We have reached the landmark season of 1983 on MNC Wednesday today, as we continue assessing Heisman Trophy history: In 27 seasons (as we started in 1956 when statistics were somewhat readily available), we have confirmed just 8 winners—demonstrating that a lot of the voting process really came down to hype and not much common sense or objective analysis. Hence, the “Hypesman” moniker …

By the way, here is our MNC analysis from this season, too, for context.

1983 Heisman Trophy winner: Mike Rozier, RB, Nebraska (original, confirmed)

The Nebraska Cornhuskers were an all-time machine this season, scoring over 50 points a game, led by their star running back, Mike Rozier (2,486 total yards and 29 touchdowns). He won the Heisman vote relatively easily, so this may be an easy confirmation process for us. Nebraska went 12-0 in the regular season against the No. 37-ranked schedule, and Rozier’s numbers were very impressive.

However, there are some other candidates to consider here. This is our final list of fully vetted Heisman candidates for the 1983 Heisman Trophy, which is not extensive:

  • Chuck Long, QB, Iowa: 160.4 QB rating with 19 TDs and 5 INTs (No. 32 SOS)
  • Turner Gill, QB, Nebraska: 152.7 QB rating with 25 TDs and 4 INTs (see above)
  • Steve Young, QB, BYU: 168.5 QB rating with 41 TDs and 10 INTs (No. 68 SOS)

That’s it. Young had unreal stats against a weak(er) schedule, while Long had solid stats against a solid schedule. Gill was effective, too, as a dual-threat QB in the Cornhuskers’ scheme, but his yardage total was just 2,047 overall. Rozier got more mileage out of his touches than Gill did, even with Gill throwing the ball 170 times. Normally, we don’t consider teammates here, but …

We’d rank Long ahead of Gill, and that means this comes down to Rozier and Long: As a mere sophomore, Long didn’t garner much Heisman support, but he led the Hawkeyes to a Top-10 ranking at the end of the regular season. But against a comparable-enough SOS, Rozier’s numbers just jump off the page. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry, and yes, Nebraska was very good, but … still. That’s insane.

Congratulations to Mike Rozier, the legitimate Heisman Trophy winner from 1983.