With Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te"o creating some Heisman buzz, here"s a look at at how past defenders have actually done in the Heisman race.

You are watching: Defensive player to win heisman


*

There"s been a most buzz this previous week around the Heisman future of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te"o, therefore I thought it"d it is in worthwhile come go back and watch at how past defenders have actually done in the Heisman race. 

Here room the defenders who have actually finished in the top five in the vote. Note that a few of them prior to 1965 likewise played offense. An apples-to-apples comparison through Te"o is better made in between players who just played defense many thanks to the implementation that the two-platoon system and also limitless substitutions beginning in 1965. This is why Charles Woodson, who likewise played far-ranging snaps at broad receiver for Michigan if winning the Heisman in 1997, is no on this list.

Defensive players in the top 5 of the Heisman vote

1948 - lining Bednarik, Pennsylvania, 3rd

1952 - Donn Moomaw, UCLA, 4th

1954 - cut Burris, Oklahoma, 2nd

1956 - Jerry Tubbs, Oklahoma, 4th

1957 - Alex Karras, Iowa, 2nd

1962 - Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama, 4th

1964 - penis Butkus, Illinois, 3rd

1968 - Ted Hendricks, Miami, 5th

1972 - affluent Glover, Nebraska, 3rd


1977 - Ross Browner, Notre Dame, 5th

1980 - Hugh Green, Pittsburgh, 2nd

1983 - terrycloth Hoage, Georgia, 5th

1986 - Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma, 4th

1991 - Steve Emtman, Washington, 4th

2009 - Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, 4th

2011 - Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, 5th

A linebacker hasn"t made it into the top 5 of the vote because Brian Bosworth in 1986. Because that those of you that remember, Bosworth was one of the colorful characters in college football background and the exemplified the, ahem, spirited Oklahoma groups of the mid-1980s. Had actually Bosworth to be a quiet hayseed, it"s unconvinced he would"ve been given as much attention.

As because that Te"o, he wouldn"t it is in the an initial Notre Dame defender to do the expedition to brand-new York. Ross Browner did it in 1977 while help to command the irish to a nationwide title. Thirty-five years later, Te"o is in the mix to do simply that.

See more: 2 (Probably Dumb) Questions About The Division 2 Find The Agents Notes

While I maintain that pure defenders can"t success the Heisman, a hollowed-out Heisman ar gives Te"o a possibility to finish as high as second, miscellaneous a defender hasn"t done because Hugh eco-friendly in 1980. The Pitt defensive end was almost the exception to the Heisman dominion that year, losing out to south Carolina tailback George Rogers by just 260 point out (he got 179 first-place votes come Rogers" 216). 

One other allude to make: not all finishes in the Heisman race room equal. Both Bosworth ("86) and Ndamukong Suh ("09) finished 4th in the poll in their particular years. However Bosworth received simply nine first-place votes and also 395 points, finishing well behind beanie Testaverde, who won in a landslide v 2,213 points. Meanwhile, Suh garnered 161 first-place votes and 815 points, less than 600 clues behind winner mark Ingram"s 1,304. 2 fourth-place finishes, two an extremely different outcomes.