Reggie Bush Reinstated as Heisman Winner

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11: Tailback Reggie Bush of the University of Southern California Trojans finishes 5th in the 2004 Heisman trophy voting on December 11, 2004 in New York City. USC teammate, quarterback Matt Leinart won the 2004 Heisman Trophy. | Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Former USC running back Reggie Bush is getting his Heisman Trophy back after the Heisman Trust reinstated it on Wednesday.

The 2005 Heisman winner, who ran for over 1,700 yards and scored 18 touchdowns during his Heisman season, previously had the trophy stripped from him as the result of an NCAA investigation that found Bush and his family had received “impermissible benefits” while he attended the university.

This, of course, was well before the introduction of name, image, and likeness (NIL) in college sports, and the current environment of collegiate athletics played a role in the Heisman Trust’s decision.

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments,” Michael Comerford, President of The Heisman Trophy Trust, said in an official announcement on the organization’s website. “We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the Trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back.”

Bush spent three years at USC, becoming one of the PAC-12’s all-time leaders in yards from scrimmage and a 2023 College Football Hall of Fame inductee. During the 2005 season, he also won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back, was named AP Player of the Year, Walter Camp Player of the Year, and PAC-10 Player of the Year, and was a consensus All-American.

He was drafted second overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 2006 NFL Draft and played 11 seasons in the NFL with New Orleans, Miami, Detroit, San Francisco, and Buffalo.

Due to the NCAA’s previous sanctions, Bush was no longer officially recognized as the 2005 Heisman winner and was not invited to events with his fellow winners, like the annual Heisman Trophy Presentation Ceremony. That will all change after reinstatement.

“Personally, I’m thrilled to reunite with my fellow Heisman winners and be a part of the storied legacy of the Heisman Trophy, and I’m honored to return to the Heisman family,” Bush told ESPN. “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization.”

Several fans, media pundits, and athletes praised the Heisman Trophy Trust’s decision on social media, including former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012.

“Thank you to the @HeismanTrophy for doing what’s right and welcoming a storied member of our history back into the fold,” Manziel wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “There were many voices throughout this process that stood on the table for Reggie simply because of the kind of human being he is. I look forward to being on that stage with you this December @ReggieBush you deserve it.”

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