NEW YORK, DEC. 5 -- Tim Brown of Notre Dame won the 1987 Heisman Trophy signifying the nation's top college football player today as voters remembered his earlier play rather than subpar performances in his last two games.

Brown, a wide receiver and kick return specialist, received 1,442 points in the nationwide balloting. Quarterback Don McPherson of Syracuse was second with 831 points, two-way player Gordie Lockbaum of Holy Cross was third with 657, running back Lorenzo White of Michigan State was fourth with 632 and running back Craig Heyward of Pitt was fifth with 170.

Brown, a 21-year-old senior, won five of the six sections of the country. The only section he did not win was the Northeast.

A front-runner for the Heisman since the season began, Brown's chances seemed to dim when he dropped three passes in Notre Dame's 24-0 loss to Miami a week ago. But he won the award by a comfortable margin.

"When it was announced, I wanted to cry," Brown said. "No longer did I have to worry about what people would say. I've had too many good days to let one bad day pull me down . . . No question {going to} Notre Dame helped, but I'm not going to apologize for going to Notre Dame."

He is the seventh player from Notre Dame to be honored, but the first in 23 years. The other Notre Dame Heisman winners were Angelo Bertelli in 1943, Johnny Lujack in 1947, Leon Hart in 1949, John Lattner in 1953, Paul Hornung in 1956 and John Huarte in 1964.

McPherson said he never doubted Brown would win.

"I was sure that I was going to hear Tim Brown's name called," McPherson said. "It made it easier on me. I felt mostly relief for Tim Brown. He went through the whole season as 'Heisman Trophy candidate' and by midseason, he was the 'Heisman Trophy winner.' That's a great deal of pressure."

Brown is only the second player who is primarily a flanker and kick returner to win the Heisman -- the first was Nebraska slotback Johnny Rodgers in 1972 -- and that has caused some controversy. "I thought the Heisman was supposed to go to someone who dominated his position," Heyward said, "not someone who runs all over the field playing hide and seek."

Heyward said that Brown "won it in the offseason."

Although Brown didn't duplicate his junior year, he did gain 1,843 all-purpose yards. On plays from the line of scrimmage, he averaged nearly 14 yards every time he touched the ball.

Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz disclosed this past week that Brown played the final five weeks of the season with a dislocated shoulder.

"We didn't want to say much about it for obvious reasons," Holtz said. "He suffered a slight separation in the sixth game of the year. We think he will be much better by the Cotton Bowl" Jan. 1 when the Irish take on Texas A&M.