How will the Heisman winners vote?

The Heisman electorate is made up of 870 media members plus 56 former winners. It’s a bit of a fun exercise to try to figure out where those 56 votes will end up. Here’s a few assumptions we can make:

— Notre Dame’s four living Heisman winners will vote for Te’o.

— Ohio State’s four living Heisman winners will vote for Miller.

— USC’s six living Heisman winners will vote for Lee.

— Texas A&M’s one living Heisman winner will vote for Manziel.

That leaves 41 more winners up for grabs.

In keeping with the fun of this excercise, here’s how I think the remaining Heisman winner votes might be apportioned and why:


Robert Griffin III — RG3 was recruited by Kevin Sumlin at one point, so I think he’ll go with a fellow Texas spread quarterbacking legend.

Cam Newton — He’ll go with the guy who broke his SEC total offense mark, I would think.

Sam Bradford — Another guy from the Sumlin school.

Charlie Ward — He would appreciate his fellow undersized, dual-threat quarterback.

Ty Detmer — Another undersized quarterback with Texas high school origins.

Andre Ware — A former Houston quarterback, where Sumlin used to coach.

Bo Jackson — I think he’ll go with the guy who knocked off his arch-rival, Alabama.

Doug Flutie — Um, do we need to wonder why here?

Herschel Walker — He couldn’t win it as a freshman. Maybe he wants someone to finally break that barrier. Or does he?

George Rogers — He’ll stick with the SEC candidate.

Earl Campbell — His affinity for a fellow Texas high school legend will overcome his hatred of the Aggies.

Steve Spurrier — He saw Manziel up close and will no doubt select him.

Roger Staubach — Another mobile quarterback from back in the day with a close-cropped haircut.

Billy Cannon — He’ll go with the SEC candidate.


Tim Tebow — Klein has been called “another Tebow,” and not just because of his style of play.

Jason White — I think he’d be the type who appreciates what Klein has accomplished in his career.

Eric Crouch — A very similar player to Klein who would probably be loyal to his Big 12 roots.

Danny Wuerffel — Another clean-living quarterback with a funky throwing motion.

Steve Owens — The grind-it-out fullback made his living near the goal line, like Klein.

Gary Beban — A multi-purpose quarterback who beat out the flashier O.J. Simpson in 1967.


Desmond Howard — Exciting all-purpose player picks another?

Montee Ball

Ron Dayne — That Badger loyalty will kick in.

Alan Ameche — More Badger loyalty.


Joe Bellino — This is a stretch, but a service academy winner might relate more to a player from long-time foe Notre Dame.

Pete Dawkins — Another player who might have a soft spot for academic-minded Notre Dame.

So that gives us this total from the former winners:

Manziel — 15 votes

Lee — 7 votes

Klein — 6 votes

Te’o — 6 votes

Miller — 4 votes

Ball — 2 votes

That leaves the following 11 winners for whom I can’t discern a connection with any of the major contenders:

Chris Weinke, Florida State

Ricky Williams, Texas

Charles Woodson, Michigan

Rashaan Salaam, Colorado

Gino Torretta, Miami

Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State

Vinny Testaverde, Miami

Mike Rozier, Nebraska

Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh

John Cappalletti, Penn State

Terry Baker, Oregon State

Even if we give these votes out evenly amongst all the contenders, it looks like Manziel is the candidate most likely to win the plurality of Heisman winner votes. In a close race, it could make all the difference.

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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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5 Responses to How will the Heisman winners vote?

  1. Rick Morton November 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    What about Mark Ingram?!?!?!?!

  2. Barry Mack November 23, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Vote for Collin Klein. Any former winner knows a QB can only perform as well as his offensive line. RG III and others have all had “bad” games in the past or “less than impressive games” and the end result was still the Heisman. If a voter looks at the OVERALL sesaon and NOT just one game, then the integrity of the voting remains just and fair. If we simply grade a Heisman winner on simply one game (e.g. Johhny Football), then we have lost the overall integrity of what the Heiman represents. Collin Klein has earned the Heisman.

    • TC November 28, 2012 at 6:24 am #

      Interesting to think that in your opinion, Johnny Manziel only wins the Heisman because of the Alabama game.

      I would argue that Klein lost the Heisman because of his Baylor game.

      By the numbers, Manziel has outdone Klein while playing tougher defenses… and that’s on the season, not in a single game.

      I was impressed with this article and its attempt to predict previous Heisman winner votes. In my opinion, I would add:

      Charles Woodson – Te’o
      …because he won the award as a defensive player.

      Ricky Williams – Klein
      …because of the Big 12 affiliation and the distaste for TAMU

      Barry Sanders – Manziel
      …he appreciates rushing numbers, elusiveness, and speed

  3. Buddy November 26, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Let’s not forget that “Johnny Football” was arrested earier this year for producing two fake ids to police in College Station.
    (Under age drinking). I believe because of this the Heisman will go to Te’o. The Heisman trust doesn’t want to make another Bush mistake.

    Te’o led on and off the field and embodies the Heisman.

    • Aggiebowler11 November 28, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      I see what you are saying…. And the incedent was before Manziel had ever played a game or even be named as the starting QB… And I think that they stopped worrying about making another “Bush” mistake after all the controversy that surrounded Cam Newton. Just my opinion.