Chippewas to a conference title, earned first-team AP All-American honors and set a single-season school rushing record. He's one of the most decorated players in school history.

Honorable mention: Dan Lefevour 2007

Charlie Batch

Eastern Michigan: Charlie Batch, QB, 1997

3,280 yards passing; accounted for 24 TDs

Batch's name is still listed 115 times in the official Eastern Michigan media guide after he rewrote the program's records. He finished his final season seventh nationally in completions and eighth in passing yards.

Honorable mention: Anthony Sherrell 2003

Jack Lambert

Kent State: Jack Lambert, LB, 1972

223 tackles; Tangerine Bowl MVP

Lambert solidified Kent State's first MAC championship in 1972 with a school-record 29 tackles against Toledo, sending the Golden Flashes to the Tangerine Bowl. Lambert was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Honorable mention: Dri Archer 2012

Marcel Shipp

Massachusetts: Marcel Shipp, RB, 1998

2,542 yards; 18 touchdowns

Aside from Shipp's video game-esque numbers, he also came up huge in clutch situations. He rushed at least 36 times in UMass' last three playoff games and led the Minutemen to a Division I-AA national championship.

Honorable mention: Liam Coen 2006

Ben Roethlisberger

Miami (Ohio): Ben Roethlisberger, QB, 2003

4,486 yards; 37 TDs passing; three rushing TDs

After leading the league in virtually every passing category, Roethlisberger was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. He also led the RedHawks to 13 wins, including the MAC championship game and the GMAC Bowl.

Honorable mention: Marc Smith 1970

George Bork

Northern Illinois: George Bork, QB, 1963

3,077 yards; 32 TD

Bork helped spark aerial attacks in the sport by setting 16 national passing records. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior led NIU to an undefeated season and was the first player in college history to throw for 3,000 yards.

Honorable mention: Jordan Lynch 2013

Dick Grecni

Ohio: Dick Grecni, C, 1960

AP Little All-America first team

An All-American in 1960, Grecni starred both ways for a team that outscored opponents 269-34 and posted five shutouts. The Bobcats went undefeated and won the MAC and the national Small College Championship.

Honorable mention: Tyler Tettleton 2011

Wasean Tait

Toledo: Wasean Tait, RB, 1995

2,090 yards; 24 touchdowns

Dubbed "Little Barry" for his Sanders-esque moves, Tait had the most prolific season for a MAC running back at the time. He sparked Toledo's undefeated season and scored the deciding touchdown in a Las Vegas Bowl win.

Honorable mention: Dan Williams 1992

Jason Babin

Western Michigan: Jason Babin, DE, 2003

115 tackles, 15 sacks, 33 tackles for loss

Babin registered 100 tackles and won the conference defensive player of the year award a second time. No other WMU player sniffs his record 33 tackles for loss in 2003. Babin owns the No. 2 spot on that list too.

Honorable mention: Greg Jennings 2005


Chad Hennings

Air Force: Chad Hennings, DT, 1987

24 sacks, 31 tackles for loss

Hennings won the 1987 Outland Trophy after leading the nation in sacks. He was a unanimous first-team All-American selection, and he received the Stan Bates Award as the WAC's top scholar-athlete.

Honorable mention: Ernie Jennings 1970, Scott Thomas 1985, Dee Dowis 1989

Kellen Moore

Boise State: Kellen Moore, QB, 2010

3,845 yards passing; 35 touchdowns

The most iconic player in Boise State history, Moore became the first player from the school to be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony. He led the Broncos to their highest national ranking in school history (No. 2).

Honorable mention: Brock Forsey 2002, Ian Johnson 2006, Kellen Moore 2009

Greg Myers

Colorado State: Greg Myers, S, 1995

Three TDs on punt returns; four INTs

Myers won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back and was an academic All-American. He was also a consensus All-American -- only the third in Colorado State history.

Honorable mention: Gary Glick 1954, Brady Smith 1995, Kapri Bibbs 2013

Derek Carr

Fresno State: Derek Carr, QB, 2013

5,083 yards; 50 TD passes

Derek gets the nod over his brother, David, after becoming the fourth QB in FBS history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdown passes in one season. He led the nation in eight statistical categories.

