The Heisman Trophy is supposedly given annually to the best player in CFB.
In this unprecedented 2020 football season, there hasn’t been a better or more vital player in CFB than Alabama’s senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
Smith, who was just named 2020 SEC MVP, leads by example and work ethic, and as legendary Crimson Tide HC Nick Saban stated after the LSU game, he can’t recall a player meaning and doing more for the standard program in CFB during his tenure (2007-Present).
Highest-graded P5 WR seasons since 2014:
1. DeVonta Smith ('20) – 94.2
2. Josh Doctson ('15) – 92.9
3. Amari Cooper ('14) – 92.8
4. Tyler Lockett ('14) – 92.7 pic.twitter.com/dbKja6TkSo
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 17, 2020
While the requirements for the award are clear, most of the time it’s a popularity contest between quarterbacks who often aren’t really deserving of the award.
In the history of the award, there have been only two wide receivers who’ve won the award (Tim Brown Notre Dame) in 1987 and (Desmond Howard Michigan) in 1991.
Former Michigan cornerback/wide receiver Charles Woodson was the last skilled position player who wasn’t a quarterback or running back to win it in 1997.
As this season began, the award was said to be Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s to lose. But in 2020 nothing has gone as predicted with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the world and especially in the United States.
That has caused many college football games to be canceled or postponed and players have had to miss games after testing positive for the virus.
Lawrence was one of those players as he missed two games for the Tigers with one being their only regular-season loss, a 47-40 double-overtime loss to a Top 5-ranked Notre Dame.
Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields was a lock to join Lawrence in NYC for the award and his play has been good enough for sure leading the Buckeyes to a (5-0) record and the Big Ten title game.
But Fields has only suited up for five games because the Big Ten didn’t kick off until October. The conference lost games to the pandemic and initial decision to shut down the season altogether. This left the conference no wiggle room for possible postponements or cancellations.
After Fields, the field is a pick’em of sorts with Alabama quarterback Mac Jones rising and leading the top-ranked Tide to a (10-0) record becoming the first team in SEC history to win 10 conference games in a season.
At this moment many believe Jones is the leading candidate. Then you have Florida quarterback Kyle Trask who’s led the Gators to an (8-2) record while tossing 40 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. But he wasn’t the best player on the field in his team’s two losses against fifth-ranked Texas A&M and 3-5 LSU.
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was in the race until his team lost at Coastal Carolina (22-17) in a matchup of surprising undefeated programs this season. Finally, you have Ian Book the signal-caller at Notre Dame who’s been really good but they’re built on the run game first in South Bend.
Last but not least you have Alabama do-it-all wide receiver DeVonta Smith who’s remembered for his catch as a true freshman in the 2018 National Championship game to win it all on second and 26 in OT.
He had 8 total catches that season and two were game-winners. His quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins) at the time of the throw said Smith had the best hands on the team.
Best Of Bamas Royal Receivers
Smith’s playing time was limited as a member of a receiving core that featured current NFL first-round selections in Calvin Ridley (Falcons), Jerry Jeudy (Broncos) and Henry Ruggs (Raiders).
Of the four, he was the lone 4-star recruit. His stock was considered lower because he didn’t possess 4.3-4.4 speed and the other three did. But what he did possess was a work ethic, leadership abilities and unrivaled durability.
In his sophomore season, we saw flashes of his brilliance but he was always the third option behind Jeudy and Ruggs. Another thing that became more noticeable was the trust Tua had in him to win on jump balls and contested catches as he finished with 42 catches for 693 yards and 6 touchdowns.
His huge jump happened from his sophomore to junior seasons where he became just about unguardable and torched defenses for 68 grabs for 1256 yards and 14 touchdowns including a school and conference record 5 touchdown receptions versus Ole Miss.
His real breakout game came in a 46-41 loss to LSU which many have dubbed the “Game Of The Century”
Even in defeat, Smith showed out against freshman All-American cornerback Derek Stingley JR) to the tune of 7 grabs for 213 yards, including a career-long 81-yarder to keep the Tide in striking distance.
With Jeudy and Ruggs declaring early for the NFL Draft, Smith decided to return for his senior season. A surprise to many, he stated there were some things he wanted to get better at and he felt he needed to return to do that. He also wanted the opportunity to really show what he could do as the unquestioned leader of the receiving corps.
All he’s done is pump out 83 receptions for 1327 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. He’s done his best work in the biggest games of the season. He went for 11 catches for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns against Georgia which was ranked third at the time.
He followed that up against Mississippi State with a gem (11 receptions for 203 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns).
He even returned a punt for an 84-yard touchdown in the dismantling of Arkansas in last week’s season finale.
Those are strong numbers
It’s time to stop always going with the norm and giving this award to a QB or RB when there are clearly other guys who are more deserving but may not have had the pigskin in his possession as often.