Winners... or Losers?
Robert Griffin III
RG3 was one of the most hyped players coming out of college in recent memory, and for good reason. His time spent at Baylor was nothing short of incredible. His final year he racked up 4,293 passing yards, 699 rush yards, and 47 total touchdowns. Oh, and he also won the Heisman Trophy.
After a great college career, he was drafted second overall by the Washington Redskins in 2012. Don’t get us wrong, he lit up the league as a rookie. He had 3,200 pass yards, 20 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions and over 800 rush yards in his first season. However, after that, it all went downhill. RG3 tore his ACL in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and his career was derailed. He lost his job to Kirk Cousins in Washington and wasn’t able to secure a starting job in Cleveland with the Browns. Nowadays he’s out of the league and can’t even get a job as a backup.
In 2004, Matt Leinart put up 33 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions while passing for over 3,300 yards and went 11-0 on the season. He’s easily one of the greatest players to ever put on a USC Trojans jersey, but unfortunately, that success didn’t transfer over to the NFL.
Leinart was drafted 10th overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He was all set for a successful campaign with the Cardinals with wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin on the team, but things didn’t go as planned. Leinart started 11 games in his rookie year and threw for just 11 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He struggled to get better and eventually lost his job to Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner.
Leinart’s last snap was played as a backup for the Oakland Raiders in 2012.
Ron Dayne set the NCAA record for total rushing yards in a career and was one of the most decorated college football players of all time. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1999 when he ran for 2,034 yards and 20 touchdowns for Wisconsin. His stellar year led him to win the Heisman Trophy over NFL stars like Drew Brees and Michael Vick. His dominant performance at Wisconsin led him to be drafted 11th overall by the New York Giants in 2000.
His rookie season he amassed just 770 yards and 5 touchdowns on 228 carries. His 3.4 yards per carrying was underwhelming, and he eventually became a shadow behind Tiki Barber. After his time with the Giants he tried to hang around with the Broncos and Texans, but he couldn’t produce.
The Heisman Trophy is the most prestigious award a college football player can win, but these athletes proved it doesn’t guarantee success in the pros.