Alabama’s DeVonta Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in nearly 30 years on Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide senior’s Heisman speech included encouraging words for players who are small in stature.
“To all the young kids out there who are not the biggest, not the strongest, just keep pushing because I’m not the biggest,” said Smith, who Alabama lists at just 175 pounds. “I’ve been doubted a lot because of my size. Really it comes down to, if you put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big.”
Other finalists included Smith’s teammate, QB Mac Jones, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and Florida QB Kyle Trask. Smith won the award with relative ease, garnering 1,856 points and 447 first-place votes; Lawrence finished second with 1,187 points and 222 first-place votes. Jones had 1,130 and 138, while Trask garnered 737 and 61.
The previous Heisman winner at Smith’s position was Michigan’s Desmond Howard, in 1991.
Along with breaking a lengthy Heisman drought at his position, Smith’s Heisman award also served to dispel the notion that two Heisman candidates on the same college team harm one another’s chances by splitting votes. Jones was considered a favorite for the award at one point during the season, but a late surge from Smith powered his candidacy. He caught 11 TD passes over a four-game stretch beginning Halloween night against Mississippi State. Smith’s surge in production came when Alabama needed it most, following an injury to star WR Jaylen Waddle, who was lost for the regular season in UA’s game against Tennessee.
In his last game before the Dec. 21 Heisman voting deadline, Smith torched Florida in the SEC Championship Game for 15 catches, 184 yards and a pair of scores.
Smith is considered among the nation’s top wide receiver prospects. NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has likened Smith to former Indianapolis Colts star WR Marvin Harrison. He enters Monday’s College Football Playoff title game against Ohio State with 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdown catches. He needs 87 receiving yards to break Amari Cooper’s single-season school record of 1,727, and would do so in one less game (13) than Cooper played in his record-breaking 2014.
Smith also averaged 24.3 yards on nine punt returns.
Smith becomes Alabama’s third Heisman winner, joining running backs Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry, who won the award in 2009 and 2015, respectively.
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