Alabama football's DeVonta Smith first receiver in nearly 30 years to win Heisman Trophy

Cecil Hurt
The Tuscaloosa News
View Comments

The Slim Reaper harvested college football’s biggest individual prize Tuesday night.

DeVonta Smith, who shattered receiving records all season long, was awarded the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. He is Alabama’s third Heisman Trophy winner, joining running backs Mark Ingram Jr. (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015). 

CECIL HURT:DeVonta Smith’s Heisman Trophy win good for Alabama and for college football

Smith received 1,856 points with 447 first-place votes from the voting (which includes 870 media members, 56 living past winners and one vote from a collective fan poll, with points awarded for first-, second- and third-place votes from each voter), nearly 700 more than runner-up Trevor Lawrence of Clemson (1,187 points, 222 first-place votes).

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (1,130 points, 138 first-place votes) finished third, with Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (737 points, 61 first-place votes) fourth and Alabama running back Najee Harris fifth (216 points, 16 first-place votes).

Smith’s victory ended a trend that had seen the last four Heisman Trophies, and nine of the last 10, go to quarterbacks. 

[ Commemorate Alabama football's run to the College Football Playoff with our new book ]

The senior from Amite, Louisiana, caught the game-winning pass from Tua Tagovailoa as a freshman in Alabama’s 26-20 overtime victory over Georgia in the 2017 College Football Playoff championship game.

This year was by far Smith’s best statistical season as he has caught 105 passes for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns with one game remaining, the CFP championship game against Ohio State on Monday night.

After the ceremony, Smith gave a "heartfelt" acceptance speech. 

"First off, I would like to thank God,” he said. “Without him, none of this would be possible. I congratulate all the finalists. Just to be in this situation with you guys, y'all are great athletes, and just to be a part of something like this is truly a blessing.

"I want to thank my family, my mom, my dad, just everything that y'all taught me to mold me into the young man I am today. I want to thank my mentor, Vincent Sanders. Without you I wouldn't be where I am today, just from the rise to taking me places that I want to visit, just to doing things and just helping me get to where I am. ...

“And just 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 you put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big. If you put your mind to it, you can do it, and just keep believing in God, and you'll get where you want to be."

Asked in a post-ceremony Zoom call about his reaction upon hearing his name called, Smith said, “I don't even know. My mind just blanked out.”

In a photo provided by the Heisman Trophy Trust, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith poses for a photo after winning the Heisman Trophy, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Kent Gidley/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP)

In December, Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year award.

More:How the sports world on Twitter reacted to DeVonta Smith winning the Heisman Trophy

“Smitty has done as much for our team as any player could do for any team,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said following Alabama’s win over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinal, in which Smith scored three touchdowns. 

“He’s probably done as much this year for our team as any player that we’ve ever had. He’s a great leader on the team. It’s not fair to compare him to somebody else that you didn’t even see, but I don’t think there’s many players in the country that have done more for their team than Smitty does for our team.”

Reach Cecil Hurt at or via Twitter @cecilhurt

View Comments