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Former Utah Heisman Trophy Finalist Quarterback Lee Grosscup Passes Away At Age 83

Head coach Jack Curtice and quarterback Lee Grosscup #11 of the Utah Utes stand on the sideline during an NCAA football game circa 1957. (Photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Lee Grosscup has passed away at age 83.

Grosscup was born and raised in Santa Monica, California where he attended Santa Monica High School. Originally, Grosscup decided to play for the University of Washington in 1955. After his freshman season, Grosscup transferred to Santa Monica before heading to Salt Lake City and the University of Utah in 1957.

After two seasons with the Utes, Grosscup was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft.

College/Professional Career

As a junior at Utah in 1957, he completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,398 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named first-team All-American by Look, the Newspaper Enterprise Association, the Williamson National Football rating and today.

During that season, Grosscup finished 10th in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding player in college football.

Grosscup suffered a shoulder injury during his senior season but was selected to play in the Senior Bowl in 1959.

NBC Sunday Night Football play-by-play broadcaster Al Michaels credited Grosscup for developing the shovel pass or otherwise known as “Utah pass.”

Grosscup was taken in the first round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the New York Giants with the 10th overall pick. In three seasons in New York, Grosscup appeared in three games. In 1962, the Minnesota Vikings purchased Grosscup’s contract but was cut before the season started.

The Santa Monica, California native returned to New York to play for the Titans in the American Football League. After suffering a knee injury during the season, Grosscup was cut on the final day of preseason. He joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League just three days after being cut.

Grosscup ended his playing career with short stints with the Oakland Raiders and the Hartford Charter Oaks of the Continental Football League.

Broadcasting Career

After the 1966 season, Grosscup went up to the booth to become a broadcaster. He started his career calling AFL games on NBC before joining ABC as a college football analyst for 21 years. Grosscup worked with broadcasters such as Bill Flemming, Chris Schenkel, Keith Jackson, Verne Lundquist and Al Michaels.

Grosscup served as an analyst in the USFL as the first radio analyst for the Oakland Invaders and then as a television analyst for ABC from 1984-85. He jumped back into the booth as a radio analyst for the Sacramento Gold Miners of the CFL from 1993-94.

He made his final broadcasting stop with the California Golden Bears radio broadcast team. He was a broadcaster for the school for 32 years, 17 years as a color analyst and 15 years as a part of Cal’s postgame coverage. Grosscup worked alongside longtime play-by-play voice Joe Starkey. Grosscup officially retired in 2018.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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