In 2003, Oklahoma's Jason White won the Heisman Trophy as a junior. The next year he finished third, behind teammate Adrian Peterson (a freshman) and Southern California's Matt Leinart (a junior).
In 2005, Leinart also finished third, behind a pair of underclassmen - winning teammate Reggie Bush and Vince Young, of Texas - who both opted not to return for their senior seasons.
On Saturday night in New York, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to win the award. Which means he'll have at least one more opportunity to become just the second player to win it twice. And perhaps even two chances, should he stick around for his final season of eligibility as he's indicated he will.
Doesn't mean he's going to get another trophy, but he will be one to beat.
"It's surreal," Tebow gushed. "I'm just overwhelmed, thankful, honored. A lot of things went through my mind."
He won by 254 points over junior running back Darren McFadden, of Arkansas. A year ago McFadden finished 1,662 points behind Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith. He's the first player to finish runner-up in back-to-back years since Charlie Justice, of North Carolina, in 1948-49. The only other guy to finish second twice was Army's Glenn Davis, in 1944-45; he finally won it in '46.
Other non-repeaters were Oklahoma's Billy Sims, who won in 1978 and finished second to USC's Charles White the next year, and Brigham Young's Ty Detmer, 1990 winner and '91 third-place finisher.
It was the closest race since White beat Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald by 128 points in 2003.
"I'm a little down," said McFadden, who was voted the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year over Tebow by the SEC coaches. "I had high hopes coming here."
Tebow passed for 29 touchdowns and ran for 22 more for the 9-3 Gators, who'll play Michigan in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1. He's the third Florida quarterback to win, joining Steve Spurrier (1966) and Tebow's role model, Danny Wuerffel (1996), who was in attendance and among the first to congratulate the newest member of an elite fraternity.
"To think you're going to be known as the Heisman Trophy winner for life, that's definitely special," Tebow said. "It'll probably make other people think differently about [me], but I'm always going to be Timmy Tebow from Jacksonville, Fla. It doesn't change who you are."
Tebow helped the Gators win the national title as a valued backup in 2006. This is only the second time in the last 7 years that the Heisman Trophy winner is not playing in the national-title game. Florida becomes the first SEC school to have three Heisman winners, and the Gators join Notre Dame as the only teams with more than two Heisman-winning quarterbacks.
Tebow received 462 first-place votes, and was named either first, second or third on 804 of the 881 ballots. McFadden got 291 firsts and was on 766 ballots.
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was third, with 632 points, followed by Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel (425). Rounding out the top 10 was Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon (178), who might have been the front-runner before he was injured and missed the last three games; West Virginia quarterback Pat White (150); Boston College quarterback and Penn Charter High product Matt Ryan (63); Central Florida running back Kevin Smith (55), the country's top rusher; LSU defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey (30), who will play for the national title on Jan. 7 in New Orleans against Ohio State; and Virginia defenive lineman Chris Long (17), son of Howie, the former Villanova/NFL great and longtime Fox NFL analyst. *