Alabama’s DeVonta Smith is First WR Since 1991 to Win Heisman Trophy

Devonta Smith Alabama Crimson Tide Background With Heisman Trophy

  • DeVonta Smith was named as the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner on Tuesday.
  • Smith led the nation in catches (105), receiving yards (1,641), and receiving touchdowns (20).
  • He is the first wide receiver to win the award since Desmond Howard in 1991.

Alabama’s DeVonta Smith was named as the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner on Tuesday. The senior wide receiver received a total of 447 first place votes and garnered a total of 1,856 points, edging Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence who finished with 222 first place votes and 1,187 points.

Smith beat out three fellow Heisman finalists- all quarterbacks to win College Football’s top individual award. In doing so, he becomes the first wide receiver to win the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991 and just the fourth ever in his position to win the trophy that has been held hostage by quarterbacks and running backs for the most part of the last three decades.

In the last 28 years, the Heisman Trophy has been awarded to a quarterback or running back, with the exception of Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997. Smith’s win also breaks a streak of four consecutive seasons where the Heisman Trophy winner was a quarterback.

Smith’s Odds Journey

Smith was a longshot +10000 to win the Heisman Trophy in the preseason odds as he did not open the season as the Crimson Tide’s top wide receiver. But after Jaylen Waddle got hurt, more load was put on his shoulder. After Alabama’s 63-48 win over Ole Miss, Smith shot up to +5000 in the oddsboard. Smith rose to +2500 after Week 8. By November, Smith’s odds shortened to +2200 as he held the shortest odds of any non-quarterback. Smith dropped to +6600 after the Crimson Tide’s game against LSU was cancelled.

The Alabama wide receiver became the only non-quarterback in the December 6 odds as he jumped to +2200 after catching eight passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns in their win over LSU. Ahead of the SEC title game, Smith and his quarterback Mac Jones leaped over Kyle Trask in the odds board. But after hauling 15 passes for 184 yards in the conference championship game, Smith finally took the driver’s seat.

When the Heisman Trophy selection committee revealed its four finalists on Christmas Eve, Smith had emerged as a solid -200 betting favorite with Jones coming in at +200 and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence listed at +450. His odds narrowed further to -305 at the end of 2020 after he was named as the AP Player of the Year. By Monday, his odds stood at -560 at DraftKings or an implied probability of 84.85% which all but sealed the deal.

Historical Stats

With a statistically historical season, there was no doubt that DeVonta Smith deserved the Heisman Trophy. Heading to Monday’s College Football Playoff title game against Ohio State where the Crimson Tide are nine-point betting favorites at, Smith has logged in a total of 105 catches for 1,641 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns. He is the NCAA league leader in those three statistical categories.

Smith is the first player in Alabama history to catch 20 touchdowns in a single season. He is also 87 yards away from breaking Amari Cooper’s school record of 1,727 receiving yards in a single season and if he were to break it, he would do so in one less game than Cooper. The 22-year old wideout also has a total of 8 100+ receiving yard games this season, the most in Alabama history.

He averaged 15.6 yards per catch as a receiver and 24.3 yards on nine punt returns. Smith also scored one touchdown as a rusher and another one as a punt returner. He has amassed a total of 3,750 receiving yards through the air and has caught 43 TD passes in his collegiate career, averaging 16.8 yards per reception. Now he is the third Heisman winner from Alabama, after Mark Ingram in 2009 and Derrick Henry in 2015.

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