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The forgettable: Heisman winners who shouldn’t have won

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On the eve of the Heisman Trophy, a look at the worst winners of all time:

1. Paul Hornung, Notre Dame: Did anyone else play football in 1956? Playing on a 2-8 team, Hornung ran for fewer than 500 yards and passed for fewer than a 1,000. The Golden Boy? Really? Remember, Dalvin Cook couldn’t win because his team lost two. Hornung’s team won two.

2. Reggie Bush, Southern Cal: Had his 2005 Heisman stripped from him because of illegal inducements. Not even O.J. Simpson’s trophy was taken away.

3. Jay Berwanger, Chicago: Berwanger, the first winner in 1935, was called the Flying Dutchman. He was German. Oops. Also, he had only 577 yards rushing and only 406 passing for a 4-4 team.

4. Gino Torretta, Miami: Torretta probably had three or four players who were better than him in his own huddle in 1992.

5. Rod Woodson, Michigan: Woodson was a fine player, and has been a fine NFL star. However, he won it over a more deserving Peyton Manning in 1997.

6. Gary Beban, UCLA: His nickname was “The Great One.” Really. For the year, Beban had eight touchdown passes and eight interceptions in 1967.

7. Pete Dawkins, Army: He had only 428 yards rushing when he won it in 1958.

8. Larry Kelley, Yale: Kelley caught only 17 passes for only 252 yards in 1936.

9. Angelo Bertelli, Notre Dame: Because of the way, Bertelli played only six games and threw for only 512 yards in 1943.

10. Pat Sullivan, Auburn: Threw for 700 fewer yards than the last Heisman-winning quarterback in 1971.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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