MSU and Michigan Players Who Won or Came Close to Winning College Football’s Most Prestigious Award
The Heisman Trophy is the NCAA's most prestigious award given to the most outstanding college football player. Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan and Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State both fell just short of the top this year. Hutchinson finished 2nd and Walker finished 6th. That got me thinking about the success of both schools' history when it comes to the Heisman trophy.
Michigan State and University of Michigan Heisman Trophy Winners and Finalists
Unfortunately for the Spartans, they have not had the fortune of sporting a Heisman Trophy winner yet. However, they have come close before Walker. Lorenzo White was a two-time finalist in 1985 & 1987. Before that, you have to go back a little way. The only other finalists are running back Sherman Lewis in 1963 and Walt Kowalczyk in 1957. Past Spartans have had great seasons, but only a few have ever been in contention for the award.
On the other side, Michigan has had a lot more success. The Wolverines in their history have had three Heisman trophy winners. The first was Tom Harmon in 1940. Next was Desmond Howard in 1991. Lastly, we have Charles Woodson in 1997, the only defensive player to ever win the award.
On top of that, they have had a handful of finalists. The most recent was Jabrill Peppers in 2016. Tom Harmon was the runner-up the year before he won. In 1947 Bob Chappuis was the runner up to Notre Dame's John Lujack. Rob Lytle and Rich Leach were also finalists in 1976 and 1978. To close out the list, former QB and now current Wolverine coach Jim Harbaugh finished 3rd in 1986.
If you are keeping score, the advantage goes to Michigan. However, the list as a whole shows that the state of Michigan has produced some great athletes—Spartans and Wolverines alike.
Thanks to successful years by both squads, it brings the hope that the list for each school will continue to grow for years to come.