Honorable mention: Beau Carter 1961, Trent Dilfer 1993, David Carr 2001

Colt Brennan

Hawaii: Colt Brennan, QB, 2006

5,549 yards passing; 58 TDs

Playing for offensive guru June Jones, Brennan broke 20 NCAA records, 17 WAC records and 41 school records while tossing 58 touchdowns, completing 73 percent of his passes and winning the Sammy Baugh Award.

Honorable mention: Al Noga 1986, Jason Elam 1992, Chad Owens 2004

Colin Kaepernick

Nevada: Colin Kaepernick, QB, 2010

4,228 total yards; 21 TDs passing; 20 TDs rushing

His incredible individual accomplishments led Nevada to its best season as an FBS member (13 wins, No. 11 ranking) along with the biggest win in school history. He made his name in the heart-stopping win vs. unbeaten Boise State.

Honorable mention: Frank Hawkins 1980, Chris Vargas 1993, Trevor Insley 1999

Brian Urlacher, 1999

New Mexico: Brian Urlacher, S/FB/TE, 1999

154 tackles, 5 fumbles forced; 6 receiving TDs

Before moving to linebacker in the NFL, Urlacher was a first-team All-American safety for the Lobos. Urlacher also played offense -- leading the team with six TD receptions -- and returned some punts and kickoffs.

Honorable mention: Pascal Volz 1997, DonTrell Moore 2003, Hank Baskett 2005

Marshall Faulk

San Diego State: Marshall Faulk, RB, 1992

1,630 yards; 15 TDs; 6.2 YPC

As a sophomore, Faulk led the nation in rushing and finished second in the Heisman voting to Miami's Gino Torretta. He was a consensus All-American and the WAC Offensive Player of the Year.

Honorable mention: Dennis Shaw 1969, Willie Buchanon 1971, Marshall Faulk 1993

Roy Zimmerman

San Jose State: Roy Zimmerman, FB, 1939

Leading passer and rusher; had eight INTs

Zimmerman guided the Spartans to their only undefeated season in school history. Although he is officially listed as a fullback, Zimmerman led the team in rushing, passing, TDs and INTs and also kicked extra points and punted.

Honorable mention: Dave Chaney 1971, Mike Perez 1986, David Fales 2012

Randall Cunningham

UNLV: Randall Cunningham, QB/P, 1984

2,628 yards, 24 TDs passing; 47.5 yards per punt

Cunningham was named the PCAA's offensive player of the year, and he was first team all-conference at quarterback and punter. He led UNLV to an 11-2 record and its first bowl game.

Honorable mention: Mike Thomas 1973, Joe Kristosik 1997, Jamaal Brimmer 2003

Merlin Olsen

Utah State: Merlin Olsen, DT, 1961

Defense allowed 139.4 yards, 7.8 points per game

Olsen won the Outland Trophy in 1961 and was a first-team All-American and an Academic All-American. Led by Olsen, the Utah State defense allowed just 50.8 yards rushing per game, which was tops in the nation.

Honorable mention: Tony Adams 1972, Louie Giammona 1974, Chuckie Keeton 2012

Marcus Harris

Wyoming: Marcus Harris, WR, 1996

1,650 receiving yards and 13 TDs on 109 catches

Harris claimed the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver. He finished ninth in the Heisman voting, was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American for the 10-2 Cowboys.

Honorable mention: Eddie Talboom 1950, Jay Novacek 1984, Brian Lee 1997


Ka'Deem Carey

Arizona: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, 2012

2,232 yards of total offense, 24 total TDs

Carey, who was a consensus All-American, led the country in rushing yards per game (148.4) and total yards (1,929). He ranked No. 5 in the nation in total touchdowns and was a member of the All-Pac-12 first team.

Honorable mention: Art Luppino 1954, Tedy Bruschi 1993, Chris McAlister 1998

Terrell Suggs

Arizona State: Terrell Suggs, DE, 2002

24 sacks, 31.5 tackles for loss, 6 forced fumbles

Decorated? He was a unanimous All-American, Bronko Nagurski Award winner, Lombardi Award winner and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. He set the NCAA single-season sack record.

Honorable mention: Woody Green 1972, Jake Plummer 1996, Andrew Walter 2004

J.J. Arrington

California: J.J. Arrington, RB, 2004

2,139 yards of total offense; 15 TDs

Arrington carried the ball 289 times and led the nation in rushing (2,018 yards) and yards per carry (7.0), earning consensus All-American honors and finishing eighth in Heisman Trophy voting for the 10-win Bears.

Honorable mention: Jackie Jensen 1948, Ron Rivera 1983, DeSean Jackson 2006

Rashaan Salaam

Colorado: Rashaan Salaam, RB, 1994

2,349 yards of total offense; 24 TDs

In one of the greatest running back seasons in college football history, Salaam hauled in several awards, including the Heisman, the Doak Walker and the Walter Camp as part of a 2,055-yard rushing season.

Honorable mention: Byron White 1937, Darian Hagan 1989, Alfred Williams 1990

LaMichael James

Oregon: LaMichael James, RB, 2010

1,939 yards of total offense; 24 TDs

James, who was a consensus All-American, won the Doak Walker Award and was third in Heisman Trophy voting. He ranked first in the nation in touchdowns and rushing yards (1,731), and he averaged 5.9 yards per carry.

Honorable mention: Mel Renfro 1962, Joey Harrington 2001, Dennis Dixon 2007

Terry Baker

Oregon State: Terry Baker, QB, 1962

2,261 yards of total offense, 24 total TDs

Baker won the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award in 1962 while earning consensus All-American honors. He passed for 1,738 yards and 15 touchdowns and led the nation in total TDs.

Honorable mention: Ken Simonton 2000, Steven Jackson 2003, Brandin Cooks 2013

Jim Plunkett

Stanford: Jim Plunkett, QB, 1970

3,189 yards of total offense; responsible for 22 TDs

Plunkett is Stanford's only Heisman Trophy winner, and in 1970 he won the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards too. He guided Stanford to a Pac-8 title and upset of then-No. 2 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Honorable mention: Ernie Nevers 1924, John Elway 1982, Andrew Luck 2011

Gary Beban

UCLA: Gary Beban, QB, 1967

1,586 yards of total offense; responsible for 19 TDs

Beban's season earned him what remains UCLA's only Heisman Trophy. He was a consensus All-American and the winner of the Maxwell Award, but the season took a sour turn when the No. 1-ranked Bruins lost to USC.

Honorable mention: Gary Beban 1965, Troy Aikman 1988, Cade McNown 1998

Marcus Allen

USC: Marcus Allen, RB, 1981

2,683 yards of total offense; 23 TDs

Allen was the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,000 yards when he piled up 2,342 in 1981. He won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.

Honorable mention: Charles White 1979, Matt Leinart 2004, Reggie Bush 2005

Alex Smith

Utah: Alex Smith, QB, 2004

3,583 yards of total offense; responsible for 42 TDs

Smith finished fourth in the 2004 Heisman Trophy voting after leading the Utes to an unbeaten season, one that was capped with a Fiesta Bowl victory and No. 4 ranking. He was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.

Honorable mention: Scott Mitchell 1988, Eric Weddle 2006, Brian Johnson 2008

Steve Emtman

Washington: Steve Emtman, DT, 1991

60 tackles, 19.5 tackles, 6.5 sacks

Emtman won the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy and was the Pac-10 defensive POY. The consensus All-American finished fourth in the voting for the Heisman as he led the Huskies to a share of the national title.

Honorable mention: Al Worley 1968, Corey Dillon 1996, Reggie Williams 2002

Ryan Leaf

Washington State: Ryan Leaf, QB, 1997

3,968 passing yards; responsible for 40 TDs

Leaf, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, led the Cougars to their first Rose Bowl appearance in 67 years. He was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and received the Sammy Baugh Trophy.

Honorable mention: Rueben Mayes 1984, Rien Long 2002, Jerome Harrison 2005


Derrick Thomas

Alabama: Derrick Thomas, LB, 1988

School records with 39 tackles for loss and 27 sacks

Thomas' 27 sacks would be an NCAA record if the NCAA had considered it an official stat at the time. His 1988 season is still considered the gold standard for defensive performance in the SEC.

Honorable mention: Harry Gilmer 1945, Lee Roy Jordan 1962, Mark Ingram 2009

Ronnie Caveness

Arkansas: Ronnie Caveness, LB/C, 1964

Led top scoring defense with 155 tackles

A two-way player on Arkansas' 1964 national championship team -- the Hogs' last national title -- Caveness registered 155 total tackles as a linebacker and was an All-Southwest Conference center.

Honorable mention: Madre Hill 1995, Darren McFadden 2006, Darren McFadden 2007

Cam Newton

Auburn: Cam Newton, QB, 2010

4,369 yards of total offense, 51 touchdowns

Newton made the most of his one season at Auburn, leading the SEC in rushing and the nation in touchdowns. He ran for 170 yards or more in four consecutive SEC games on the way to a BCS title.

Honorable mention: Bo Jackson 1985, Tracy Rocker 1988, Tre Mason 2013

Tim Tebow

Florida: Tim Tebow, QB, 2007

4,181 yards of total offense; SEC-record 55 touchdowns

The Heisman winner became the NCAA's first player to throw and run for 20-plus touchdowns in the same season, using a bulldozing running style while passing for more than 3,200 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Honorable mention: Wilber Marshall 1983, Emmitt Smith 1989, Danny Wuerffel 1996

Herschel Walker

Georgia: Herschel Walker, RB, 1980

1,616 rushing yards; 15 touchdowns

Arguably the greatest running back in college football history, Walker had three brilliant seasons at Georgia, but his freshman year was the most memorable. He led the Bulldogs to an unbeaten season and national title.

Honorable mention: Frank Sinkwich 1942, Terry Hoage 1982, Champ Bailey 1998

Art Still

Kentucky: Art Still, DE, 1977

98 tackles and school-record 22 tackles for loss

Kentucky last won 10 games in a season in 1977, and Still was the heart and soul of that team. His 22 tackles for loss are still a school record, and he was also a force at offensive tackle in short-yardage situations.

Honorable mention: Babe Parilli 1950, Tim Couch 1998, Randall Cobb 2010

Billy Cannon

LSU: Billy Cannon, RB/LB, 1959

1,171 all-purpose yards on offense; four INTs

A true SEC legend, Cannon turned in one of the most famous plays in college history with his tackle-breaking 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night in 1959, cementing his Heisman selection.

Honorable mention: Josh Reed 2001, Glenn Dorsey 2007, Patrick Peterson 2010

Johnie Cooks

Mississippi State: Johnie Cooks, LB, 1981

78 tackles, 17 tackles for loss

No defensive player in Mississippi State history has ever been more disruptive than the 6-foot-4, 251-pound Cooks. He earned All-American honors in 1981 and went on to be the No. 2 overall selection in the 1982 NFL draft.

Honorable mention: Billy Jackson 1980, Eric Moulds 1994, Johnthan Banks 2012

Jeremy Maclin

Missouri: Jeremy Maclin, WR, 2008

2,833 all-purpose yards; 17 touchdowns

Maclin became only the sixth player in NCAA history to amass more than 2,800 all-purpose yards in a season. He caught a school-record 102 passes and scored on receptions and punt and kick returns.

Honorable mention: Brad Smith 2005, Chase Daniel 2007, Chase Coffman 2009

Eli Manning

Ole Miss: Eli Manning, QB, 2003

3,600 passing yards; 29 touchdowns

Ole Miss earned a share of the SEC West Division championship and capped the season with a Cotton Bowl victory. Eli, the youngest of the Manning clan, captured the Maxwell Award as the nation's top collegiate player.

Honorable mention: Charlie Conerly 1947, Archie Manning 1969, Patrick Willis 2006

George Rogers

South Carolina: George Rogers, RB, 1980

1,894 yards (5.9 YPC); 14 touchdowns

The only Heisman Trophy winner in South Carolina history, Rogers led the Gamecocks to eight victories, including a win at Michigan. He rushed for more than 100 yards in every game that season.

Honorable mention: Marcus Lattimore 2010, Jadeveon Clowney 2012, Connor Shaw 2013

Peyton Manning

Tennessee: Peyton Manning, QB, 1997

3,819 yards, 36 TDs on 60.2 percent passing

Manning endeared himself to Tennessee fans forever when he returned for his senior season in 1997 and delivered with a record-setting farewell. He led the Vols to the first of back-to-back SEC championships.

