John David Crow
John David Crow named for his paternal grandfather (John Sterling Crow) and his father (Harry David Crow). Despite suffering some early season injuries in 1957 that cause him to appear in only 7 games, carried the ball 129 times for 562 yards during his senior campaign. He scored six touchdowns and an extra point for 37 points; intercepted five passes, caught two passes and passed for five touchdowns.
Crow was named a scholastic All-American his senior year and was named to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.
In 1957, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant of Texas A&M sent a message to Heisman Trophy voters.
“If John David Crow doesn't win the Heisman Trophy,” he said, “they ought to stop giving it.”
They got the message. Crow became the third Southwest Conference player to win college football's highest individual award, following Davey O'Brien of TCU in 1938 and Doak Walker of SMU in 1948. Since then, Earl Campbell of Texas (1977) and Andre Ware of Houston (1989) have done it.
In 38 years as a head coach at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama, Bryant's teams won 323 games and six national championships, but Crow was the only one of his players who came close to winning the Heisman Trophy. Babe Parilli of Kentucky was a distant third in 1951, but none of Bryant's Alabama stars finished higher than fourth.
When he saw game films of Crow as a senior at Springhill High School in 1953, Bryant said it was like “watching a grown man play against boys.”
Like other Heisman Trophy winners in that era, Crow's statistics were not impressive by modern standards. Even in 1957, Crow's 562 yards rushing didn't match SWC champion Jim Shofner of TCU, but Crow was a complete football player. He never missed a tackle in three years as the Aggies' safety and intercepted five passes in his senior season. On offense, he averaged less than 13 carries a game, but he also caught passes, threw a few and returned kicks. Bryant told his sports information director, Jones Ramsey, to go through the play-by-play charts and come up with a category in which Crow would lead the nation.
Vic Janowicz | Dick Kazmaier | Billy Vessels | John Lattner | Alan Ameche | Howard Cassady | Paul Hornung | John David Crow | Pete Dawkins | Billy Cannon
1930’s | 1940’s | 1950’s | 1960’s | 1970’s | 1980’s | 1990’s | 2000’s | 2010’s