The votes have been counted and the identity of the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner is known.
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith has become the first in his position to land the trophy for 29 years.
Smith beat out Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence into second, with Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in third and Florida’s quarterback Kyle Trask, the early season favourite to win the trophy, in fourth.
Stunning Campaign for Smith with Crimson Tide
The news, which saw Smith break the trend of quarterbacks winning the award for 27 of the past 28 years (including every year since 1998), was not unexpected. Smith’s performances for the Crimson Tide have been a huge part of their success as his statistics show.
Over the course of the season, he had 1641 receiving yards, 20 receiving touchdowns and averaged 15.6 yards for each of his 105 receptions. He also added two further touchdowns to that total, one from rushing and the other from a punt return.
Yet at the start of the College football season, Smith was not seen as Alabama’s top wideout threat with Nick Saban seemingly preferring Jaylen Waddle, until an injury to Waddle pushed Smith to the forefront.
Along with Quarterback Mac Jones who finished third in the voting and Running Back Najee Harris, who finished fifth, Smith will have chance to show his quality in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game next Monday when they face the 7-0 Ohio State Buckeyes at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
NFL Stud or Dud?
Just because you picked up the most prestigious individual award in College Football, doesn’tmean that you will go on to be a stud in the NFL. Over the years, there have been a number of notable recent Heisman Trophy winners who have not gone on to perform well in the NFL.
Of course, there are also those that are now or have recently been stars for their respective teams.
Heisman Trophy Winners – NFL Studs
Derrick Henry (2015) – Tennessee Titans
The Titans running back has become just the 8th player to rush for 2000 yards in an NFL season and over the last two years in particular has become the most dominant running back in the NFL. An absolute monster who is the focal point of an explosive Tennessee Titans offense under Arthur Smith.
Lamar Jackson (2016) – Baltimore Ravens
The current MVP of the NFL from last season, the Ravens have picked up a stud at quarterback in the 2016 draft and he will be absolutely crucial when he faces the Titans in the Ravens Wildcard game at the weekend. Jackson’s running pace combined with his unorthodox throwing make him a genuine dual threat and a nightmare for a defense to stop.
Kyler Murray (2018) – Arizona Cardinals
Another dual threat running back like Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray has been a star for the Arizona Cardinals this season. Had he not got injured in their final game against the Rams, missing most of the game until the fourth quarter and then severely hampered when he came in, the Cardinals may well be in the playoffs instead of the Bears.
Heisman Trophy Winners – NFL Duds
Marcus Mariota (2014) – Las Vegas Raiders
After starring at Oregon, Mariota spent four years in Tennessee where his performances were somewhat inconsistent at a time when his team was struggling. After the Titans moved onto Ryan Tannehill at quarterback Mariota moved to the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020 where he has been an able back up for Derek Carr.
Jameis Winston (2013) – New Orleans Saints
After five years in Tampa Bay, Winston never really fulfilled his potential, with interceptions and turnovers being one of the main issues with his play. With Tampa going with Tom Brady for this season, Winston signed a one-year deal with the Saints to back up Drew Brees but when Brees was injured this season found he was also behind Taysom Hill for that starter role.
Johnny Manziel (2012) – Fan Controlled Football (Team Unknown)
Manziel was supposed to be the Cleveland Browns savour when he was drafted in 2014, however after two unspectacular seasons, and a number of off-the-field issues, he drifted into the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and has now signed to play in Fan Controlled Football in 2021 for an as yet unknown team.
Robert Griffin III (2011) – Baltimore Ravens
After a good rookie season with Washington, Griffin III never really lived up to his potential in the NFL, falling out of favour at Washington after a number of injuries and below par performances. He was snapped up by the Cleveland Browns for the 2016 season, but injury and a lack of form saw him released a year later. He has since been a backup to Joe Flacco and then Lamar Jackson in Baltimore.
Heisman Trophy Winners – The Jury is Still Out – Kinda
Joe Burrow (2019) – Cincinnati Bengals
Burrow is very likely to become a stud for the Bengals and it was only the fact that he has been injured from week 11 of the season that he isn’t on that list. He has made a hugely promising start to his NFL career and it looks extremely likely that Burrows will add his name alongside Jackson and Murray as an NFL stud sooner rather than later.
Baker Mayfield (2017) – Cleveland Browns
The first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield became the latest Browns pick to try and save the franchise and after a solid first two seasons, he has played a key role in leading the Browns into the playoffs this season. A high number of fumbles (17 in his career so far) and interceptions (43) mean he isn’t quite a stud just yet, but another season like the last and he will be recognised as such.
It is going to be interesting to see where DeVonta Smith goes in the NFL Draft, a high pick is almost a certainty and top five is not out of the question. However, wherever he goes, he will have to prove himself all over again.