Tim Brown Wins Heisman Trophy
The single attribute that sets the great football player apart from the merely good one is the ability to turn a game around on one play.
More than any other college star of the 1987 season, Tim Brown of the University of Notre Dame possesses this rare talent, and it is for this reason that he was the 53rd winner of college football's most coveted individual award, The Heisman Trophy. Brown, who does everything on a football field except sell tickets, is the seventh Trophy recipient from Notre Dame, which is tied with USC for the most Heisman winners. He catches passes, runs back punts and kickoffs, rushes when necessary, and drives any defense to distraction just by being on the field. At 6 feet and 195 pounds, Brown is not huge by football standards. But he possesses great speed, elusiveness in the open field, sure hands and a fine grasp of the strategy and tactics of what is in reality a complex game. "He is," says Lou Holtz, "the most intelligent player I've ever been around." As a measure of Brown's versatility, consider these statistics through the first nine games of the season: 32 pass receptions for 729 yards and 3 touchdowns; 29 rushes for 133 yards and a touchdown; and three touchdowns. Tim was drafted by the Oakland Raiders as their number one pick in the 1988 NFL Draft. Tim played for the Oakland Raiders for fifteen years, before retiring in 2004 from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tim Brown became Notre Dame's seventh Heisman winner, the most of any college at the time, and in the process became the first receiver to win the Trophy since another Notre Dame star, Leon Hart, in 1949. Brown became only the third receiver to win the Heisman, joining Hart and Yale's Larry Kelley, who won in 1936. Brown was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, the alma mater of 1938 winner Davey O'Brien, marking the first time one high school produced two Heisman winners.
Timothy Donell Brown (born July 22, 1966) is a retired American football wide receiver, who played college football for Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy, and in the National Football League (NFL). He spent sixteen years with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, during which he established himself as one of the NFL's most prolific wide receivers. His fame and success with the Raiders organization earned him the title Mr. Raider.
Before his college career, Brown played for Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas, the same school as 1938 Heisman Trophy winner Davey O'Brien. Despite his contributions, the team fared poorly, with a 4–25–1 record over his three years as a starter. Nevertheless, Brown was heavily recruited by major colleges. His five official visits were to Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma, nearby Southern Methodist and Iowa.
Brown chose Notre Dame and played there from 1984–1987, earning the nickname "Touchdown Timmy." In his first year, he set a freshman record with twenty-eight receptions. As a junior, he set a record with 1,937 all-purpose yards. He made the College Football All-America Team twice and won the Heisman Trophy in 1987, becoming the first wide receiver ever to win the award. His alma mater, Woodrow Wilson High School, became the first high school in history to produce more than one Heisman winner; as of 2007, Woodrow is still the only public high school with two winners, though private school Mater Dei has matched the record. During that year, he caught 34 passes for 846 yards, returned 34 punts for 401 yards, rushed for 144 yards, and gained 456 yards on 23 kickoff returns. He also scored eight touchdowns. Brown finished his career at Notre Dame with 137 receptions, a school record 5,024 all-purpose yards, and 22 touchdowns.
However, just as in high school, Brown's team achieved limited success, with a 25–21 record over his four seasons, and an 0–2 record in bowl games. In the year after Brown graduated (1988), Notre Dame won the national title.
Brown burst onto the scene as a junior with a scintillating season-ending performance in a come-from-behind upset of USC, then used back-to-back punt returns for touchdowns in an early-season '87 game against Michigan State to cement his Heisman bid. Listed as a flanker, Brown utilized his ability as a pass receiver, rusher out of a full-house backfield and punt and kickoff returner to rank third nationally in all-purpose yardage as a junior (176.5 per game) and sixth as a senior (167.9). He finished his junior campaign with 254 all-purpose yards in the 38-37 win at USC (including a 56-yard punt return that set up the winning field goal), then returned punts for 66 and 71 yards for a pair of touchdowns in an early romp over eventual Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion Michigan State. Brown finished his career as Notre Dame's all-time leader in pass reception yards (2493) while also returning six kicks for touchdowns (three punts, three kickoffs). Despite constant double and triple coverage as a senior, he earned a reputation as the most dangerous player in college football. Brown was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Raiders (sixth player chosen overall) in the '88 NFL draft. He has been selected to play in the NFL Pro Bowl in 1988, '91, '93, '94, '95, '96, '97, '99 and 2000.