1. John Cappelletti – Penn State
As a senior, Cappelletti ran for 1,522 yards and 17 Touchdowns and that was after running for just over 1,100 yards as a junior. John Cappelletti might be more famous for his little brother Joey and his losing battle with Leukemia and the speech he gave while accepting the Heisman Trophy. Cappelletti was Penn State’s only Heisman winner.
He was drafted in the 1st round by the Los Angeles Rams. Cappelletti never had a huge NFL career, but he played 9 seasons and ran for 2,951 yards and 24 Touchdowns. He also caught 135 passes for the Rams and later with the San Diego Chargers.
2. John Hicks – Ohio State
Hicks was the highest finishing Offensive Tackle in the Heisman Trophy voting in the last 40 years. Hicks was first team All American in 1972 and 1973 and then drafted with the 3rd pick of the 1st round by the New York Giants.
He was rookie of the year with the Giants, but didn’t last long in the league due to injuries.
3. Roosevelt Leaks – Texas
Leaks was an outstanding Wishbone Fullback for the Texas Longhorns rushing for 1,415 yards including 342 yards against SMU. Leaks was the early favorite to win the Heisman in 1974 but he injured his knee in Spring practice and was never quite the same. Earl Campbell arrived in the 1974 season and split playing time with Leaks. The Baltimore Colts drafted Leaks in the 5th round and he played for them and the Buffalo Bills for 9 seasons.
4. Dave Jaynes – Kansas
Leading his team to a 7-4-1 record in 1973, Jaynes finished higher in the Heisman race than anyone else in Kansas history. Jaynes threw for over 2,000 yards his senior season and was later taken in the 3rd round by the Kansas City Chiefs where he only lasted 1 year.
5. Archie Griffin – Ohio State
Still to this day the only man to ever win two Heisman Trophies was Archie Griffin of Ohio State. 1972 was the first season that true freshmen could play on the varsity and Griffin ran for 867 yards.
1973 was his sophomore season and Griffin ran for 1,428 yards as the Buckeyes finished the season undefeated after tying Michigan and roughing up USC in the Rose Bowl. It’s almost surprising that Archie Griffin didn’t win 3 Heismans.
6. Randy Gradishar – Ohio State
The Warren, Ohio native was a 2 time All American in 1972 and 1973. Notre Dame won the national championship in 1973, and Ohio State tied with Michigan or they might have won it all. This team was loaded. Gradishar was called the greatest Linebacker that Woody Hayes every coached.
After finishing 6th in the Heisman race, Gradishar was drafted in teh 1st round by the Denver Broncos and was a 7 time All Pro while playing 10 years and being the heart of the Orange Crush Defense.
7. Lucious Selmon – Oklahoma
Selmon was a consensus All American in 1973 and one of the great Nose Guards of the game. He was the oldest of 3 Selmon brothers that played for the Sooners in the 1970s and they were all first team All Americans. Selmon finished his college career with 255 total tackles and was drafted by the New England Patriots. Selmon played 2 seasons in the World Football League before returning to Oklahoma as a football coach.
8. Woody Green – Arizona State
Finishing as a consensus All American, Green ran for 1,182 yards in 1973 after going over the 1,000 yard barrier the previous 2 seasons as a sophomore and a junior. Green finished college with 3,754 yards and 33 Touchdowns. Green teamed with Quarterback Danny White to lead the Sun Devils to an impressive 11-1 record back in the days of Frank Kush.
Green was drafted in the 1st round by the Kansas City Chiefs. He only lasted 3 seasons in the NFL and rushed for 1,442 total yards and 9 Touchdowns.
9. Danny White – Arizona State
White had a nice career at Arizona State and threw for 2,609 yards in 1973 with 23 Touchdowns.
Unfortunately for White, Arizona State was in the Western Athletic Conference and he split votes with Woody Green.
Danny White was drafted in the 3rd round by the Dallas Cowboys but he chose to play for the World Football League’s Memphis franchise. The league folded and White ended up with the Cowboys still, where he backed up Roger Staubach for 4 seasons while being the teams punter. White got the starting job after Staubach retired and wound up playing for the Cowboys for 13 years. He passed for over 21,000 yards in the NFL and became a coach in Arena Football after he retired.
10. Kermit Johnson – UCLA
Johnson ran for 1,129 yards as a senior in 1973 to earn consensus All American honors.
The San Francisco 49ers picked Johnson in the 7th round and he played there for 2 seasons before he was out of football.