Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith’s journey to winning college football’s most prestigious award on Tuesday night was an abnormal one. In just over three months, the Amite, Louisiana, native went from being a nonfactor in the Heisman Trophy conversation to becoming the first wideout to win the award since Desmond Howard in 1991.
Smith started his speech by giving thanks to God.
“First off, I would like to thank God,” he said. “Without Him, none of this would be possible.”
He then congratulated the other three finalists – Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask – before going on to thank his family, mentors, coaches and teammates.
“Just to be in this situation with you guys, y’all are great athletes, and just to be a part of something like this is truly a blessing,” Smith said.
Through 12 games this season, Smith has caught 105 passes for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns, all of which lead the nation. Three of those touchdowns came in the Rose Bowl, where he finished with seven receptions and 130 yards to help the Crimson Tide advance to the national championship game for the fifth time in six years.
Smith is the third wide receiver and third Alabama player to take home the Heisman Trophy. On Dec. 29, he became the first receiver ever to be named the AP Player of the Year.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 6, 2021
Near the end of his speech, Smith offered encouragement to the kids hoping to be in his position one day.
“To all the young kids out there that’s not the biggest, not the strongest, just keep pushing,” he said. “I’m not the biggest, I’ve been doubted a lot just because of my size. And really, it just comes down to, if 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.”
His mother, Christina Smith-Sylve, also pointed to God when asked during the remote ceremony what she wanted to say to her son.
“Continue being humble, let God guide him, and we are here to support him every step of the way,” she said.
Smith’s decorated college career will come to an end on Jan. 11 when Alabama faces Ohio State in the national championship game. It was his touchdown in overtime against conference foe Georgia as a freshman that gave the Crimson Tide their last national title three seasons ago.
If Smith catches at least six passes and records at least 87 receiving yards, he will hold program career records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, the single-season mark for receiving yards and leave Tuscaloosa as the leading receiver in SEC history.
Kickoff from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET Jan. 11 on ESPN.
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