Jameis Winston

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Joe Burrow follows Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray for Heisman Trophy first in NFL draft

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Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has helped to make some NFL draft history. By being named the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, Burrow was the third consecutive Heisman Trophy winner to go No. 1 overall in the following draft. This is the first time in draft and Heisman Trophy history that the No. 1 overall draft pick won the Heisman Trophy the previous season.

Burrow was chosen with the top overall pick one year after 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma was selected with the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The previous year, in 2018, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma was selected with the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield took home the Heisman Trophy in 2017.

Burrow is the 23rd Heisman Trophy player to go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. Another LSU icon, Billy Cannon, pulled off the accomplishment in 1960 after winning the Heisman Trophy in 1959. The only other schools to have multiple Heisman Trophy winners that were chosen first overall in the draft are Oklahoma (4), Notre Dame (3), USC (2), and Auburn (2).

Heisman Trophy Winners Drafted No. 1 Overall in NFL Draft

  • 1935 – Jay Berwanger – Chicago (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • 1940 – Tom Harmon – Michigan (Chicago Bears)
  • 1942 – Frank Sinkwich – Georgia (Detroit Lions)
  • 1943 – Angelo Bertelli – Notre Dame (Boston Yanks)
  • 1949 – Leon Hart – Notre Dame (Detroit Lions)
  • 1956 – Paul Hornung – Notre Dame (Green Bay Packers)
  • 1959 – Billy Cannon – LSU (Los Angeles Rams)
  • 1961 – Ernie Davis – Syracuse (Washington Redskins)
  • 1962 – Terry Baker – Oregon State (Los Angeles Rams)
  • 1969 – O.J. Simpson – USC (Buffalo Bills)
  • 1970 – Jim Plunkett – Stanford (New England Patriots)
  • 1977 – Earl Campbell – Texas (Houston Oilers)
  • 1978 – Billy Sims – Oklahoma (Detroit Lions)
  • 1980 – George Rogers – South Carolina (New Orleans Saints)
  • 1985 – Bo Jackson – Auburn (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • 1986 – Vinnie Testaverde – Miami (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • 2002 – Carson Palmer – USC (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • 2008Sam Bradford – Oklahoma (St. Louis Rams)
  • 2010Cam Newton – Auburn (Carolina Panthers)
  • 2013Jameis Winston – Florida State (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • 2017 – Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma (Cleveland Browns)
  • 2018 – Kyler Murray — Oklahoma (Arizona Cardinals)
  • 2019 – Joe Burrow, LSU (Cincinnati Bengals)

Murray and Mayfield completed a pretty rare feat as the top picks of the draft in back-to-back years. The 2018 and 2019 drafts marked the first time the top overall picks in consecutive seasons had come out of the same school since 1968 and 1969. USC’s Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson went No.1  overall in those years, respectively.

So, the pressure is on for whoever ends up winning the 2020 Heisman Trophy. The bar has certainly been raised.

Jameis Winston and Derrick Henry named honorary captains for Alabama-FSU clash

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As if having no. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State in a season-opening contest was not enough to highlight the first full weekend of college football, the game will also welcome a pair of Heisman Trophy winners to serve as honorary team captains.

Jameis Winston will be an honorary captain for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff representing Florida State. On the other side of the field with Alabama will be another former Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry.

Winston, a native of Alabama, played a signature role in leading Florida State to its most recent national championship. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner guided Florida State to the last of the BCS national championships and led the Noles to the inaugural College Football Playoff, where they were eliminated by Oregon. Winston went on to become the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he currently is the franchise quarterback heading into the new season.

Henry, a native of Florida, was a member of Alabama’s College Football Playoff national championship team in 2015 and a two-time SEC champion. Henry became Alabama’s second all-time Heisman Trophy winner in 2015, and he took home a number of other awards including the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and Doak Walker Award. Henry currently plays in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, with another former Heisman Trophy winner (Marcus Mariota).

A not-so-surprising Heisman Trophy first in NFC Championship Game

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The NFL’s conference championship weekend is set with another bout between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the AFC and the top two teams in the NFC, Arizona and Carolina, going toe-to-toe for the NFC championship. While there will be plenty of attention given to yet another meeting between Manning and Brady, the NFC Championship Game is making some history with a college football twist. With Cam Newton of the Panthers and Carson Palmer of the Cardinals set to start in the NFC Championship Game, we will see the first NFL postseason meeting between two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks.

At first glance, that comes across as a surprising factoid to consume, but it should not come across as a major shock. Given the track record of Heisman Trophy winner sin the NFL, we already know the Heisman Trophy is far from a guarantee for sustained NFL success. This is especially true for quarterbacks, although the jury is still out on a number of the more recent Heisman-winning QBs (Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota offer some good promise, and who knows if there is still time to save Robert Griffin III, for example). Also keep in mind that for the majority of the history of the Heisman Trophy, running backs were the dominant position before the turn of the 21st century gave way to quarterbacks taking control of the award more often than not.

