There have been seven University of Southern California (USC) Trojans football players who have won the Heisman Trophy. The seven footballers who have won the seven Heisman awards are as follows:
- Mike Garrett, a halfback, won in 1965
- OJ Simpson, a tailback, received the award in 1968
- Charles White, a running back, accepted the honor in 1979
- Marcus Allen in 1981 became the fourth USC running back to win the award
- Carson Palmer was the first Trojan quarterback to win the award when he accepted it in 2002
- Matt Leinart played quarterback for the University of Southern California and received the Heisman Award in 2004
- Reggie Bush in 2005 was named the fifth USC running back to take home the award
With a total of seven Heisman trophies produced by Southern Cal, the Los Angeles-based higher education institution, California is tied for the most awarded by any school. Both the University of Notre Dame and Ohio State University match a single school’s staggering seven trophies. Because Ohio State has the distinction of producing the only two-time winner in Archie Griffin Notre Dame and the University of Southern California actually stands together as the only two colleges to produce seven different winners.
The Heisman Trophy is named after football pioneer John Heisman and was first presented to Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago in 1935. Over the decades the award has become widely accepted as the most publicized and prestigious individual award in the sport of college football. Despite the Heisman’s association being awarded to the most outstanding college football player, winning the honor proved no guarantee of professional success.
As for the seven Trojan players who had the honor of winning the Heisman Trophy, two of those men went from college football to the National Football League (NFL) as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft in their respective years. The two players picked with the first round pick in the NFL Drafts are Orenthal James (OJ) Simpson who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1969 and Carson Palmer who was drafted with the first pick of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Despite slipping to the Los Angeles Raiders’ 10th overall pick in 1982, Marcus Allen joined OJ Simpson in 2003 as the only two former USC players to win the Heisman Trophies and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio.