Classic CU is a part of the CUBuffs.com network. Brought to you by the University of Colorado Athletic Department and the Univeristy of Colorado Heritage Center, ClassicCU.com will feature top teams, players and athletes, and events and moments from CU's rich tradition of excellence.
Rashaan Salaam Rushes To 1994 Heisman Trophy
A magical 1994 season for tailback Rashaan Salaam was rewarded on Dec. 10, when he was named the 60th Heisman Trophy winner.
Salaam, who is CU's first and only Heisman Trophy winner, rushed for a school record 2,055 yards in 1994 helping the Buffaloes to a 41-24 win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. (Keyed in by CU Student Assistant SID Alex Kaufman).
By Craig Harper
NEW YORK— Colorado’s Rashaan Salaam reacted to winning the Heisman Trophy Saturday night much in the same way he plays football.
The junior running back from San Diego, CU’s first winner in the 60-year history of college football’s most prestigious award, used a no-nonsense running style to carry him to 2,055 yards this season.
And in claiming the 60th Heisman presented by the Downtown Athletic Club, Salaam said, “I’m happy, but it’s not a really big deal for me.”
In Fact, Salaam insisted the Heisman was no more important than the Walter Camp player of the Year and Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back, both of which he had won earlier.
“It feels good, but it’s not just an award” Salaam said. “No more, no less. They’re all even. They’re a piece of wood and brass to me.”
Was he excited?
“Not at all,” he said. “I’m not going to take this and make my whole life turn around.”
He seemed to be happier for the people around him.
“I’m excited for the whole program, especially for my teammates,” he said. Not to mention his biggest fan, his mother, Khalada Salaam, one of many relatives who attended the ceremonies. “She’s choked up; this trophy is for her,” he said.
If Salaam wasn’t excited about all the hoopla, his friends and family were.
Khalada Salaam admitted she was more nervous than Rashaan prior to the presentation, which was telecast live from the Heisman Room at the DAC on ESPN.
“He’s too cool for me,” she said. “I’m sure he’s happy, sometimes it’s hard to tell.
“He doesn’t want the Heisman jinx. I want him to have a career like Marcus Allen, not be a flash in the pan.”
Whether winning the Heisman marks the end of his college career or the start of one in the NFL remains to be seen.
Salaam said Saturday night he has decided, but won’t make an announcement until Jan. 6, four days after Colorado plays Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
“Right now, I’m really having a good time at Colorado,” he said. “I’m not ready to go to that high-pressure, 9-to-5 job in the pros. But the money would be good.”
Salaam was a heavy favorite to win the Heisman, but he admitted that he had some doubts after Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins won the Maxwell Award – considered the junior Heisman—Thursday night in Orlando, Fla.
“I was hoping it would be Kerry Collins,” he said.
But 400 of the 792 who voted out of a possible 920 listed Salaam first. He not only far outdistanced runner-up Ki-Jana Carter, the Penn State running back, he had almost twice as many first place votes as Carter and Collins combined and more than twice as many total points as them.
Salaam finished with 1,743 points to Carters 901. Alcorn State’s Steve McNair, the record-smashing Division 1-AA quarterback, was third with 655 points, followed by Collins with 639
“I am a little disappointed,” Collins said. “Maybe I got my hopes up too high (after winning the Maxwell).”
Though Colorado had never produced a Heisman Winner – Byron “Whizzer” White was second in 1937 – Salaam had history on his side.
The other three 2,000-yard rushers all won the Heisman: USC’s Allen in 1981, Nebraska’s Mike Rozier in 1983 and Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders in 1988.
Salaam, who led the nation in rushing, scoring, and all-purpose yards, believed his rushing total carried him to the Heisman.“A lot of running backs have never done that in their career; I think running for 2,000 put me over the hump.”
|All content, including but not limited to photos, logos and articles, are © Univeristy of Colorado, All Rights Reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute anything from this website without consent of the University of Colorado Department of Intercollegiate Athletics or the University of Colorado Heritage Center.|