Randy Moss on Troy Davis: “He should have won (the Heisman) by a landslide.”

Oct 23, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; ESPN analyst Randy Moss during the pre-game show before Monday night game between Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Real recognize real.

All-time college football and NFL great Randy Moss never truly entertained the idea of winning the Heisman Trophy when he was named a finalist in 1997. Despite catching 96 passes for 1,820 yards and 26 touchdowns that season for the Marshall Thundering Herd, the current ESPN commentator knew winning college football’s most prestigious award was a longshot.

While those are some insane statistics, Moss told ESPN for an oral history of that 1997 Heisman race that he knew he wasn’t going to win after a running back with gaudy numbers didn’t win the¬†year before.

“I never really put the Heisman Trophy and winning it in my head because I remembered a running back by the name of [Iowa State’s] Troy Davis, who had back-to-back 2,000 yard seasons, and he did not win it and he should have won it by a landslide,” Moss said. “Knowing that I came from a smaller school and knowing that bigger schools such as Tennessee and such as Michigan put up more money for those guys to be [promoted] is what I had to understand, and it didn’t take me long to understand.”

Moss ended up fourth in Heisman ballotting that year behind Charles Woodson, Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. He went on to become a five-time All-Pro selection in the NFL and ranks among the all-time leaders in numerous statistical categories.

Like Davis, Moss was an all-time great hampered by the college football money machine. Real recognize real.

Jared Stansbury


Jared is in his seventh year covering Iowa State football and basketball for Cyclone Fanatic. He worked as the site's intern for three years while studying Journalism in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism. He started as a full-time staff writer in May 2016. He took over as the site's managing editor in January 2020. Jared spent five falls covering Iowa high school football as a reporter for KMA Radio, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI.