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What NIU player has been closest to winning the Heisman?

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It is extremely hard for a player from a non-BCS school to take home the Heisman. In fact if you look at the dang post-war Heisman list if you are a player from a non-BCS school you have a 0% chance of winning the Heisman solely judging by past results and not counting military academies.

Flashback to 1993. LeShon "Cowboy" Johnson was running the ball for a 4-7 Northern Illinois team. And running, and running, and running. I don't even know where to go to find 1993 stats for that team, but 327 attempt is pretty insane for this day and age. LeShon was a fast dude and Charlie Sadler basically gave him the ball and let him run with it from what I have heard and seen.

LeShon was a great player with 1,976 yds (6.0 ypc) and 12 TDs, but the team was just so bad. If this were an MVP race, yes, he would have won, having carried the team throughout the whole season. His stats rocked, however the schedule that year was awful and the Huskies got smoked by every single decent opponent.

He was the leading rusher in all of college football and placed 6th in voting with five first-place votes. Charlie Ward won it that year for Florida State, but Cowboy could have had a really good chance if the team was actually decent.

Next up was Garrett Wolfe, who had a pretty good Heisman campaign set up for him during the 2006 season. He did finish leading all of college football with 1,976 yds and 18 TDs.

Wolfe started off the season gashing Ohio State for 285 yds. It was the Wolfe show that year right up until October 14th, 2006. That was the day Western Michigan ended NIU's chances not only for the MAC West, but Wolfe's campaign was completely over. He finished with 18 rushes for 25 yds (1.4 ypc). Fans weren't too fond of Phil Horvath that year because he provided no help and Wolfe was pretty much on an island all alone.

To win the Heisman at a small school you have to be other-worldly every single game and have a successful season as a team. You need good QBs and WRs to take the pressure off if you're running the ball.

Wolfe might have gotten a vote or two for the Heisman, but didn't finish in the top 10 that year.

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