The 2020 Heisman ceremony is tonight at 8:00 PM, to name the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner. Annually awarded to the best player in college football, the Heisman Trophy signifies a level of excellence greater than one’s counterparts. Tonight, it will be revealed who reached that level of excellence among the four 2020 finalists: Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask. Who won the Heisman Trophy in 2020?
Who won the Heisman Trophy in 2020?
The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner was revealed to be Alabama WR DeVonta Smith. Smith was the favorite heading into the ceremony, and now, he becomes the first wide receiver to win the award since Desmond Howard won it in 1991. Before that, the award was also won by NFL Hall of Famer Tim Brown. A gap until 1972 followed that. Thus, Smith becomes just the third receiver to win the Heisman in the past half-century.
Of the football players in contention this year, Smith was noticeably deserving. In the 12 games before the ceremony, the senior receiver caught 105 passes for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. Smith was the engine that made the Alabama passing offense hum. He helped the Crimson Tide withstand the loss of dynamic receiver Jaylen Waddle, and he consistently produced at a level superior to his counterparts.
Standing at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Smith isn’t necessarily what you think of what you picture a Heisman winner. He certainly doesn’t compare to the most recent Alabama Heisman winner, running back Derrick Henry. But Smith wins with attention to detail, toughness, and a relentless consistency that defensive backs have been unable to match.
The Heisman runner-ups
While Smith was the one to win the Heisman, the runner-ups all put together very good seasons as well.
Alabama QB Mac Jones, from whom Smith caught passes, won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as consolation. In the twelve games played thus far, he threw for 275 completions, 4,036 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, and just four interceptions while completing 77% of his passes. He also out-dueled fellow finalist Kyle Trask in the SEC conference championship. In the CFB Semifinal against Notre Dame, he completed 25 of 30 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns.
The other Heisman finalists, Trevor Lawrence and Trask, produced at a comparable rate to Jones. Lawrence, in his final collegiate season before his likely selection as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, threw for 231 completions, 3,153 yards, 24 touchdowns, and five interceptions on 69.2% completion. He also added eight scores on the ground.
Trask, meanwhile, mounted a campaign that broke Florida Gators records. He completed 301 of 437 passes for 4,283 yards, 43 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
Past Heisman Trophy winners
The award being won by a wide receiver is a welcome change. All but three of the Heisman Trophy winners since the turn of the century have been quarterbacks, and one non-quarterback — Reggie Bush — had his trophy vacated years later.
Last year, the award was given to LSU quarterback and future No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, after he broke NCAA records across the board with his incredible 2019 season. Burrow led the LSU Tigers to the national championship. In the process, he threw for 402 completions, 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns, and just six interceptions while completing 76.3% of his passes. Before Burrow, the past five Heisman winners were Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Derrick Henry, and Marcus Mariota.
Murray and Mayfield both went No. 1 overall along with Burrow, but only Burrow won the National Championship at the CFB level. DeVonta Smith will aim to carry on that trend with the help of Mac Jones in the CFB National Championship game against Justin Fields and the Ohio State Buckeyes. That game will be played on Monday, January 11. No matter what happens, however, Smith has achieved a select level of greatness and is the latest to enter the exclusive annals of Heisman history.
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