The small but mighty DeVonta Smith

Pictured above is the Heisman Trophy of 1966, which was awarded to Steve Spurrier. As the most prestigious award given to college football players, it holds a certain amount of fame and awe in itself.

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Pictured above is the Heisman Trophy of 1966, which was awarded to Steve Spurrier. As the most prestigious award given to college football players, it holds a certain amount of fame and awe in itself.

The 82nd Heisman Trophy was awarded to DeVonta Smith of Alabama, via screen, just this past Tuesday. 

The Heisman Trophy represents the best football player who colleges across the nation have to offer. Usually, the award ends up going to quarterbacks, as their stats are more diversified and their roles in the team are so influential to success. In fact, Smith was the first wide receiver to receive the award since 1991.  

Over his football career, Smith has been blindsided by roadblocks. Not only does he stand at just over 6 feet, but he weighs in at 175 pounds. If his nickname of “Slim Reaper” is any more indication, DeVonta Smith knew early on that he would be unable to rely on sheer mass to make it big in his career. 

During the years he spent clustered in small-town Louisiana, Smith grew from a skinny and lanky teenager into a developed receiver. With reliable catching and sleek play execution, he was able to make a name for himself despite his slight build. 

Back in the 2018 College Football Championship, Smith found his first piece of fame when he caught the game-winning pass, that is now nicknamed “2nd-and-26.” He was just a freshman at the time, but unlike many athletes, he did not stray from his purpose when thrust into the spotlight. During an interview with ESPN a few months after, Smith put the press coverage on the play to bed. “I don’t too much care about that catch no more. It’s a new year. We’re moving on.” What he didn’t know was that his Sophomore season would be severely impacted by injuries and the talent of his fellow teammates. 

Smith entered the shortened 2020 season not even on the Heisman board’s radar. However, when his teammate Jaelyn Waddle was benched for injuries regarding his ankle, Smith was once again thrust into a primary receiving role. 

Just a few weeks after Waddle’s injury, Nick Saban, Alabama’s head coach, told the press that Smith “does everything exactly right.” Mac Jones, Smith’s quarterback and fellow Heisman prospect, described him in an ESPN interview as “the most electric player in college football,” and Smith has the stats to back it up. 

Not only has he only dropped two passes all season, but he leads the FBS in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Also, he set an SEC conference record for most career touchdowns and an Alabama record of career receiving yards.

I’ve been doubted a lot just because of my size. Really, it just comes down to you–you put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big.”

— DeVonta Smith

After receiving the Heisman Trophy, Smith was asked to say a couple words (the customary proceedings of the prestigious ceremony), and he used his time at the microphone to speak out to all young athletes who are told they are too small or too weak. “I’ve been doubted a lot just because of my size. Really, it just comes down to you–you put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big.” 

The College Football Playoff Championship is set for this Monday–where Smith and the Crimson Tide will battle for the title, against the Buckeyes of Ohio State.