Why is DeVonta Smith the obvious choice for the Heisman Cup

There is no better season than 2020 – a pandemic season that has seen short and staggered timelines affecting the resumes of many of Heisman’s top players – to hand the trophy to a wide recipient. Alabama Star Devonta Smith It just wouldn’t be saying that.

After kicking off with seven receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns against Notre Dame at Rose Bowl Stadium, Smith remained focused on Ohio State and the National Championship game when asked about his plans for Heisman’s concert on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN / ESPN App).

“Come in and out,” Smith said, the ninth recipient to reach the Finals.

If Smith became the third large-scale receiver to take Heisman’s home – and the first since Desmond Howard in 1991 – he wouldn’t thank him for self-promotion.

“The Slim Reaper” was FBS’s most prolific broad receiver during the regular season. Even with the defenses you focus more on him afterward Jaylyn Waddle Smith suffered a right ankle injury against Tennessee on October 24, and Smith finished first in receptions (98) and claiming yards (1,511), and second in both multi-purpose arenas (1767) and receiving landings (17).

It is not over. With Alabama in Ohio playing a national championship on January 11 (8 p.m. ET on the ESPN / ESPN app), Smith could break the receptions record in one season in Alabama. Amary Cooper (228), one-season landing receptions record from SEC (he’s currently tied at 20 with Ja’Marr Chase) and a SEC record gaining yards Jordan Matthews (3,759). He could also become the first FBS player to score more than 20 relegation points in a single season since then Davant Adams He had 24 in 2013 for Fresno.

It’s all just according to the SEC schedule, plus the Rose Bowl and the National Championship, and without any of the Alabama softballs normally in the schedule.

With all votes cast by the December 21 deadline, neither the Rose Bowl nor Smith’s production nor the title game will contribute to his Heisman campaign. But he doesn’t need those games on his resume. He did what already Should To be a bulletproof case even in non-pandemic seasons, including broken plays on Twitter (traditionally known as The Heisman Moments) such as spectacular one-handed landing hunting against LSU on December 5 and 84 yards from kick back for landings against Arkansas on December 12.

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But despite how impressed Smith’s season is, his case is still pending as it won’t be considered a lockdown even in a regular year, even though the standards aren’t entirely fair.

The Heisman Trophy Award aims to honor the most outstanding player in the country, but has historically gone to midfielders and full backs. From 1973 to 1983, the full-back won only. From 1984 to 2000, the winners were roughly split with eight midfielders and six backs (plus Charles Woodson in 1997). In that period, Tim Brown (1987) and Howard (1991) became the only broad recipients to win the award (Johnny Rodgers, a multi-center player listed as a receiver, also won in 1972). Since 2001, signal callers have dominated: there were 16 players behind the back, three consecutive appearances and one clear in the receiver (Larry Fitzgerald In 2003).

The past winners largely reflect how the game was played in different eras – which is why wide receivers should now receive more attention from the award. Spread is the current default attack in the game, so more Heisman midfielders win and fewer fullbacks are considered.

But the wide recipient has yet to win the award in this new era. If the quarterback players are to benefit from Heisman Talk from the way soccer is played today, then passing monitors should benefit as well.

Receivers have a different precedent that you have to meet. In both cases before one of the recipients won, Brown and Howard relied on circumstances that went beyond being the nation’s best player in their position.

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“Unfortunately [today’s wide receivers]Pointing to himself, Brown said, “The first broad receiver to win at Heisman, he brought back the balls, the kicks, played in the background, did it all. Then Desmond came after me two years later doing the same thing.”

When Amary Cooper, one of the most recent wide receivers to reach the finals when he had 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014, was ready for Heisman, Brown knew he needed to show he could do more than just passes.

“I had a tough time on my affairs that year,” Brown said. “I was dealing with him in a positive way because I knew this kid was going to be amazing, and I also knew that he would have a good year. I knew that if he was no longer there [returning punts]Then it was hard for him to win at Heisman. “

And it’s not just about doing everything. Howard also noted that the recipients “have to deal with the fact that the midfielders are in fact the primary source of conversation,” and said he believed some would bear the fact that Smith was Toa Tagophilowa And the Mac Jones In the quarterback against him.

“Some people might know Elvis [Grbac] Because you know, he had a famous name because of Elvis Presley, you know what I’m saying? But no one ever confused Elvis as the candidate of Heisman, “Howard said of the midfielder who got passes from him during Heisman’s year.” Like, “Oh man, this guy is in Michigan, he’s throwing the ball all over the field.” No, that’s a big difference when you’re dealing with DeVonta Smith. “

Brown said he also doesn’t have to worry about being overshadowed by the Notre Dame midfielder.

“When Lou Holtz got there because of my middle position in my final year, we had to go for my wishbone because, you know, Tony Rice couldn’t get to the wide side of the barn if I took him six feet away.” He said.

But even bearing in mind that the midfielder is a strong candidate for Heisman, it is clear that Smith should win the award.

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His play speaks for itself. Former Florida and South Carolina coach Steve Spurier can only buy shares in Smith, who broke records for Chris Döring and Amary Cooper on the SEC for receiving a downturn in his career.

“Devonta, my God, I still remember when he was a real freshman when he fell to the ground to defeat Georgia for the national championship,” Spurier said. “Nobody knows who it is, it just flew off the sidelines and it’s clear Georgia was in poor coverage. Kind of a cover 2 on that side – which is not logical – but that’s what they were doing.”

“And then we got to know who he was, and then he went kind of quietly a few more years, and then this year of course he’s out there as one of the best broad recipients ever in college football.”

But people go with what they know, and midfielders and midfielders have long dominated Heisman’s conversation. Brown acknowledged that familiarity affects how previous winners and the media vote.

“It’s really in the voter’s eyes,” Brown said. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with Eddie George, and what he’s looking for – he’s looking for Eddie George. He’s looking for big bruises to dominate the game, and you want to take the team and put the team in his position. Back and take control … I know in past years, he’s been out.” We talked about that kind of thing and we all see it from the way we won the cup. “

However, the award really means one thing.

“I’m evaluating the guys for what I’ve seen this year,” Brown said. “As you know, the cup says” to the best player “so this is what I’m trying to keep up with: Who was the most outstanding player this year.”

And in the most bizarre season in college football, Smith was the most prominent player with stats and style points that must be recognized as worthy of Heisman even in a non-epidemic year.

This year, history must be set aside. This wide receiver deserves a trophy.

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