John David Crow was the only Heisman Trophy winner in school history for over 50 years. I went back and looked at the final results and it really wasn’t close. He’s the only player to win the award while playing for the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
While his numbers will not jump off the page; what made him a great player was his toughness and his willingness to do everything asked of him. Crow was a 2-time All-Conference (1956,1957) performer, an All-American in 1957 while playing every position imaginable while also missing three games due to injury.
The 1956 team was preseason ranked No. 9. Crow would rush for 561 yards while helping lead the Aggies to a 9-0-1 season and their first win in Memorial Stadium since opening in the 1930’s. The team would not be allowed to play in a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions.
With the success from the prior season, Crow and his teammates wanted to make the 1957 season something special. The hype was there with a No. 2 preseason ranking even though they lost Pardee and several others from the 1956 roster. Crow was hurt in the first game and played through other injuries all year but finished the season with 562 yards rushing.
The 1957 team would reach No. 1 in the nation after starting 8-0 but the momentum went away with 3 consecutive losses to end the season. This would be the Aggies last winning season until 1967. Coach Bryant would say during the season, “If John David Crow doesn’t win the Heisman Trophy, they ought to stop giving it.”
To call Crow’s career a tremendous success might be an understatement. Not only is he one of the best running backs in Texas A&M history, he’s one of the greatest players to ever wear maroon and white. He would finish his career with 1,465 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns and would go on to be drafted No. 2 overall by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1958 NFL Draft.