The single attribute that sets the great football player apart from the merely good one is the ability to turn a game around on one play. More than any other college star of the 1987 season, Tim Brown of the University of Notre Dame possesses this rare talent, and it is for this reason that he was the 53rd winner of college football's most coveted individual award, The Heisman Trophy. Brown is the seventh Trophy recipient from Notre Dame, which is tied with USC for the most Heisman winners. At 6 feet and 195 pounds, Brown possesses great speed, elusiveness in the open field, sure hands and a fine grasp of the strategy and tactics of what is in reality a complex game. "He is," says Lou Holtz, "the most intelligent player I've ever been around." As a measure of Brown's versatility, consider these statistics through the first nine games of the season: 32 pass receptions for 729 yards and 3 touchdowns; 29 rushes for 133 yards and a touchdown; and three touchdowns.
Brown chose the University of Notre Dame and played there from 1984-1987, earning the nickname "Touchdown Timmy." In his first year, he set a freshman record with twenty-eight receptions. As a junior, he set a record with 1,937 all-purpose yards. During 1987, Brown caught 34 passes for 846 yards, returned 34 punts for 401 yards, rushed for 144 yards, gained 456 yards on 23 kickoff returns, and scored eight touchdowns. Brown finished his career at Notre Dame with 137 receptions for 2,493 yards, a school record 5,024 all-purpose yards, and 22 touchdowns.
Brown made the College Football All-America Team twice and won the 1987 Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver ever to win the award.
Tim Brown became Notre Dame's seventh Heisman winner, the most of any college at the time, and in the process became the first receiver to win the Trophy since another Notre Dame star, Leon Hart, in 1949. Brown became only the third receiver to win the Heisman, joining Hart and Yale's Larry Kelley, who won in 1936.