Alabama WR DeVonta Smith was chosen as the winner of the 2020 Heisman Trophy, the award presented to the most valuable player for all of Division I college football. The Heisman Trophy is the top individual award in college football and has been presented annually since the award's inception in 1935. Smith's victory was historic in a number of ways, so let's take a look at his story.
DeVonta Smith's Heisman Trophy journey
DeVonta Smith was just one member of a stacked Alabama Crimson Tide offense, which makes his ability to stand out even more impressive. Bama was loaded in the backfield and the receiver room, with what could go down in history as the best individual team that the program has ever put on the field.
The Tide featured an offense composed of several All-Americans and multiple Heisman Trophy candidates, yet Smith was the brightest spot in a considerably star-studded lineup, leading the Crimson Tide to yet another College Football Playoff Championship through his consistently stellar gameplay.
With Smith's selection by the Heisman Committe, he became just the fourth wide receiver to win the award in it's long history, and the first since Michigan's Desmond Howard who won the award in 1991.
For perspective, look at some of the mega-talented receivers who have played the game in that timespan but never won the award. Players like Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, and Stefon Diggs all spent varying amounts of time playing Division I football, but none of their performances equaled what Smith was able to do this season.
Some of Smith's standout performances came at the most crucial junctures of the season, scoring 5 touchdowns over the course of the final two games before Heisman votes were tallied, with 3 in the SEC Championship victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, and 2 in a victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish when the teams clashed in the first round of the College Football Playoff, all but ensuring his Heisman status.
The Heisman Trophy was awarded before the CFP Championship, allowing Smith to enter the contest with the confidence and swagger of a winner, and it showed. He got open for 3 touchdowns in the first half before leaving with an injury. Smith stated that the injury was minor, and although he was held out of the second half of the game, he was still voted as the MVP of the game, capping off his college career with more well-deserved accolades.
Smith finished the season with 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns, to go along with a rushing touchdown and an 84 yard punt return touchdown, showcasing his ability to create a spark from anywhere on the field.
Despite all of the fanfare around him, Smith remains humble and focused on producing on the field, and inspiring children off of it. Thin-built and physically unimposing, DeVonta Smith made sure that his Heisman acceptance speech included a call for all the youth of the world to follow their dreams and believe in themselves, even if someone tells them that they're undersized. Between his on-field talents and off-field maturity, there was no better choice for the 2020 Heisman Trophy than DeVonta Smith.Published 14 Jan 2021, 16:48 IST