DeVonta Smith dominated Notre Dame during the College Football Playoff semifinal on Friday and made it even more clear that he should win this year's Heisman Trophy. The Alabama receiver is the best player in college football. Regardless of the numbers others could argue or the implicit bias against giving it to a receiver, Smith is the rightful winner.
The Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to "college football's most outstanding player" and there's little doubt that has been Smith in 2020. In 12 games so far this season, Smith has caught 105 passes for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has also returned nine punts for 219 yards and another touchdown. Those are monster numbers for a wide receiver as he was clearly the best player on the undefeated Crimson Tide.
The issue for Smith is the lack of representation for receivers at the Heisman ceremony. A wideout hasn't won the award since Desmond Howard in 1991 and only three have ever won it. Tim Brown won it in 1987 and Johnny Rodgers took it home in 1972, though it's worth noting he also played running back for Nebraska. Quarterbacks and running backs get all the love from Heisman voters.
Smith is a finalist for the award, alongside his quarterback Mac Jones, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask. Noticing a pattern? Quarterbacks get so much credit for making receivers better, but wideouts rarely get plaudits for making life easier on the guys throwing the passes. Smith has made Jones much better.
Jones had a great season in 2020, throwing for 4,042 yards, with 36 touchdowns and four interceptions. But without Smith his numbers wouldn't have looked nearly that good.
Lawrence will be the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and is the best quarterback prospect I've ever seen. But he missed two games and can't be put on the same level as the guys who completed their seasons.
Trask led the nation in passing yards (4,283) and after the bowl game finished with 43 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He had a huge year. But Florida wound up losing four games and he had an elite group of playmakers around him, including Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney.
None of those guys had the individual impact that Smith made on every play. He put up monster numbers while every defense was game planning to stop him. As he proved on Friday, it didn't matter. He was unstoppable all season and against Notre Damen he had seven receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns. And he made it look easy.
Smith has more than earned the Heisman Trophy and he should win it on January 5.