DeVonta Smith’s Heisman Odds Improve to +200; Could a Wide Receiver Win the Trophy?

DeVonta Smith running

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) runs for gain during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
  • Alabama WR DeVonta Smith has seen his Heisman odds improve to +200
  • Smith was a massive longshot for the majority of the season
  • Could Smith become the first receiver to win the trophy since 1991?

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith is making an incredible late push for the 2020 Heisman Trophy.

Despite sitting as a +5000 longshot for most of the season, Smith is now listed at +200 heading into SEC Championship weekend.

Could the standout senior become the first receiver to win the trophy since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991?

2020 Heisman Trophy Odds

Player Odds
Mac Jones (QB, Alabama) -200
DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama) +200
Kyle Trask (QB, Florida) +800
Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson) +2500
Breece Hall (RB, Iowa State) +4000
Ian Book (QB, Notre Dame) +5000
Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State) +5000

Odds as of Dec. 15 at FanDuel

Smith’s Late-Season Surge

DeVonta Smith is surging up the Heisman odds board because media members are starting to realize that this guy might just be the best player in the country. The senior has been consistent all season, but he really came onto people’s radars after Alabama’s Week 14 destruction of LSU.

Smith had eight receptions for 231 yards against the Tigers, including a remarkable one-handed grab that has been viewed over one million times on Twitter alone. He followed that up with an 84-yard TD punt return the following week against Arkansas. These are exactly the type of “Heisman moments” that thrust a player into the spotlight.

Smith has shone ever since Jaylen Waddle suffered a season-ending injury against Tennessee back on Oct. 24th. Smith now leads the nation with 1,327 receiving yards and is just 27 yards away from being Alabama’s all-time leader in that category.

He didn’t have a big receiving performance in Week 15, but the punt return marked the second straight week Smith accounted for the defining moment in the game.

2021 CFP National Championship Odds Tracker

Smith vs Mac Jones

It appeared that the SEC championship between Florida and Alabama would also be a Heisman showdown between Kyle Trask and Mac Jones. That storyline has been altered after Trask committed three turnovers in Florida’s shocking upset loss to LSU. It’s now down to two players on the same team, unless Trask leads his team to the upset as 17-point underdogs.

Jones has been near the top of the odds for most of the season, but the reason he hasn’t broken away is because he’s yet to have that defining moment or game. That could certainly come against Florida, but right now Jones’ Heisman case is based around his overall body of work for the year. He’s thrown for a solid 3,327 yards and 27 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

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There’s an argument to be made, however, that Jones wouldn’t even be in the Heisman conversation if it weren’t for Smith. The star receiver has caught over half of Jones’ Heisman TD passes and caught almost 40% of his completions. Jones currently has an impressive 94.5 QB grade, but Smith leads all receivers with a 94.2 grade (via PFF).

Verdict on Smith’s Heisman Chances

In this bizzare 2020 College Football season, it would only be fitting that the Heisman goes to a receiver. Quarterbacks have won 12 of the last 14 Heisman’s, but those two non-QB winners were both running backs on Alabama powerhouses. Could it be a receiver this time?

The last receiver to finish as a finalist for the Heisman was Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook in 2016. Smith already has more receptions than Westbrook despite playing less games and has just one fewer touchdown. You can bet Smith will be receiving an invite to the virtual ceremony.

The Heisman is going to be won at the SEC Championship in Atlanta. If Trask somehow leads his team to victory, he’ll win. If Jones spreads the wealth around and puts up a huge performance, he’ll lock it up. But if Smith steals the spotlight for the third consecutive week and puts the team on his back, voters will be inclined to defy the notion that this is a QB award.

Smith has caught 38 passes for 771 yards over the last five weeks. With the insane traction he’s gaining in the race, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a plus-money ticket on the standout receiver heading into Week 16.

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