Sports

8 Heisman Trophy Winners in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

On Saturday, December 13, the Downtown Athletic Club is going to crown the 2014 Heisman Trophy award winner. There will likely be four or five candidates invited to the trophy presentation in New York City, but it is now basically a forgone conclusion that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will become the first Heisman winner in the history of the Ducks’ football program. Coincidentally, Mariota is also a near lock to be a top-five overall pick and the first quarterback taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winning the Heisman Trophy will make Mariota a legend in Oregon and in the college football annals, but as history has shown, winning the Heisman doesn’t guarantee success in the National Football League. In fact, the majority of the Heisman winners through the years have had minimal success in the NFL. Mariota appears to have the make-up, both physically and mentally, to have an excellent and long-lasting NFL career, but only time will tell if his ability translates to success at the professional level.

Mariota’s status as probable Heisman Trophy winner and likely top-five NFL Draft pick, raises the question: How many Heisman Trophy winners have gone on to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? The answer is eight. Charles Woodson will likely make it nine when he retires from the NFL, and Tim Brown has a legitimate chance at joining this exclusive club one day as well. With that being said, here is a look at the eight players who have won a Heisman Trophy and gone on to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

1.  Doak Walker, running back

Heisman Year: 1948

Hall of Fame Election: 1986

Walker was a three-time All-American (1947-1949) at Southern Methodist, and won the Cotton Bowl MVP award in 1948 and 1949. He went on to be drafted by the Detroit Lions with the third overall pick in the 1949 NFL Draft. Walker played with the Lions from 1950-1955, and compiled a long list of honors during that time. He won the 1950 NFL Rookie of the Year award, made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team every year he played in the NFL and won two NFL Championships in 1952 and 1953.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

2.  Paul Hornung, running back

Heisman Year: 1956

Hall of Fame Election: 1986

Hornung excelled as a do-everything type of player at Notre Dame, and remains the only player in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy while playing for a losing team. He went on to be selected by the Green Bay Packers with the first overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft, and played nine years for the Packers. Hornung won the 1961 NFL MVP award, made three All-Pro teams and two Pro Bowls, and won four NFL Championships and one Super Bowl.

Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

3.  Roger Staubach, quarterback

Heisman Year: 1963

Hall of Fame Election: 1985

Staubach had a decorated career at Navy, and remains the last service academy player to win a Heisman Trophy. He went on to be selected by the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL in the tenth round of the 1964 NFL Draft, and by the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL in the 16th round of the AFL Draft. After fulfilling his military service commitment, he chose to report to the Cowboys, and went on to become arguably the best player in franchise history. He was selected to six Pro Bowls, won the 1971 NFL MVP award and led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

4.  O.J. Simpson, running back

Heisman Year: 1968

Hall of Fame Election: 1985

Simpson has become better known for his legal issues than his football career in recent years, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was one of the best running backs to ever play the game. He was a star for the University of Southern California in 1967 and 1968, leading the country in rushing yards both years. The Buffalo Bills selected Simpson with the first overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft, and he went on to play nine seasons in Buffalo. During his 11-year NFL career, Simpson won four NFL rushing titles, made six Pro Bowls, made five All-Pro teams and won the 1973 NFL MVP award.

Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images
Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

5.  Earl Campbell, running back

Heisman Year: 1977

Hall of Fame Election: 1991

Campbell played for the University of Texas where he was a two-time All-American, 1977 Heisman Trophy winner and had his No. 20 jersey retired. The Houston Oilers selected Campbell with the first overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft. Campbell was an instant success in Houston winning the NFL Rookie of the Year award in his first professional season. He had a rare combination of size and speed that led him to make five Pro Bowls, three All-Pro teams, win three NFL rushing titles and win three NFL MVP awards.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

6.  Tony Dorsett, running back

Heisman Year: 1976

Hall of Fame Election: 1994

Dorsett had one of the best college careers by a running back of all time. He won the 1976 Heisman Trophy, was a three-time All-American and won numerous other individual awards along the way. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the second overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft, and went on to play 11 seasons for the Cowboys. He won the NFL Rookie of the Year award in 1977, made four Pro Bowls, made three All-Pro teams, and helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XII.

DAVID KAUP/Getty Images
DAVID KAUP/Getty Images

7.  Marcus Allen, running back

Heisman Year: 1981

Hall of Fame Election: 2003

Allen was another one of the many star running backs to play for the University of Southern California. He began his career as a defensive back, but made the switch to running back early in his career and went on to win the 1981 Heisman Trophy in addition to nearly every other individual national award that year. The Los Angeles Raiders selected Allen with the tenth overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft, and the former USC tailback went on to play 10 years for the Raiders and six years for the Kansas City Chiefs. Allen made six Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams, won the 1982 NFL Rookie of the Year award and the 1985 NFL MVP award, and was named Super Bowl MVP in the Raiders’ Super Bowl XVIII victory over the Washington Redskins.

JEFF KOWALSKY/Getty Images
JEFF KOWALSKY/Getty Images

8.  Barry Sanders, running back

Heisman Year: 1988

Hall of Fame Election: 2004

Sanders had the best season by a running back in the history of college football in 1988. He ran for NCAA records of 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns – 2,850 yards including his bowl game – that year, and was a consensus All-American and Heisman Trophy winner. The Detroit Lions made him the third overall selection in the 1989 NFL Draft, and Sanders went on to become arguably the best player in Lions’ franchise history. He made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams in each of his 10 NFL seasons, won four rushing titles, two MVP awards, and the 1989 NFL Rookie of the Year award.