1997 : Charles Woodson Receives the Heisman

December 15, 2021 all-day

December 15, 1997

At 6-feet 2-inches and 200 pounds, Charles Woodson is the third Michigan Wolverine to win the Heisman Trophy. The exciting junior cornerback garnered numerous post-season honors including First Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. Charles finished the season with eight interceptions. Woodson the versatile player also saw time as a receiver on offense and as a dangerous punt returner on special teams. Charles and the Wolverines finished the season with a 21-16 victory over Washington State in the Rose Bowl to go 12-0 on the season and to claim a share of the National Championship with Nebraska.

In his junior season in 1997, Woodson became the third Michigan player to win the Heisman Trophy, joining Tom Harmon (1940) and Desmond Howard (1991). Woodson received 282 more voting points than runner-up Peyton Manning. He was the first and is still the only primarily defensive player to win the prestigious award. Woodson is the last player to win the Heisman Trophy that is not a running back or quarterback. Woodson led the Michigan Wolverines to an undefeated season and a share of the national championship in the same year. He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive college player. He was named to the All-Big Ten First-Team for the third year and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. It was his second year winning the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year award and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson won the Jim Thorpe Award, an award which he was nominated for the previous year.

Throughout college, Woodson was known for big plays in big moments of a game. As a freshman he had two interceptions in a victory against the #2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. During his Heisman-winning junior year, he made an acrobatic one-handed sideline interception against the Michigan State Spartans. Woodson had two interceptions in the game. In a game against Ohio State, he returned a punt for a touchdown, made an interception in the end-zone, and had a 37-yard reception that led to Michigan’s only offensive touchdown of the game. The win lifted Michigan to the Rose Bowl.  Michigan played the Washington State Cougars in the Rose Bowl. Woodson recorded another end-zone interception in the game, helping Michigan defeat the Cougars and win a share of the 1997 national championship. In 2007, Woodson was ranked #11 on ESPN’s Top 25 Players In College Football History list.

Woodson finished his college career with 18 interceptions and 30 passes defended.


1997 Heisman Award Winner Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson wikipedia entry

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