In the 78 times the Heisman Trophy has been given out, it's a little surprising only two players that wore No. 12 have won the award. And one of those two No. 12s wasn't even a quarterback.
Those two players are rightfully first and second on the list (can you name them before scrolling down?) of the five best players in college football history to don the No. 12, which we present to you on Dec. 12, 2012 -- 12/12/12 as you've undoubtedly been reminded of today:
5. Bob Griese, Purdue
4. Andrew Luck, Stanford
We'll probably look back years from now and wonder how Luck never won the Heisman (the answer: he finished second twice, to two of the best seasons college quarterbacks have ever had). Stanford had seven straight losing seasons before Luck became quarterback. The Cardinal went 31-7 with him starting and played in two BCS bowl games. He was the first overall pick of the NFL draft this year and has led the Colts, which were 2-14 a year ago, to a 9-4 record so far as a rookie.
3. Joe Namath and Ken Stabler, Alabama
Fine, we're cheating a bit here, but how can you separate the two? These two great quarterbacks both went to Alabama and both wore the same number, then went on to make their names known in the NFL with their impressive exploits on and off the field. Stabler immediately followed Namath as the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback in the 1960s, and both athletic quarterbacks had great success. From 1962-67, with Stabler or Namath under center most of the time, Alabama went 57-7-2.
2. Roger Staubach, Navy
In 1963, Staubach got 517 first-place votes for the Heisman Trophy. The second-place finisher got 65. He won in a landslide, and although his numbers don't hold up by today's standards (it's a guarantee nobody wins the Heisman again with seven passing touchdowns and six interceptions, like Staubach did), he led Navy to No. 2 in the rankings including wins over Michigan, Notre Dame, Maryland and West Virginia, and a Cotton Bowl appearance. In that bowl game he completed 21 of 31 passes for 228 yards, which were Cotton Bowl records. He also hit .420 for the Navy baseball team in 1963.
After his college career he served in the Navy for four years, including in Vietnam, before moving on to a pro career with the Dallas Cowboys (this story from "Stars and Stripes" from 1966, with Staubach talking about serving his country and hoping for a NFL career down the line, is fun to read in retrospect). All he did with the Cowboys was win Super Bowl MVP and get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1. Charles White, USC
There's not many elite running backs that have worn No. 12, but there haven't been many running backs like White, period. White finished his career with 5,598 regular-season yards, which was second all time. He had 31 100-yard games, including 10 during his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 1979.
White averaged 186.4 yards per game during his Heisman season, and 6.2 per carry. USC went 11-0-1, beat No. 1 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl and finished second in the nation that year. White set a Rose Bowl record with 247 rushing yards in his final college game.
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- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Heisman Trophy
- Bob Griese
- Roger Staubach