The premier honor in U.S. college football, the Heisman Trophy, has been awarded to quarterback Matt Leinart of the University of Southern California. Leinart beat his teammate Reggie Bush, a Utah quarterback and two players from Oklahoma, including last year's winner Jason White.
The president of the Heisman Trophy trust, William J. Dockery, announced the award in New York Saturday night. "And now, without further delay, the Heisman Trust is proud to announce, the winner of the 2004 Heisman memorial trophy is Matt Leinart of the University of Southern California," he said.
Leinart received 267 first place votes and 1,325 points in the voting. The junior quarterback threw for 2,990 yards and 28 touchdowns, and led Southern California to an undefeated record this season. The Trojans will play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl national championship game January 4.
Leinart defeated his teammate, running-back Reggie Bush, 2003 winner Jason White of Oklahoma and his teammate Adrian Peterson and Utah quarterback Alex Smith. After receiving the award, an emotional Leinart said he knew he was in exclusive company. "Well, I don't know what to say. I am extremely flattered. And to be amongst these four players who are each deserving of this trophy, it is an honor to represent them, and get to come up here, and thank you very much," he said.
Leinart is the sixth USC player to win the Heisman and the second Trojan quarterback in three years to win the award. His former teammate Carson Palmer won it in 2003.