Notre Dame's Fifth Heisman Trophy: Paul Hornung (1956)

In 1956, Paul Hornung (‘57) completed 59 of 111 passes for 917 and three touchdowns. The senior was much more than a quarterback however, as he also ran for 420 yards on 94 total carries, returned kickoffs, kicked extra points, and intercepted a pair of passes as a safety. The Louisville, Ky. native ranked second nationally in total offense (1,337 yards) and accounted for more than half of Notre Dame’s scoring. In December, Hornung topped Tennessee’s John Majors in a close vote to become Notre Dame’s fifth Heisman Trophy winner. He is the only player from a losing team (the Irish finished 2-8) to ever win the prestigious award. In this ‘Strong and True’ moment, look back on Hornung’s career and Heisman season through images from the University of Notre Dame Archives.

1956 Heisman Trophy results
1. Paul Hornung, Notre Dame (1,066)
2. John Majors, Tennessee (994)
3. Tom McDonald, Oklahoma (973)
4. Gerry Tubbs, Oklahoma (724)
5. Jimmy Brown, Syracuse (561)
6. Ron Kramer, Michigan (518)
7. John Brodie, Stanford (281)
8. Jim Parker, Ohio State (248)
9. Kenny Ploen, Iowa (150)
10. Jon Arnett, USC (128)

Hornung Heisman

Hornung poses with the Heisman Trophy in 1956.


Hornung Navy 1955

Hornung was an all-around athlete who played quarterback, left halfback, fullback and safety.


Hornung Indiana 1955

The Louisville, Ky. native intercepts a pass against Indiana in 1955.


Hornung Sports Illustrated

Hornung was on the cover of Sports Illustrated on Oct. 29, 1956.


Hornung action pose

As a quarterback in 1956, Hornung threw for 917 yards and three touchdowns.


Hornung Iowa 1955

Running with the ball against Iowa in 1955. The Irish won at Notre Dame Stadium, 17-14.


Hornung & Brennan

Head coach Terry Brennan, and Hornung in his monogram sweater, with the Enterprise Football Medal.


Hornung green jersey

As a senior, Hornung ranked second nationally in total offense (1,337 yards).


Hornung practice field

Hornung is the only player from a losing team (Notre Dame finished 2-8 in ’56) ever to win the Heisman Trophy.


Hornung kick

Hornung also kicked 14 extra points during the 1956 season.