Photo courtesy of Garnet and Great/Florida State football archivist
When we think of Heisman Trophy winners who weren’t quarterbacks, versatility is often a factor.
Players like Tim Brown, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson and Reggie Bush made plays in multiple facets of the game. In cases like Woodson, it was in all three facets.
These players certainly made plays his their legs, but there have been several Heisman Trophy winners who also used their legs to kick the ball. Below are five Heisman Trophy winners who either kicked or punted for their schools at some point in their careers:
Doc Blanchard, Army (1945)
The first of two consecutive Heisman Trophy winners for Army in 1945 and 1946, Blanchard did just about everything for the Black Knights. During his Heisman season of 1945, Blanchard scored 17 total touchdowns for Army, but he also handled the kicking and punting duties. Blanchard finished in the top five in the Heisman voting in each of his three years of eligibility. After finishing third in 1944, Blanchard finished fourth in 1946 while teammate Glenn Davis took home the hardware.
Paul Hornung, Notre Dame (1956)
As the only member of a losing team ever to win the Heisman Trophy, Paul Hornung had to do just about everything for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish’s fifth Heisman winner in a 14-year span, Hornung passed for three touchdowns and rushed for six more during the 1956 campaign. In addition to his passing and rushing, Hornung also played defensive back and did the placekicking and punting for Notre Dame. In a 1955 victory over Iowa, Hornung actually kicked the game-winning field goal.
Billy Cannon, LSU (1959)
A big skill player for his time, LSU’s Billy Cannon stood 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds. Cannon won the Heisman Trophy in 1959, but achieved legendary status the year prior as the driving force behind LSU’s national championship season. Cannon won the Heisman Trophy, playing both ways, but he also did the kicking and punting for the Tigers. To cap the 11-0 season in 1958, Cannon led LSU to a 7-0 win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Cannon threw the game’s only touchdown and proceeded to make the ensuing extra point.
Steve Spurrier, Florida (1966)
Perhaps no figure has meant more to the Florida football program than Steve Spurrier. Spurrier was the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1966 and coached the school to its first national championship 30 years later. Spurrier threw for more than 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior for Florida, but during his college career, he also shared the kicking duties. In an October 1966 victory over Auburn, Spurrier famously told head coach Ray Graves that he would be attempting the winning field goal. He knocked through the 40-yarder as the Gators emerged victorious, 30-27. Some point to the kick as Spurrier’s Heisman moment from that season.
Charlie Ward, Florida State (1993)
Similar to Steve Spurrier at rival Florida, Charlie Ward was responsible for some significant firsts at Florida State. In 1993, Ward became the program’s first Heisman Trophy winner while leading the Seminoles to their first national championship. Ward remains the only Heisman winner taken in the NBA Draft, but early in his career, Ward actually did the punting for FSU. Ward stuck to passing the ball and running the offense over the final years of his career, but as a true freshman in 1989, averaged better than 37 yards per punt with a long of 57 yards.
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.