DeVonta Smith Breaks 30-year Drought

For three decades, the Heisman Trophy Award has been given to quarterbacks and running backs. The 22-year-old wide receiver surprises everyone by showing that he deserves to win the trophy.

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Madeline Monroe

Alabama Crimson Tide junior wide receiver DeVonta Smith was awarded the 82nd Heisman Trophy on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Smith was the first wide receiver to win the trophy since 1991.

Since its creation by the Downtown New York Athletic Club in 1935, the Heisman Trophy Award has only been given to four wide receivers. For the last 30 years, a wide receiver has not had the honor to be awarded the trophy until DeVonta Smith, a senior wide receiver at the University of Alabama received the trophy this year. 

 

“It is great to see a position other than quarterback or running back win the award,” varsity offensive football coach Mitchell Munda said. 

 

During Smith’s freshman year of college, he made himself known at Alabama by helping them win the 2017 championship against Georgia when he caught the winning 41-yard touchdown pass. After freshman year, Smith was overlooked by the other wide receivers at Alabama, Jerry Jueary and Henry Ruggs. Both wide receivers decided to skip their senior year and enter the National Football League draft early. Smith went back his senior year to finish his degree, during which Jaylen Waddle, Alabama’s number one wide receiver, went out with a leg injury. This allowed Smith to showcase his skills. Smith was very successful this season and helped lead Alabama to many victories. 

 

The 2020 season was shorter than normal due to COVID-19, making this season harder to be on the radar of the Downtown Athletic Club of New York. Smith was not on most people’s top list for winning the Heisman trophy award. 

 

I think it’s interesting that he won,” junior Sean Wagner said. “I thought Trevor Lawrence was going to win it but it’s still good for him.”

 

Standing at six foot one and 175 pounds, Smith has had to work throughout his football career. Making an appearance freshman year, then fading to the background again, he knew that when the chance presented itself he needed to prove himself on the field. 

 

During Smith’s acceptance speech, he encouraged young kids to keep pushing even if they are not the biggest or strongest. Smith stated that he has been doubted numerous times because of his size but he believes that if an athlete puts their mind to it, they can do it. Only time will tell if Smith’s hard work and accomplishments will translate to success in the NFL.