USC’s Caleb Williams Favored To Repeat As Heisman Winner, Something That Eluded 11 Previous Winners

It has been nearly a half century since Archie Griffin became the only repeat winner of the Heisman Trophy. Since the Ohio State running back, now 68, easily outdistanced Cal’s Chuck Muncie and USC’s Rickey Bell to win his second Heisman in 1975, 11 players had an opportunity to repeat as winners of the prestigious award.

If very early odds prove correct, then USC quarterback Caleb Williams will join Griffin in making Heisman history. Here are the 11 that had a chance to repeat since Griffin accepted the award a second time.

Billy Sims, Oklahoma, 1978 Heisman Winner

Sims is the only player on this list to finish second in Heisman voting the year after winning. In 1979, he placed a distant second (nearly 900 points) behind USC running back Charles White, who sadly passed away at 64 on January 11.

Ty Detmer, BYU, 1990 Heisman Winner

Detmer had an impressive 1991 season, though not impressive enough as Michigan receiver and return specialist Desmond Howard easily won the Heisman. Florida State quarterback Casey Weldon was second in the voting with Detmer coming in third.

Jason White, Oklahoma, 2003 Heisman Winner

A far cry from the Billy Sims/Barry Switzer era of the wishbone, White bested Pitt receiver Larry Fitzgerald by 128 voting points to win the Heisman. He had a slightly better pass efficiency rating in 2004, though he finished third behind winner Matt Leinart and teammate Adrian Peterson. White, who was more than 300 voting points behind Leinart, trailed Peterson by only 40 points and had more first-place votes than the running back, 171-154. Leinart had 267 first-place votes.

Matt Leinart, USC, 2004 Heisman Winner

Like White, Leinart followed his Heisman-winning season by finishing third in the voting. Also, a teammate was one of the two players ahead of him as Reggie Bush, who finished fifth in 2004, easily outpaced (933 points) Texas quarterback Vince Young to win the award in 2005. Leinart was more than 800 points behind Young. (Bush returned the trophy following an NCAA investigation.)

Tim Tebow, Florida, 2007 Heisman Winner

Tebow played two more seasons after winning the Heisman as a sophomore. Hence, if not winning in consecutive years, he still could have been a two-time winner. In 2008, Tebow had the most first-place votes (309) only to finish third behind the winner, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford (300). Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (266) was sandwiched in between. Tebow was 151 points behind Bradford and 29 behind McCoy. He finished his UF career by finishing fifth in 2009.

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, 2008 Heisman Winner

Like Tebow, Bradford was a sophomore when he won the award. His 2009 season, though, was limited to three games due to shoulder injuries. They were the last three games of his collegiate career.

Mark Ingram, Alabama, 2009 Heisman Winner

The third straight sophomore to win the Heisman, the Crimson Tide running back followed up with a solid, but injury-riddled 2010 season. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton easily outdistanced Stanford QB Andrew Luck to win the award.

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, 2012 Heisman Winner

After winning the award as a redshirt freshman, Manziel’s second and final season as an active player in College Station was also very impressive. It resulted, however, in a fifth-place finish and far behind the 2013 winner, who was another redshirt freshman: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

Jameis Winston, Florida State, 2013 Heisman Winner

Winston’s second and final season in Tallahassee resulted in finishing sixth in the 2014 voting with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota easily winning the award. The two are forever linked as back-to-back Heisman winners and being selected back-to-back (Winston, Tampa Bay and Mariota, Tennessee) in the 2015 NFL draft.

Lamar Jackson, Louisville, 2016 Heisman Winner

Jackson put together a pair of phenomenal seasons in 2016 and 2017. What kept him from repeating as a Heisman winner was the year Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield had in 2017. Also, Stanford running Bryce Love finished second in the voting well ahead of Jackson, who was third.

Bryce Young, Alabama, 2021 Winner

After easily winning the Heisman in 2021, Young had an outstanding 2022. USC’s Caleb Williams, though, won the award with Young placing sixth in the balloting.

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