Heisman Winner: Steve Owens – Oklahoma RB
Owens ran for an impressive 3,928 yards in 3 years of college eligibility which included 1,523 yards and 23 Touchdowns during his senior season. He finished with 57 career Touchdowns. Owens was a big back at 6-2, 215 and he ran hard.
The Detroit Lions drafted Owens in the 1st round of the 1970 NFL Draft. Owens played 5 years in the NFL and ran for 2,451 yards for the Lions and 20 career Touchdowns. Bad knees forced him out
of the game.
2. Mike Phipps – Purdue QB
The Boilermakers in the late 1960s were really good. One problem they did have is that the Ohio State Buckeyes were incredible in 1969 as you can tell by 3 guys in the top 10 of the Heisman voting. Phipps had a great sophomore season, but an average junior year. He broke out with a huge senior season. After finishing second in the Heisman race, Phipps was taken with the 3rd pick of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and he played in the NFL for Cleveland and Chicago for 12 seasons.
3. Rex Kern – Ohio State QB
Kern Quarterbacked the Buckeyes over a 3 year period when they had a 27-2 record. 2 upset losses kept the Super Sophomores from winning 3 national titles in a row. Kern was such a talented athlete that he was recruited by basketball powerhouses and was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics before they moved to Oakland. He chose football, Ohio State and legendary status. Kern was a junior in 1969 and after his senior season in 1970, he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts as a Defensive Back. He only played in the NFL for 4 years finishing with Buffalo.
4. Archie Manning – Ole Miss QB
Everybody that has ever turned on a television probably knows all about Archie Manning. Like Kern, Manning was a junior in 1969.
5. Mike Reid – Penn State DL
The Nittany Lions only Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s best lineman. Reid was a Consensus All American in 1969 and his junior and senior seasons at Penn State saw the Lions go 22-0. He was a first round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1970 with the 7th pick and was one of the top
Defensive Linemen in the NFL before walking away before his prime at 27 years old to pursue his true love, music. He made quite a career for himself writing music.
6. Mike McCoy – Notre Dame DT
Like Mike Reid, McCoy was a consensus All -American in 1969. He was drafted even higher than Reid with the 2nd pick of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. McCoy played 11 seasons in the NFL with the Packers, Oakland Raiders and New York Giants. After football, McCoy became a minister and was the chaplain for the Atlanta Braves for a while and currently runs a ministry. He was huge for his time period.
7. Jim Otis – Ohio State RB
Woody Hayes loved Jim Otis and running a big back down the throats of his opponents. Otis wasn’t huge by today’s standards, but at 6-0, 225 he was a big powerful back in his time period and he was a consensus All American in 1969. Otis rambled for 1,027 yards in 1969 and for 2,542 yards and 34 Touchdowns. Otis was not a member of the Super Sophomores and John Brockington moved into his spot for the 1970 season. Otis was drafted in the 9th round by the New Orleans Saints. He played 2 seasons in Kansas City and then for 6 seasons in St Louis. Otis ran for 4,350 yards in the NFL with his best season coming in 1975 for the Cardinals of St Louis when he had 1,076 yards rushing.
Jim Otis had a son that walked on at Ohio State and another son that played Quarterback at Columbia and he bounced around the NFL for a while.
8. Jim Plunkett – Stanford QB
Like Archie Manning and Rex Kern, Plunkett was a junior receiving Heisman votes. Of Mexican-American descent, Plunkett was one of the more amazing stories of his day. He performed so badly when he first arrived at Stanford that the head coach moved him to Defensive End, but Plunkett fought it and remained at Quarterback while working his tail off. That paid off well for him.
Plunkett put up amazing numbers at Stanford for the time. In 1969, Plunkett threw for 2,673 yards and even more in 1970 when he won the Heisman himself.
9. Steve Kiner – Tennessee LB
Kiner was quite the killer at Tennessee at Linebacker. He earned sophomore of the year in the SEC in 1967, All American during his junior and senior seasons of 1968 and 1969.
Kiner was drafted in the 3rd round by the Dallas Cowboys where he had a good rookie season on special teams and was supposed to start in 1971. But, he didn’t get along with Tom Landry and was traded to the Patriots where he excelled for a season before having a problem with their head coach, hence he was traded to Miami. The Dolphins cut him and he wound up with the Redskins and back to the Patriots. They traded him to the Houston Oilers and he found new life there and was an Oiler for 5 seasons.
10. Jack Tatum – Ohio State DB
Another member of Ohio State’s Super Sophomores, Tatum may have been the best player on this list. He would later be called the Assassin for his hard hitting playing style. Coming out of high school, everyone wanted Tatum as a Running Back but they obviously made the right decision moving him to Defensive Back. Tatum made All Big 10 for 3 straight seasons and then was drafted in the 1st round by the Oakland Raiders.
Unfortunately, Tatum’s career was tattered by a savage hit on Patriot Wide Receiver Daryl Stingley which left Stingley paralyzed. One of the game’s all time greats regardless or irregardless of this incident.