This is the first time a wide receiver has won the prestigious award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991, and Smith becomes just the fourth wide receiver to win the Heisman since its inception in 1935.
A college football season unlike any other also had an award ceremony unlike any other. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Smith accepted the award virtually from the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. The award is typically presented in December at a star-studded event in New York.
But a season that usually starts in August didn’t begin until late September.
The senior wideout has had a dominant season for the undefeated Tide, catching 105 passes for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“I kind of feel relieved just that it’s over with now (and) I can focus on this last game,” Smith said. “It feels great just to hear my name called.”
Smith is expected to star in Alabama’s upcoming national title game against the Ohio State Buckeyes set for January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The Heisman Trophy is presented to the player who is voted the nation’s most outstanding college football player. Three players from Alabama have won the award — Smith, running back Mark Ingram in 2009 and running back Derrick Henry in 2015.
“It’s a blessing. Those guys set a standard,” he said. “And I’m just excited that I got a chance to come here and try to play to that standard and set the standard for everybody else that is coming after.”
Smith won the award with 1,856 points. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who many commentators foresee as the first pick in the NFL draft, was second with 1,187 points. Lawrence missed two games after he contracted the coronavirus.
Smith’s teammate, quarterback Mac Jones, was third; Florida quarterback Kyle Trask was fourth; and Alabama running back Najee Harris was fifth.
Smith said being one of four wide receivers to win the award “means a lot to me.”