This year the three finalists all share one thing in common, a single-digit uniform number. For the first time since the Heisman presentation ceremony began in 1981 there will be no double-digit jersey represented.
Redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel, who dons No. 2, hopes to become the third player to wear the number and win the Heisman. Charles Woodson was the first player to win wearing 2 back in 1997. Cameron Newton of Auburn won the award just three years ago with the same number.
If Manti Te’o wins the Heisman, he will be the eighth Notre Dame player to do so and the second to win it wearing No. 5. Quarterback Paul Hornung won the award in 1956 wearing 5 and was just the second player to win the award donning a single-digit uniform.
In 2005, USC’s Reggie Bush was awarded the Heisman and his No. 5 jersey was hung next to the six other Trojan Heisman winners on the peristyle steps of the Coliseum. Bush’s Heisman was vacated in 2010, so a Te’o win would mean that only Notre Dame players will have won the Heisman wearing the No. 5.
Te’o would also continue (or begin) a precedent for primarily defensive Heisman winners wearing single digit numbers.
Should Collin Klein shock the world and win the Heisman, he would become the fifth player to win the award with the jersey number seven. John Huarte of Norte Dame won in 1964, Pat Sullivan of Auburn in 1971, Danny Wuerffel of Florida won in 1996 and Eric Crouch of Nebraska won in 2001, all wearing the No. 7.
Whoever wins the award will become the 11th player to wear a single-digit jersey and win the Heisman (but just tenth on record, with Bush’s vacated). In the first 62 years of the trophy, just four players wore single-digit jerseys and won the award. Since 1996, seven Heismans have been awarded to players in single-digit jerseys. On Saturday an eighth will join the exclusive club.
And that’s all you probably care to know about Heisman winners and their jersey numbers.