DeVonta Smith Favored to Become Only Fourth Wide Receiver to Win Heisman

Brian Giuffra
DeVonta Smith.
DeVonta Smith. / Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Alabama quarterback Mac Jones has been the favorite to win the Heisman the last few weeks. He did nothing to dispel that narrative in the SEC Championship, throwing for 5 touchdowns and 418 yards as the Crimson Tide finished off an undefeated regular season with a 52-46 win over Florida.

In a surprising twist, Jones is no longer the favorite to win the Heisman despite that performance. Instead, his teammate, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, has taken the lead in the odds on all major books I reviewed. It's not a massive lead (-170 to +170 on one, -200 to +150 on another), but it's clear the books like his chances as he's the outright favorite for the first time this year.

Smith played a pivotal role in Alabama's win over Florida, hauling in what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 4:59 remaining in the game. He finished with 15 catches for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the season, Smith leads college football with 1,327 receiving yards and is second with 83 receptions and 15 touchdowns. He's also scored touchdowns as a rusher and punt returner, which has proven important to the other wide receivers who won the award.

Only three wide receivers have ever won the Heisman -- Desmond Howard, Tim Brown, and Johny Rodgers -- and Howard was the most recent in 1991. Howard's Heisman moment came on a punt return touchdown against Ohio State and he also ran in 2 TDs. Brown only had 846 yards receiving and 3 TDs when he won because of his returning prowess and Rodgers starred on the ground with 10 rushing touchdowns his Heisman year. Meanwhile, a quarterback has won the Heisman four straight seasons and nine-of-10 overall.

Jones has thrown for 3,321 yards and 27 touchdowns against only 3 interceptions this year. Unlike all four of the latest quarterbacks to win the Heisman (Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson), Jones is not a mobile quarterback. He has rushed for -1 yards on 23 carries and 1 touchdown this year. If there was a knock on his campaign, that would be it.

It seems nearly guaranteed that an Alabama player will win the Heisman this year and the odds favor Smith. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is third, but his odds (+1000) reflect the long-shot chances he has to take home the hardware he was favored to win in the preseason.

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