Ty Detmer Wins Heisman Trophy
The 56th winner of the Heisman Trophy is Ty Detmer, the brilliant junior quarterback of the Brigham Young University Cougars.
To football fans that love the aerial game, the names of Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, and Robbie Bosco are enshrined in the pantheon of great passing quarterbacks. And now Detmer stands as the first among that renowned group to win college football's most coveted individual award. "If there's such a thing as a coach's dream," says BYU's head man LaVell Edwards, "Ty's it." Having seen the great ones, Edwards is in possibly the best position to fully assess Detmer's talents. "He is the best quarterback in the country," he says of his 6-foot, 175-pound signal caller. "He's as good at executing, reading, and knowing what to do as anybody I've seen. In the crucial early-season encounter with the number one ranked Miami Hurricanes at Provo, Detmer was at his best, passing for more than 400 yards as the Cougars registered a stunning 28-21 upset. He was even better in rallying his team to a 50-36 victory over Washington State in a game where BYU seemed hopelessly behind at half time. A 43-point second half, achieved largely through Detmer's heroics, brought the victory. Ty and his wife Kim have three daughters. Detmer was drafted in the 9th round of the 1992 Draft by the Green Bay Packers and has had a pretty decent journeyman career, playing for the Packers, Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns. Ty is currently on the Atlanta Falcons.
Ty Hubert Detmer (born October 30, 1967 in San Marcos, Texas) is a former American football quarterback who starred at Brigham Young University. Detmer holds many records for his performance as BYU's quarterback and won the Heisman Trophy in 1990. Detmer graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in recreation administration and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during his junior year there.
Detmer played for six teams during a 14 year NFL career, all of which employed a version of the west coast offense.
Detmer entered the national spotlight during his record-setting career at BYU. He redshirted during the 1987 season, and shared quarterback duties with Sean Covey as a freshman in 1988. He started a game against New Mexico, and passed for 333 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 65-0 BYU victory. He was named Most Valuable Player of the 1988 Freedom Bowl, leading BYU to a come-from-behind 20-17 victory over Colorado.
Detmer became a full-time starter in 1989. He emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, passing for 4,560 yards and 32 touchdowns during the regular season. His passer rating of 175.6 led the NCAA, and he finished second to Houston's Andre Ware in total offense. He led BYU to a WAC Championship, their first since 1985. Detmer finished the season with a strong performance against Penn State in the 1989 Holiday Bowl, setting NCAA records for most passing yards (576) and most yards of total offense (594) in a single bowl game.
Detmer's junior season (1990) ranks as one of the greatest seasons for a quarterback in college football history. Detmer passed for 5,188 yards and 41 touchdowns in 12 regular season games, and finished the year with 42 NCAA records (and tied for five others). The highpoint of the season was BYU's 28-21 upset victory over top-ranked Miami (FL); Detmer led the Cougars by passing for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns against the defending national champions. For his efforts, Detmer was awarded the Heisman Trophy, and received many other honors (including the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award). He was named consensus All-America by the Associated Press, UPI, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Football Writers, Walter Camp, Football News, Scripps Howard, and the Sporting News. Unfortunately for Detmer and BYU, the season ended in disastrous fashion: the Cougars lost 59-28 in their final regular season game (against Hawaii), then lost 65-14 to Texas A&M in the 1990 Holiday Bowl. Detmer was knocked out of the game against Texas A&M, suffering two separated shoulders that required off-season surgery.
The 1991 season started poorly for BYU. With inexperienced teammates, Detmer could not get BYU's offense going, and Cougars lost their first three games (road contests against Florida State, UCLA, and Penn State). After an 0-3 start, Detmer and BYU turned things around. The Cougars won eight straight games, and clinched their third consecutive WAC Championship with a spectacular 52-52 tie against San Diego State in their final regular season game. In that contest, BYU fell behind 45-17 before Detmer led a comeback. He finished the game with 599 passing yards and 6 touchdowns, both career highs. In his final game as a Cougar, Detmer passed for 350 yards to lead BYU to a 13-13 tie against heavily-favored Iowa in the 1991 Holiday Bowl.
Detmer totaled 4,031 passing yards and 35 touchdowns in his senior season. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, but won the Davey O'Brien Award again and also earned the Sammy Baugh Trophy and the Today's Top VI Award and he was named a consensus All-American. His final career statistics were 1,530 pass attempts; 958 completions; 15,031 passing yards; 121 touchdown passes; 14,665 yards of total offense; 135 touchdowns responsible for; and 162.7 passer rating. All of these totals established NCAA records. In all, Detmer finished his college career with 59 NCAA records (and tied for three others). Including statistics from bowl games, Detmer totaled 16,206 passing yards and 127 touchdown passes at BYU.
On December 1, 1990, Ty Detmer and his teammates gathered pool-side at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel just hours prior to kickoff with Hawaii. Via satellite hookup with national TV, Detmer and the BYU faithful waited patiently and listened as Downtown Athletic Club President C. Peter Lambos announced, “Ty Detmer, Ty Detmer of BYU,” — soon Ty was doused in the pool.
Detmer, a junior, became the first collegian from the Rockies to win the Heisman Trophy. Named in honor of John Heisman, the coveted 25-pound honor has been awarded annually to the outstanding college football player of the year since 1935.
“HE HAD ME RUNNING AROUND LIKE A CHICKEN WITH MY HEAD CUT OFF. WE DIDN'T PLAY THAT BAD, DETMER IS JUST THAT GOOD.”
Andre Collins, former Penn State LB (1989 Holiday Bowl)
A 28-21 upset over No. 1-ranked Miami in Provo vaulted Detmer to the forefront in the Heisman race his junior season. Combined with a massive public relations “necktie” campaign for Ty, the 6-0, 175, gunslinger from San Antonio, Texas, guided BYU to a Holiday Bowl berth that season and a 10-3 record with 41 touchdowns and 5,188 yards passing.
Detmer polled 1,482 points to beat out Notre Dame’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismail at 1,177 and finished first in all six regions. Detmer finished third in the Heisman balloting in 1991.
“Winning the Heisman was a great honor,” said Detmer. “There have been a lot of great players, like my teammates and previous BYU quarterbacks, that contributed to it. They opened the door. It shows the strength of the program at BYU.”
Detmer’s portrait hangs alongside other recipients on the third floor of the DAC of New York City. A duplicate portrait of Detmer also hangs on display in the Cougar Room of LaVell Edwards Stadium.