Rabalais: Amite’s Devonta Smith might be on the cusp of historic Heisman Prize win
The very first concern to Devonta Smith on Monday was naturally about the Heisman Trophy.
Naturally, being an Alabama football gamer, his response had to do with team goals. Like the supreme objective of winning the College Football Playoff nationwide champion next Monday versus Ohio State.
” Today, I’m not really worried about the Heisman Trophy,” Smith stated in a CFP video news conference. “I’m simply trying to come in with the team this weekend, simply look forward to getting on to the strategy for Ohio State.”
Smith has tried to deflect speak about college football’s supreme reward for weeks now, at least back to the moment when he leaped into his native Louisiana night sky and came down with an exceptional touchdown catch against LSU that truly took his candidacy to another level.
More on that later on. However amidst a sea of quarterbacks in what has become a quarterback-dominated award– 17 of the Heisman winners because 2000 have been quarterbacks, the other 3 running backs including 2 from Alabama– Smith has actually increased above the waves. He goes into Tuesday’s virtual event (6 p.m., ESPN) as the favorite to end up being the first real broad receiver to win considering that Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991, anticipated to turn back three other quarterback finalists consisting of Florida’s Kyle Trask, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and his own Alabama teammate, Mac Jones.
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DeVonta Smith leaped and extended his ideal arm for a football just he could capture. In the corner of completion zone at Tiger Stadium, the Alabam …
Ultimately, Smith is going to have to address the significance of winning the weighty 45-pound prize if he does catch it. But he doesn’t deal with the major moments up until they take place, like what was perhaps his Heisman moment against LSU.
It is an emphasize that is twice as galling for LSU fans, given that said minute came versus the Tigers which Smith originates from Amite. But however, it exists, the minute he rose over LSU All-American cornerback Derek Stingley to come down with a one-handed, Odell Beckham-lite capture in the back of Tiger Stadium’s south goal.
” To me one-hand catches aren’t something you practice, they simply happen,” he stated after Bama romped previous LSU 55-17. “When you attempt to do a one-handed catch on function, it never ever works out right.”
True to his nature, Smith was casual about the entire Heisman thing that night when he was asked if the play, as it did, rose him into trophy contention despite not being a quarterback.
” I’ll say probably because with quarterbacks there are more things to do, more stats you can add to it,” Smith stated. “If I remain in the Heisman race, I remain in it.”
Smith has been making the huge plays his whole Alabama career. He initially flashed onto the national college football scene as a freshman in the 2018 CFP Nationwide Champion Game in Atlanta, when he caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime.
Smith has enjoyed a fantastic senior season, with 1,641 lawns and 20 goals on 105 catches in 12 games, already tying Ja’Marr Chase’s Southeastern Conference goal getting record set in LSU’s 15-0 march to the 2019 CFP national title. Smith had eight catches for a season-high 231 yards and three touchdowns in Tiger Stadium.
But he preserves that isn’t the biggest thing on his mind these days, with a quiet genuineness that stumbles upon as entirely believable.
“I’m here to win a champion,” he said that night at LSU.
Smith’s frame of mind is most likely easier to come by since he got in the 2020 season not even considered as Alabama’s leading receiver. That distinction went to Jaylen Waddle, who was the one on the preseason All-American teams.
However Waddle fractured his ankle returning a kickoff Oct. 24 against Tennessee (as if Alabama needs another offensive weapon, he may return to practice Tuesday). That thrust Smith into the prominence, and the reticent star has made the many of it.
Could a Smith Heisman win alter the bypassing trajectory of the Heisman Trophy, far from quarterbacks like LSU’s 2019 winner Joe Burrow and back towards more multi-dimensional gamers like Howard and 1959 LSU Heisman winner Billy Cannon?
Maybe. Or maybe Lawrence will slip past Smith and be yet another quarterback Heisman winner given that Alabama has 3 candidates (Smith, Jones and running back Najee Harris) in the top 3, predestined to divide up a few of the votes in what is a greatly regional award.
But entering into the statement, Smith seems the right man in the ideal moment. Considering his design, a moment is all he will probably give the Heisman win prior to he returns to trying to trying to win that other trophy Monday night.