University of Michigan

Howard won Michigan's second Heisman (and first since 1940) with the second largest margin in the history of the award. He is also the third wide receiver to win the Heisman.

Heisman Winner

Desmond Howard

WR | RS Junior | University of Michigan

Howard won Michigan’s second Heisman — and first since 1940 — on the strength of a spectacular all-around game. He is the third wide receiver to win the Heisman, joining Johnny Rodgers and Tim Brown.

Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio and earned All-American and All-Ohio honors as a tailback during his 1987 senior season at St. Joseph High School, scoring 18 touchdowns while snagging 10 interceptions on defense. He earned three varsity letters each in track and football, as well as one in basketball.

He chose to attend Michigan as a running back, but struggled early in his career. Three days into his first camp in Ann Arbor, it was decided to try him at wide receiver. The transition was not a smooth one and Howard redshirted his freshman year in 1988 and had just nine catches in 1989. He broke out as a sophomore, however, with 63 catches for 1,025 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also showed his versatility, running for 58 yards and averaging 29.6 yards on kickoffs, with a touchdown return.

Howard was sublime as a 1991 junior as he helped Michigan to a 10-1 regular season record, a Big Ten title and a No. 4 ranking. His acrobatic catches and explosive returns made him one of the most electrifying players ever to play the college game. He became the first receiver in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring (138 points) as he set or tied five NCAA records and 12 single-season Michigan records. He caught 61 passes for 960 yards and 19 scores, rushed 12 times for 165 yards and two TDs, averaged 15.3 yards (with a TD) on punt returns and 31 yards on kick returns (with a TD). The All-American won the Heisman by the second largest margin of victory in the trophy’s history. He was also awarded the Walter Camp Trophy and the Maxwell Award that year before graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications.

Howard was the fourth consecutive junior to win the Heisman and he decided to skip his senior year and make himself available for the 1992 NFL draft. The Washington Redskins drafted him in the first round, fourth overall. While he never caught on as a receiver, he turned himself into one of the greatest kick returners in NFL history and won a Super Bowl MVP with the Packers.

He has since made a name for himself as a college football analyst for ESPN.

More Articles About Desmond Howard

Heisman Voting Results

Number of electors: 917 - Announced: December 14, 1991.

 PlayerClassPositionSchool1st2nd3rdTotal Points
1Desmond HowardRS JRWRMichigan64068212077
2Casey WeldonSRQBFlorida State1917596503
3Ty DetmerSRQBBYU19129130445
4Steve EmtmanRS JRDTWashington2910070357
5Shane MatthewsJRQBFlorida117269246
6Vaughn DunbarSRRBIndiana65153173
7Jeff BlakeSRQBEast Carolina72935114
8Terrell BuckleyJRCBFlorida State12451102
9Marshall FaulkFRRBSan Diego State0103252
10Bucky RichardsonSRQBTexas A&M69945

Three points are awarded for first place on a ballot, with two points for second place and one point for third place. Finalists in bold.

Heisman Voting By Region

Heisman voters are spread out across six regions, with roughly 145 per region.


1Desmond Howard329
2Casey Weldon91
3Ty Detmer49
4Steve Emtman28


1Desmond Howard324
2Casey Weldon75
3Ty Detmer61
4Steve Emtman54


1Desmond Howard327
2Casey Weldon85
3Ty Detmer69
4Steve Emtman34


1Desmond Howard393
2Casey Weldon96
3Ty Detmer75
4Steve Emtman46


1Desmond Howard336
2Ty Detmer81
3Casey Weldon67
4Steve Emtman66

Far West

1Desmond Howard368
2Steve Emtman129
3Ty Detmer110
4Casey Weldon89


Desmond Howard’s Heisman Year Statistics

DateOpponentResultRecYdsAvg.TDsRush AttYdsAvgTDsPRYdsAvg.TDsKORYdsAvg.TDsPlaysAPYYPPTotal TDs
9/7/91at Boston CollegeW 35-1378612.283144.000331.00019393.0011218615.54
9/14/91#13 Notre DameW 24-1467412.33112929.001188.000000.000811113.92
9/28/91#4 Florida StateL 51-3146917.252000.00036020.00026030.000918921.02
10/5/91at #10 IowaW 45-2444711.75235317.660210.50012424.0001012512.52
10/12/91at Michigan StateW 45-28810112.622144.0002189.0002157.5001313810.62
10/19/91IndianaW 24-165326.403000.000000.000310936.330814117.63
10/25/91at MinnesotaW 52-6615525.83211515.000000.000000.000717024.22
11/2/91PurdueW 42-0710815.422188.00025326.500000.0001016916.92
11/9/91NorthwesternW 59-14410225.50111515.0003258.33025628.0001019819.81
11/16/91at IllinoisW 20-078011.42122613.001000.000000.000910611.72
11/23/91Ohio StateW 31-339632.000188.00019393.00111616.000621335.51
Heisman StatsAP #410-16195015.73191216513.7521726115.3511237331.081102175917.223
01/01/92+ #1 WashingtonL 34-1413535.00011515.0003217.00033913.000811013.80
Totals10-2 AP #6, Coaches #66298515.88191318013.8422028214.1011541227.461110186917.023

+ – Neutral Site