The 1953 Heisman Trophy race was the closest election since the Heisman started and is the third closes overall in Heisman history. Paul Giel's 1,794 points were the most ever for a second place finish and Giel also accumulated the most first place votes ever for a runner-up. Lattner took the East, South and Southwest and Giel won the Midwest and Far West.
John went from Notre Dame to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he tore up his knee playing in a military game and never played in the NFL again. He then served for two years in the Air Force ('55-'57). Afterwards he took up coaching at St. Joseph High School and Denver University.
John “Johnny” Lattner, who won the Heisman in 1953, scored 20 touchdowns and 120 points for the Irish. He gained a combined 3,095 yards rushing, catching passes, returning punts and kickoffs and intercepting passes. The 195 lb halfback ran for 1724 yards in his career and 20 touchdowns averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He caught 39 passes for 613 yards averaging 15.7 yards per catch for his career.
Lattner was also a game-breaking kick returner, who returned 11 kicks for 366 yards and 2 TDs along with 27 punt returns for 307 yards. Lattner held the Notre Dame record for all-purpose yards until Vagas Ferguson broke it in 1979.
Johnny Lattner, who played both sides of the ball, was also a solid defensive back and punter. He picked off 13 passes in his career.