On Tuesday night, amid a global pandemic that sacked college football every week, and during a historic election night in Georgia that will have a long-lasting impact on America, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy during a very lowkey and virtual ceremony.
Smith became the first receiver to win the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard did it in 1991, seven years before Smith was born.
“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,” said the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Smith. “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.”
To date, Smith has caught 105 passes for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns this season and is an automatic first down as he averages 15.6 yards per catch. As the trophy says, he was “the most outstanding player in college football” this season. But as we know, that’s not usually how the Heisman works as it’s turned into a quarterback award — 20 of them have won it since Howard’s win in 1991.
But since that December night almost 30 years ago, Heisman voters have treated wide receivers like unwanted step-children. They’ve either been passed over for the award or were far too low on the final ballots.
Take a look at how some of the Fred Biletnikoff award winners for the most outstanding wide receiver in college football have fared in Heisman voting over the years: