1. Archie Griffin – Ohio State
I had forgotten how good he was in college until I was at a friends house that had the Big 10 Network and they showed some highlights. Obviously, Griffin was the only 2 time Heisman Trophy winner. He was also the first player to start in 4 straight Rose Bowls. I’m almost surprised that he did not win 3 Heisman Trophies. Griffin finished 5th in his sophomore season of 1973 and had more rushing yardage than the winner, John Cappelletti. Griffin was a bit of a bust in the NFL for being such a
great college player in particular. I wrote about him in my blog last year:
2. Anthony Davis – USC
Davis was a first team All American in 1974 after running for 1,421 yards and he excelled in returns as well. In the Notre Dame game, the Trojans were getting spanked 24-0 when Davis led the team to a 55-24 come from behind win over the Irish. The Heisman ballots were due before this game was played or the senior Anthony Davis could have won. I wrote about that game here: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/13-saturdays-the-come-back-game/
Instead of the NFL, Davis elected to sign with the World Football League and he led the league in rushing. The league collapsed and Davis went to the CFL where he played for the Toronto Argonauts. From there he reunited with his former USC Trojan coach John McKay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he was basically a disappointment. Davis will be forever known as the ‘Notre Dame Killer’ because he scored 11 Touchdowns in 3 games against them.
3. Joe Washington – Oklahoma
The speedy halfback from Port Arthur, Texas ran for 1,321 yards as a junior in 1974 to finish 3rd in the Heisman voting. He finished his career at Oklahoma with right at 4,000 yards rushing as a Wishbone Halfback. After returning for his senior season in 1975, Washington was a 1st round draft pick by the San Diego Chargers. Washington played for San Diego for 2 seasons before being traded to Baltimore for Lydell Mitchell who placed 5th in the 1971 Heisman Race.
Washington played for San Diego, Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta finishing with nearly 5,000 rushing yards and nearly 3,500 yards receiving.
Joe Washington is a Financial Adviser for Wells Fargo now.
4. Tom Clements – Notre Dame
Clements threw for over 1,500 yards in 1974 after leading his team to the national championship in 1973. He was a 3 year starter for the Irish at Quarterback.
Clements went undrafted after he graduated and he went to Canada and played for the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL. He was rookie of the year in the CFL and led his team to the Grey Cup victory. But, after that his career went sour a bit and he bounced around the league even spending a season in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Clements has done well in the coaching ranks and currently is the Offensive Coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.
5. David Humm – Nebraska
At Nebraska, Humm’s statistics got worse every season after starting with a bang. As a sophomore starter, Humm threw for 2,259 yards and 18 Touchdowns. As a junior, he threw for 1,601 and then as a senior, Humm connected for 1,451 yards.
The Oakland Raiders drafted Humm in the 5th round of the 1975 NFL Draft. In the NFL, David Humm played for the Raiders, the Buffalo Bills, the Baltimore Colts, and back to the Raiders.
David Humm lost the use of his legs from Multiple Sclerosis in 1997. But, he still does color commentary for the Raiders.
6. Dennis Franklin – Michigan
The Wolverine’s first black Quarterback never put up huge numbers but led his team to outstanding records As a senior Quarterback in 1974, Franklin only threw for 933 yards, but Michigan ran the ball predominately in those years.
Franklin was drafted in the 6th round by the Detroit Lions as a Wide Receiver, but only played there for 2 seasons.
After football, Franklin had a successful career as a television producer and now sells real estate in California.
7. Rod Shoate – Oklahoma
Shoate was a special player making All Big 8 4 straight seasons and 1st team All American for 3 years. His game was about speed and aggressive play, but he was on the smaller side. Shoate was a 2nd round draft pick by the New England Patriots where he played for 7 seasons before defecting for the short lived United States Football League.
Shoate later had drug problems and passed away in 1999 from AIDS.
8. Gary Sheide – Brigham Young
Sheide was a junior college transfer that only Quarterbacked the cougars for 2 seasons in Lavelle Edwards early years. Sheide threw for well over 2,000 yards his only 2 years as a starter and he won the Sammy Baugh Trophy for the nation’s best Quarterback in 1974.
Sheide was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals but he never played in the NFL.
9. Randy White – Maryland
Hall of Fame member Randy White won the Outland and Lombardi Trophies and was the second player selected in NFL Draft where he was a huge star. White should have finished much higher in the Heisman race. Best recruit ever out of the state of Delaware.
10. Steve Bartkowski – California
Another guy that should have finished higher. Bartkowski was the very top pick by the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons in the 1975 draft and he threw for over 24,000 yards in the NFL for the Falcons, Redskins and Rams. He had better numbers than anyone else on this list in college and was rookie of the year in 1975.