University of Southern California

Matt Leinart became USC's sixth Heisman winner (and second in three years) after winning the Heisman in 2004.

Heisman Winner

Matt Leinart

QB | RS Junior | University of Southern California

Leinart became USC’s sixth Heisman winner — and second in three years — after winning the Heisman in 2004.

The 6-5, 225-pound quarterback led USC to an undefeated season, as the Trojans becamse only the second team to go wire to wire as No. 1 in the polls.

Leinart was born in Santa Ana, California with strabismus (“crossed eyes”), with his left eye not aligned correctly with his right. He underwent surgery when he was three years old and was fitted with special glasses to correct the problem. Despite this obstacle, Leinart blossomed into a highly-rated quarterback while playing at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana (the same school attended by 1964 Heisman winner John Huarte). He was named the California Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, throwing for 2,870 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Leinart considered Oklahoma but signed with USC in 2001. He redshirted his first season and barely got on the field as a redshirt freshman, playing as one of Heisman winner Carson Palmer’s backups.

After winning a hard-fought battle in the spring of 2003 for the starting job, he burst onto the scene as a redshirt sophomore, throwing for 3,556 yards and a then-Pac-10 record 38 touchdowns as the Trojans won the 2003 national title. Leinart finished sixth in the Heisman vote and entered the 2004 season as the front runner for the award.

Leinart had another fine year, passing for 2,990 yards and 28 TDs with just 6 interceptions, while also rushing for three TDs. More importantly, he led the Trojans to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the BCS title game. The Trojan quarterback beat out Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson and Jason White, Utah’s Alex Smith and teammate Reggie Bush to win the trophy.

He showed it was no fluke in the BCS title game as he threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Trojans to a 55-19 win over Oklahoma, clinching a second-straight national title.

Leinart decided to stay in school for one more season in an attempt to win a third-straight title and a record-tying second Heisman in 2005. Despite throwing for 3,815 yards and 28 touchdowns, he finished third in the vote behind Reggie Bush and Vince Young (Bush’s Heisman has since been vacated).

He was selected 10th overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He also had stints with the Houston Texans, the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills before settling in as a college football commentator for Fox Sports.

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Heisman Voting Results

Number of electors: 923 - Announced: December 11, 2004.

 PlayerClassPositionSchool1st2nd3rdTotal Points
1Matt LeinartRS JRQBUSC2672111021325
2Adrian PetersonFRRBOklahoma154180175997
3Jason WhiteRS SRQBOklahoma171149146957
4Alex SmithJRQBUtah98112117635
5Reggie BushSORBUSC1188083597
6Cedric BensonSORBTexas124169187
7Jason CampbellRS SRQBAuburn212451162
8J.J. ArringtonSRRBCalifornia103319115
9Aaron RodgersJRQBCalifornia8141567
10Braylon EdwardsSRWRMichigan3132762

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

Heisman Voting By Region

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


1Matt Leinart204
2Adrian Peterson155
3Jason White128
4Reggie Bush95
5Alex Smith79


1Matt Leinart242
2Adrian Peterson174
3Jason White154
4Alex Smith104
5Reggie Bush103


1Matt Leinart215
2Adrian Peterson162
3Jason White126
4Alex Smith126
5Reggie Bush110


1Matt Leinart253
2Adrian Peterson181
3Jason White169
4Reggie Bush102
5Alex Smith102


1Jason White263
2Adrian Peterson197
3Matt Leinart179
4Alex Smith96
5Reggie Bush72

Far West

1Matt Leinart232
2Adrian Peterson128
3Alex Smith128
4Jason White117
5Reggie Bush115


DateOpponentResultAttCompPctYardsYPATDIntRatingRush AttYardsYPCTDPlaysTotal OffYPPTotal TDs
08/28/04+ #10 Virginia TechW 24-13291965.52729.3830178.444-3-0.750332698.153
09/11/04Colorado StateW 49-0312064.52317.4520148.407466.570382777.292
09/18/04at BYUW 42-10342264.72366.9421136.548-3-0.381422335.553
09/25/04at StanfordW 31-28302376.72849.4711160.524-16-4.001342687.882
10/09/04#9 CaliforniaW 23-17241562.51646.8321139.074-30-7.500281344.792
10/16/04#19 Arizona StateW 45-7241354.22249.3340187.572-9-4.501262158.275
10/23/04WashingtonW 38-0432455.82175.0521108.903-12-4.000462054.462
10/30/04at Washington StateW 42-12282382.12358.3920176.211-8-8.000292277.832
11/06/04at Oregon StateW 28-20311754.82056.6121125.235122.40362176.032
11/13/04ArizonaW 49-9352777.12808.0030172.63372.330382877.553
11/27/04Notre DameW 41-10342470.640011.7650217.94372.3303740711.005
12/04/04at UCLAW 29-24342470.62427.1201124.493-24-8.000372185.890
Heisman StatsBCS #1, AP #112-037725166.629907.93286154.5347-33-0.70342429576.9731
01/04/05+ #3 oKLAHOMAW 55-19351851.43329.4950178.252-11-5.500373218.685
TotalsBCS #1, AP #113-041226965.333228.06336156.5449-44-0.90346132787.1136

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USC QB - Heisman Trophy Winner Matt Leinart
USC QB - Heisman Trophy Winner Matt Leinart
Matt Leinart