Since 1987, only four defensive players have finished in the top-4 of Heisman voting. Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth in 1986 (4th), Washington lineman Steve Emtman in 1991 (4th), Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o in 2012 (2nd) and Ohio State edge LB Chase Young in 20129 (4th).
Emtman was the number-1 overall pick in the 1002 NFL draft. Young went number-2 in 2020.
Year after year, Heisman finalists are comprised of skill position players, with an occasional nod to the most elite defensive player. This year’s finalists include three quarterbacks and a wide receiver.
The award remains prestigious and exclusive. So why not call it what it is?
The Heisman Trophy recognizes the best offensive skill position player in college football.