Passer Efficiency and the Heisman

The past few seasons, there has been a strong correlation between passer efficiency rating and the Heisman. While many observers of college football look at the headline numbers for a quarterback, like yards and touchdowns, the passer rating seems to be a better indicator of overall Heisman worthiness.

Here are the passer ratings of recent Heisman winners (and finalists) and where they ranked nationally:


Robert Griffin III — 189.47/2nd

Andrew Luck — 169.68/5th


Cameron Newton — 182.05/2nd

Andrew Luck — 170.03/3rd

Kellen Moore — 182.64/1st


Tim Tebow — 164.17/1st

Colt McCoy — 147.41/16th


Sam Bradford — 180.84/1st

Colt McCoy — 173.74/3rd

Tim Tebow — 172.38/4th


Tim Tebow — 172.47/2nd

Colt Brennan — 159.84/4th

As you can see, the past four quarterbacks to win the Heisman finished either first or second nationally in passing efficiency, with an average rating of 181.20. Other Heisman finalists were in the top five of the rankings.

It just so happens that Collin Klein (currently 2nd nationally), Geno Smith (4th) and AJ McCarron (1st) are all in that that wheelhouse.


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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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