The Heisman Trophy is college football's top award going to the sport's most outstanding player for that season. For many of the Heisman's winners, the award is not the peak of their athletic success. Many Heisman Trophy winners take the next step in their careers, advancing to the NFL.
Here are all of the active NFL players who have won the Heisman Trophy.
RB Mark Ingram Jr. | 2009 | Alabama | New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Trophy by 28 points in the closest vote in the history of the award. Ingram rushed for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns on his way to becoming the first Heisman Trophy winner in Alabama history. Ingram would then lead the Crimson Tide to a BCS Championship victory, rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
In the NFL, Ingram has had a successful career by all accounts. Since being drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Saints in 2011, Ingram has rushed for over 7,000 yards in his 11 year NFL career. He's gone over the 1,000 yard mark in a season three times in his career, most recently in 2019 as a part of the NFL's top rushing offense on the Baltimore Ravens. In 2021, Ingram signed with the Houston Texans, the third team of his career.
QB Cam Newton | 2010 | Auburn | Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton won the 2010 Heisman Trophy in landslide fashion, becoming the third Auburn Tiger to win the award. Newton was under the radar entering the season as a transfer from a junior college after a brief stint at Florida. However, Newton burst on the scene as a dynamic quarterback, passing for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns with just six interceptions while rushing for 1,409 yards and 20 scores. In his lone year as a starter, Newton led Auburn to an undefeated season and its first national title since 1957.
After the season, Newton was picked first overall in the 2011 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. Newton won Rookie of the Year in 2011 and would play nine years for the Panthers before a controversial release in 2019. Newton played for the New England Patriots in 2020 before resigning to his first NFL team during Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season.
QB Jameis Winston | 2013 | Florida State | New Orleans Saints
Florida State QB Jameis Winston became the youngest player to ever win the Heisman Trophy in 2013 after a phenomenal season. As a redshirt freshman, he set FBS freshman records for passing yards and touchdowns and led Florida State to the BCS National Championship game. Winston added his name to the rare list of players to win a national championship and the Heisman Trophy in the same season.
After one more year at Florida State following his Heisman season, Winston would be selected first overall in the 2015 NFL draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston won the 2015 Rookie of the Year Award and made it to the Pro Bowl in his first season. In 2019, Winston led the NFL in passing yards, but also led the league in interceptions. Winston would ultimately leave the Buccaneers for a backup role with the New Orleans Saints in 2020. After a year holding the clipboard, the former Heisman Trophy winner was named the Saints starting quarterback to open the 2021 season.
LOOKING BACK: Florida State QB Winston wins Heisman
QB Marcus Mariota | 2014 | Oregon | Las Vegas Raiders
Marcus Mariota could have declared for the NFL draft in 2014, but he chose to run it back at Oregon for one last hurrah. Mariota's decision to return was the right one as the Hawaiian-born quarterback took the Ducks offense to new heights in 2014. Mariota threw for 4,454 yards and 42 touchdowns and ran for 770 yards and 15 touchdowns. Oregon advanced to the first-ever College Football Playoff championship game, finishing as runners-up. Mariota became the first Oregon Duck and Hawaiian-born player to ever win the Heisman Trophy.
In the NFL, Mariota has had a rocky career since being selected second overall in the 2015 NFL draft. Mariota began his career with the Tennessee Titans and led them to a playoff win in 2017. However, injuries and inconsistency signaled Mariota's exit from Tennessee after five years. Mariota is now the backup quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders.
LOOKING BACK: Marcus Mariota's 2015 Heisman campaign
RB Derrick Henry | 2015 | Alabama | Tennessee Titans
When Derrick Henry was named the full-time starting running back at Alabama in 2015, he had big shoes to fill in T.J. Yeldon. Filling these shoes was an easy feat for the massive 6'3 240 pound Henry as he broke through in 2015 in dominant fashion. Henry led the nation in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns while breaking college football legend Herschel Walker's 34-year old SEC rushing yardage record. Henry's success culminated with a national championship and Heisman Trophy, breaking a long streak of quarterbacks winning the award.
Henry's collegiate dominance transitioned to the NFL, where he has once again proved to be a physical presence in the backfield. After being drafted by the Tennessee Titans, Derrick Henry has led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns in consecutive seasons and was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2020.
LOOKING BACK: Derrick Henry wins Heisman Trophy
QB Lamar Jackson | 2016 | Louisville | Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson burst onto the scene in 2016 to win the Heisman Trophy. In his first season as a full-time starter, Jackson accounted for 51 touchdowns and became the first player in FBS history with 3,300 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in a single season. Jackson redefined what it meant to be a dual-threat quarterback in 2016, being named college football's most outstanding player as a sophomore.
Jackson returned to Louisville the following season and would finish third in Heisman voting. He then entered the 2018 NFL draft, where he was a first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson's collegiate success has transferred to the NFL; he won the 2019 NFL MVP in his second season as a pro.
LOOKING BACK: Lamar Jackson wins the 82nd Heisman Memorial Trophy
QB Baker Mayfield | 2017 | Oklahoma | Cleveland Browns
The third time was the charm for Baker Mayfield's Heisman hopes in 2017. After finishing as a finalist in 2016 and fourth in 2015, Mayfield finally took home college football's most prestigious award. After beginning his career as a walk-on at Texas Tech, Mayfield's collegiate journey was like none other. While he never won a national championship, he led his 2017 Oklahoma team to a Big-12 Championship and a College Football Playoff berth.
Mayfield went on to be the number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft to the Cleveland Browns. After early struggles, Mayfield has turned the Browns from one of the worst teams in sports to a Super Bowl contender.
LOOKING BACK: Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy
QB Kyler Murray | 2018 | Oklahoma | Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray was such a dynamic athlete in college that he was a top-10 draft pick in the MLB and NFL. However, it was Murray's success on the gridiron that was his claim to fame. Standing at just 5'10'' 190 pounds, Kyler Murray threw for 4,053 yards with 40 touchdowns while rushing for 892 yards and 11 touchdowns. Murray got Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff and became the first player from the same school to replace the Heisman winner from the year prior.
Murray went on to become the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft to the Arizona Cardinals. In his short time at the professional level, Murray has shown flashes of greatness. As he enters year 3, he's looking to get the Cardinals into the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
QB Joe Burrow | 2019 | LSU | Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow's rise to stardom was like none other. After entering the 2019 season projected as a late-round draft pick, he surprised the country by breaking the passing touchdowns record en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. Burrow capped off his marvelous season with a College Football Playoff championship.
Following the season, Burrow was the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. He enters his second professional season looking to bounce back from an ACL injury.
WR Devonta Smith | 2020 | Alabama | Philadelphia Eagles
Devonta Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since 1991, after a spectacular year in which he caught 98 passes for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns. Smith is only the fourth wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in the history of the renowned award. After winning the Heisman, Smith was drafted tenth overall and is entering his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
LOOKING BACK: Alabama's DeVonta Smith wins the 2020 Heisman Trophy
*2007 Heisman winner QB Tim Tebow is currently a free agent as of 11/11/2021