Birthplace: Adel, IA
In addition to capturing the Heisman Trophy, Iowa's Nile Kinnick was named the nation's Outstanding Male Athlete for 1939. Kinnick was the picture of football brilliance that season, leading Iowa to a 6-1-1 record while running, passing, or kicking for 107 of the Hawkeyes' 130 points. Nile led the nation in kickoff return yardage (377 yards) and was second in interceptions with eight. The Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp trophies would go to the 5-8, 167-pound back, as well. He was a three-time all-conference player capturing the MVP honors as a senior. It is believed that he played through the 1938 season with a broken ankle. With World War II having begun a few months before, his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech is one of the most eloquent ever delivered. A Phi Beta Kappa scholar in pre-law, Kinnick spurred countless offers to play pro football, deciding instead to attend law school. He was a pilot in the Navy Air Corps in World War II and died in a plane crash off the coast of Venezuela.
University of Iowa