RB | Junior | The Ohio State University
Janowicz won Ohio State’s second Heisman after establishing himself as one of the great multiple threats in college football. He was the third junior to win the award and one of two Heisman winners to play Major League Baseball.
The eighth of nine children, Janowicz was born in Elyria, Ohio. At Elyria High he was not only a National Honor Society scholar but also all-state and captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams in both his junior and senior years. Two major league baseball teams, the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers, offered him contracts and 60 colleges sought to recruit him.
He signed with Ohio State and played halfback in the single wing, safety on defense, and also punted and did the place-kicking. In his first varsity season of 1949, Ohio State had so many proven offensive backs that Janowicz played defensive back. When Ohio State, the Big Ten champion, defeated California, 17-14, in the Rose Bowl, he intercepted two passes, returning one 41 yards for a touchdown.
The next season was his big one. Playing about 50 minutes a game as a single-wing tailback on offense, safety on defense plus punter and place-kicker, Janowicz was the hero Saturday after Saturday. He attempted and completed six passes, four for touchdowns, against Pittsburgh. In an 83-21 victory over Iowa, he accounted for 46 points by running or passing for six touchdowns and kicking eight extra points. On the season, he totaled 561 passing yards, 314 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He was voted the Heisman Trophy in a runaway over Kyle Rote of Southern Methodist.
His senior season of 1951 wasn’t nearly as successful. A new coach, Woody Hayes, altered the offense and Janowicz’s role was reduced by this and also by injuries.
Janowicz passed up offers to play professional football in order to pursue a baseball career. He reached the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but hit only .214 over two seasons as a bench player. He returned to football late in the 1954 season with the Washington Redskins, and was their starting halfback in 1955. During training camp in 1956, he suffered a serious brain injury in an automobile accident that left him partially paralyzed and ended his athletic career.
Janowicz eventually made a full recovery and became a broadcaster of Buckeye football games. Later he worked as an account executive at a Columbus manufacturing firm and, from 1986, as an administrative assistant to the state auditor.
He died in Columbus, Ohio, of cancer in 1996.
Janowicz was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1976.