Heisman Trophy Winners in the NFL Hall of Fame


When you’re named the winner of the Heisman Trophy, you’ve been voted the most outstanding player in college football in the entire United States. This is a great award but unfortunately it also comes with a lot of pressure to prove how good you were in college football by seeing if you can live up to the billing in the NFL.

Winning the Heisman Trophy is no guarantee though that a player will go on to wild success in the National Football League. Many have failed completely when taking the next step and many others have become quality starters and contributors, but are still looked at by some as failures or at least letdowns because of the immense success they had at the college level. That’s completely unfair though.

Also, there are some winners of the Heisman Trophy who not only become star players, but go on to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here we’ll take a look at those players, players so good they were named the most outstanding in college football and then one of the all time greats after making it to the professional level.

Pro Football Hall of Fame members who also won the Heisman Trophy:

Doak Walker

Doak Walker was a three time All-American at Southern Methodist University, from 1947 to 1949, and even won the MVP of the Cotton Bowl two years in a row in 1948 and 1949. He had a short but very accomplished career playing with the Detroit Lions in the early 1950s, leaving with a handful of records and awards, as well as two NFL titles. Doak Walker won the Heisman Trophy in 1948 and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Paul Hornung

Paul Hornung did it all during his college career at Notre Dame and would go on to be the first and so far only player in history to win the Heisman Trophy playing for a losing team. The Green Bay Packers picked him first overall in the 1957 NFL Draft and after nine years he’d won an NFL MVP Award, been named to three All-Pro teams, won four NFL titles, and one Super Bowl. Paul Hornung won the Heisman Trophy in 1956 and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Roger Staubach

Following a top notch career playing quarterback for the United States Naval Academy, Roger Staubach was drafted in the 10th round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, thanks to the fact that he was still due to serve time in the military before he would be allowed to pursue his football career. Over the course of his career he won an MVP Award, went to six Pro Bowls, and led America’s Team to two Super Bowl victories. Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy in 1963 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpson was an all world running back for the USC Trojans in the late 1960s, eventually leading the entire nation in rushing yards during both his junior and senior seasons. He was the first overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and went on to play 11 years as a pro, making the Pro Bowl six times and winning the 1973 NFL MVP Award. He was also the league’s rushing leader four times. O.J. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Earl Campbell

Earl Campbell starred at running back at the University of Texas, being named an All-American twice. The 1978 NFL Draft saw the Houston Oilers take Campbell with the top pick and he went on to an incredible career. He won the Rookie of the Year Award that first year and would go on to win thrre MVP Awards, three NFL rushing titles, and be named to five Pro Bowls. Earl Campbell won the Heisman Trophy in 1977 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Tony Dorsett

Tony Dorsett came out of the University of Pittsburgh having had one of the best running back careers in college football history, including being named an All-American three times. He was picked second overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1977 NFL Draft and played 12 years in the league. He won the Rookie of the Year Award, was named to four Pro Bowls, and helped lead Dallas to on Super Bowl victory. Tony Dorsett won the Heisman Trophy in 1976 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

Marcus Allen

Marcus Allen had a stellar career as a running back in college with the USC Trojans, winning nearly every single individual award in 1981. The Los Angeles Raiders picked him with the 10th pick in the 1982 NFL Draft and he went on to play an amazing 16 years in the professional ranks. Along the way, he would be named to six Pro Bowls, win the Rookie of the Year Award, and the NFL MVP. He was also the winner of the Super Bowl MVP Award when his Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII against the Washington Redskins. Marcus Allen won the Heisman Trophy in 1981 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders put together the best running back season of any college football running back in history in 1988 at Oklahoma State University. This included setting new NCAA records for yards (2,628) and touchdowns (37). The Detroit Lions made him the third overall selection in the 1989 NFL Draft and he went on to play 10 seasons, proving he was one of the best ever along the way, winning two MVP Awards, the Rookie of the Year Award, and winning four rushing titles. Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

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