Honorable mention: Johnny Majors 1956, Reggie White 1983, Al Wilson 1998

Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M: Johnny Manziel, QB, 2012

SEC-record 5,116 yards of offense; 47 touchdowns

Johnny Football went from an unknown to breaking Archie Manning's SEC record for yards in a game (with 576) and Cam Newton's season record. He beat No. 1 Alabama and became the first freshman to win the Heisman.

Honorable mention: John Kimbrough 1939, John David Crow 1957, Dat Nguyen 1998

Jordan Matthews

Vanderbilt: Jordan Matthews, WR, 2013

112 catches; 1,477 yards; seven TDs

While not a burner, it was hard to find a more consistent receiver. Outstanding hands and an intimidating wingspan made Matthews a terror for defenders. He led the SEC in receptions in 2013.

Honorable mention: Chris Gaines 1987, Jamie Winborn 1999, Jay Cutler 2005


Armanti Edwards

Appalachian State: Armanti Edwards, QB, 2007

3,536 yards of total offense, 38 total touchdowns

Edwards racked up bunches of yards and honors, but he is best known for his performance against Michigan, accounting for 289 yards and four touchdowns in one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

Bill Bergey

Arkansas State: Bill Bergey, LB, 1968

196 tackles (19.6 per game); 33 in one game

Prior to becoming an All-Pro performer in the NFL, Bergey shifted from the defensive line to linebacker and became a first-team All-American and first-team All-Southland Conference player.

Adrian Peterson

Georgia Southern: Adrian Peterson, RB, 1999

2,704 rushing yards, 40 TDs in 15 games

A year after setting the NCAA single-season rushing record by a freshman, Peterson became the first sophomore to win the Walter Payton Award as the top player in Division I-AA.

Albert Wilson

Georgia State: Albert Wilson, WR, 2013

71 receptions, 2,283 all-purpose yards, 9 TDs

Wilson made the 2013 All-Sun Belt team as both a wide receiver and all-purpose player in 2013. He broke his own school records for receptions, receiving yards, touchdown catches and all-purpose yards.

John Friesz

Idaho: John Friesz, QB, 1989

4,041 passing yards and 31 TD passes; averaged 367.4 YPG

After leading Division I-AA in passing yards, Friesz won the 1989 Walter Payton National Player of the Year Award. The first-team All-American's total passing yardage in 1989 still ranks first in school history.

Blaine Gautier

Louisiana Lafayette: Blaine Gautier, QB, 2011

3,444 yards of total offense, responsible for 26 TDs

Gautier set multiple school passing records and ranked 11th in the Sun Belt with 486 rushing yards in 2011. In the bowl game against San Diego State, Gautier set a school record with 492 yards of total offense.

Stan Humphries

Louisiana Monroe: Stan Humphries, QB, 1987

2,622 passing yards, 18 TDs

Humphries led Louisiana Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana) to a Division I-AA championship in 1987. He is one of just two Warhawks to have his number (No. 11) retired.

Charley Johnson

New Mexico State: Charley Johnson, QB, 1960

1,511 yards passing, 13 TDs

The future NFL quarterback led NMSU to an undefeated season and Sun Bowl appearance in 1960, becoming the first two-time Sun Bowl MVP when he completed 18 of 26 passes in a 20-13 win against Utah State.

Ross Metheny

South Alabama: Ross Metheny, QB, 2013

3,228 yards of total offense, 25 total TDs

Metheny led South Alabama to a 6-6 record in its first season as a full-fledged FBS program. The Virginia transfer led the Sun Belt in total offense at 269 yards per game and ranked third in passing (218.5 YPG).

Claude Mathis

Texas State: Claude Mathis, RB, 1997

1,593 rushing yards, 308 in one game

Mathis was named an All-American in 1997 after breaking the Southland Conference's single-season rushing record. He set numerous school records and posted its only two 300-yard rushing games.

Osi Umenyiora

Troy: Osi Umenyiora, DE, 2002

15 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss

Teaming with fellow future NFL star DeMarcus Ware, Umenyiora dominated along the defensive line. He finished second in the nation in sacks and set a then-school record in tackles for loss.

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