DeVonta Smith had a killer season playing as wide receiver for Alabama’s Crimson Tide, so much so that he has been rewarded with this year’s Heisman Trophy. Up against fellow teammate Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, and Florida’s Kyle Trask – all phenomenal players who had amazing seasons even though they had to endure playing a season in the middle of a global pandemic – Smith’s win of the trophy was thought to be a relatively unanimous, and unexpected, decision.
Smith received a total of 1,856 points, giving him a comfortable lead over Lawrence, who won second place with 1,187 points; Jones received 1,130 points and Trask 737. After Smith was announced the winner he spoke with some press to thank his teammates and praise them for helping him have such a successful season. He also wanted to offer some inspiration for any young football fans who may be watching at home:
“To all the young kids out there that’s not the biggest, not the strongest: just keep pushing because I’m not the biggest. I’ve been doubted a lot just because of my size. And really it just comes down to if you put your mind to it then you can do it.”
Smith’s win is actually quite unexpected in the realm of college football. Before this season Smith was always a good player, but never one that really stood out when compared to his fellow teammates. The last time he made college football headlines was his freshman year when he caught a pass from Tua Tagovailoa during overtime, securing Alabama with a national title win against Georgia for the 2017 season.
Even at the beginning of his senior year season, Smith was initially overshadowed by teammates Jones, running back Najee Harris and fellow receiver Jaylen Waddle. However, when Waddle was injured back in October during a game, Smith had to take on the role of being the go-to receiver for his team. Within the three games that followed Waddle’s injury Smith caught 27 passes for 518 yards and eight touchdowns.
However it was the way that Smith carried this success streak into the end of the season that secured him with the Heisman Trophy. In the game against LSU Smith carried out 231 yards and three touchdowns, and when he gave his team two touchdowns in the SEC title game against Florida, securing their unbeaten streak, voters knew that Smith was the one who should receive the trophy this year.
In total, Smith had 1,511 receiving yards by the end of the season and 17 touchdown catches in the regular season. He’s only the seventh player in history to receive the award without primarily playing the season as the quarterback or running back; he’s the first receiver this century to receive the trophy as well.
Overall, Smith played an amazing season as Alabama’s wide receiver, but he remained humble when accepting the trophy and praised his teammates for remaining so strong within his four years at Alabama: “I thank my teammates, with team success comes individual success so without you all, I wouldn’t be where I am today, winning this award.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.