Take a look through Heisman history and look at the quarterbacks who have won the stiff-arm trophy over the years. Just two quarterbacks won the award in the 1960s, Navy’s Roger Staubach and Notre Dame’s John Huarte. Staubach went on to have a stellar career. Huarte? Not so much. Two quarterbacks won the Heisman in the 1970s, and once again the careers of Jim Plunkett of Stanford and Pat Sullivan of Auburn took drastically different paths. Of the three quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy in the 1980s (Doug Flutie, Andre Ware, Vinny Testaverde), only Miami’s Testaverde proved to have a sustained NFL career, which included a couple of solid runs here and there, but he almost never faced another Heisman-winning QB during his lengthy career.

The 1990s saw four quarterbacks win the Heisman Trophy. Ty Detmer was essentially a career backup. Gino Torretta‘s run in the NFL was brief. Danny Wuerffel did not fare too much better. And Charlie Ward went on to play in the NBA instead of the NFL. Ward may have been the best NFL QB out of that bunch had he focused on the NFL instead.

Even the quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy since 2000 have been farther from competing for an NFL conference championship more often than not. This weekend, 2002 Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer just won his first postseason game as a starting quarterback since blowing out Iowa in the 2003 Orange Bowl. 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke has an NFC Championship ring, but that came as a backup. 2001 winner Eric Crouch played four years in the NFL with three teams and ended his playing career in the short-lived UFL with the Omaha Nighthawks. 2003 winner Jason White was not even drafted and stepped away due to bad knees. 2004 winner Matt Leinart never lived up to his perceived potential in Arizona and moved on to Houston, Oakland and Buffalo before getting into TV. 2006 winner Troy Smith was a career back-up, for the most part, behind Steve McNair and Joe Flacco in Baltimore. Sam Bradford has been plagued by injuries and Robert Griffin III is looking to rejuvenate his career in a new situation in 2016. And I’m even going to spare you the talk about Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel.

One more piece of information to keep in mind was the AFC and NFC Championship Game structure was not utilized until 1970 when the NFL merged with the AFL. For an award that was first handed out in 1935, that cuts out a number of quarterbacks from even having the possibility to play in an NFL conference championship game (Davey O’BrienAngelo Bertelli, Lee Horvath, Johnny Lujack, Paul Hornung, Terry Baker).

So yes, it is surprising we have not seen a matchup of Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in an NFL postseason game before, but it is not at all shocking given the history of the Heisman Trophy. And no, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady never won the Heisman Trophy either.

Coker gets start for ‘Bama vs. Wisky, but two QBs will play

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At least for the moment, Alabama has a starting quarterback.

Shortly before Alabama’s game with Wisconsin kicked off, Nick Saban confirmed that Florida State transfer Jake Coker will get the start under center in the neutral-field non-conference matchup with Wisconsin.  Coker had been involved in a spring practice- and summer camp-long battle with, among others, Cooper Bateman and Alec Morris.

In the same pregame interview, the Tide head coach revealed that Bateman will also play, intimating that the quarterback competition is still an ongoing battle between the two.

After losing the quarterback competition to Jameis Winston in 2013, Coker transferred from the Seminoles following that season.  He spent the 2014 season as Blake Sims‘ primary backup after losing out in a competition with the senior.

Bateman, a four-star 2013 signee, served as the Tide’s primary holder on extra points and field goals after redshirting as a true freshman.

Nick Saban, winner of four national titles, says he should have won four more

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Winning a national championship is hard. Winning two can be even harder. Three or four? Nearly impossible in today’s world, but Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been the coach to have done it four times (one with LSU, three with Alabama). Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has three under his belt (two with Florida, one with Ohio State) and is looking for a fourth this season as well. Saban has proven capable of amassing enough talent to have a national title contender on an annual basis, but has ended the year with a postseason loss each of the past two seasons. That does not sit well with the Crimson Tide head coach, who said in a radio interview yesterday he feels he should have won four more national titles.

“We haven’t finished the season in the last two seasons like we’d like,” Saban said to ESPN’s Paul Finebaum (per Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “People talk about you won four national championships. Well, I feel like we’ve had good enough teams to win eight. So I feel like we failed four times. I feel like I failed four times.”

Alabama had a chance last season as the top seed in the new College Football Playoff. The Tide were turned aside by Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl semifinal game. The previous season Alabama missed a chance to play for the national title when Auburn stunned them in the Iron Bowl with the Kick-Six, knocking Alabama out of the SEC Championship Game out of the SEC West and relegating Alabama to a Sugar Bowl match-up with Oklahoma instead. You might say Alabama was one win away from a national championship each of the past two seasons. Alabama may have been a favorite against Jameis Winston and Florida State in the final BCS National Championship Game two seasons ago, and Alabama may have been a favorite against Oregon in last year’s College Football Playoff national championship game.

Saban also reflected on his coaching future while on air with Finebaum. He showed no sign of contemplating retirement, suggesting if he is in good enough shape to play golf for 16 more years, he should be able to coach as well. Saban will turn 64 years old this October.