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Alabama WR DeVonta Smith leads group of 4 Heisman Trophy finalists

Sam Cooper
·8 min read
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The 2020 Heisman Trophy finalists were revealed Thursday, with four players still in the running for college football’s most prestigious award.

The finalists are Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask.

With Jones and Smith as finalists, it marks the second straight season that teammates will finish in the top four. Last year, Ohio State teammates Justin Fields and Chase Young finished third and fourth, respectively.

It was also revealed Thursday that Alabama running back Najee Harris finished fifth in the voting, making this year’s Alabama team just the second team ever to have three players finish in the top five of the same Heisman vote. The other was the 1946 Army squad that featured Glenn Davis (first), Doc Blanchard (fourth) and Arnold Tucker (fifth).

Former Heisman winners and hundreds of media members vote for the award by selecting three players on their ballot. A first-place vote is worth three points, a second-place vote is worth two points and a third-place vote is worth one point. Votes were due Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

Instead of the usual event in New York City, this season’s Heisman ceremony will take place at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. ET because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Heisman finalists will “appear via satellite from either their homes or schools,” ESPN said last month.

The 2019 Heisman Trophy ceremony was held on Dec. 14 and was won by LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

Here is more about each of this year’s finalists:

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Entering 2020, some were wondering whether Mac Jones would just be Alabama’s placeholder at quarterback until prized freshman Bryce Young was ready to take over as starter. Instead, Jones proceeded to have a monster season and help Alabama win the SEC title and return to the College Football Playoff.

Jones enters the CFP semifinals with 3,739 yards (No. 2 nationally), 32 touchdowns (No. 3) and just four interceptions while leading the nation with a 76.5 completion percentage over the course of 11 games. Along the way, Jones has compiled seven 300-yard games, four 400-yard games and six games with at least four touchdown passes. In the Crimson Tide’s win over Florida in the SEC title game, Jones threw for 418 yards and five touchdowns.

Odds at BetMGM: +175

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

The projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft is a Heisman finalist for the first time. Trevor Lawrence has been a star since the first day he stepped on the field for Clemson as a freshman in 2018. He led the Tigers to the national title that season and then had Clemson back in the national championship game last fall.

This year, Lawrence shook off a two-game absence caused by a positive COVID-19 test to lead Clemson back to the College Football Playoff. Lawrence, who finished seventh in last year’s voting, missed Clemson’s regular season meeting with Notre Dame, but was available for the rematch in the ACC title game. Lawrence was the best player on the field, throwing for 322 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 90 yards and a score.

In nine games this season, Lawrence has thrown for 2,753 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 69.2% of his passes. Lawrence also added 211 yards and seven touchdowns with his legs.

Odds at BetMGM: +700

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs in for a touchdown during the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Notre Dame , Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs in for a touchdown during the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Notre Dame , Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

DeVonta Smith made a name for himself when he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the national championship game as a true freshman. Now he is the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy as a senior.

Smith is having an incredible season for the Crimson Tide. Entering the CFP, Smith has compiled 98 catches for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also has a rushing touchdown and another as a punt returner. Smith is averaging 8.9 catches and 137.4 yards per game. He has seven games with at least 100 receiving yards, four games with more than 10 catches and six games with multiple touchdown catches. His most recent performance, against Florida in the SEC title game, was one of his best: 15 catches, 184 yards and two TDs.

If Smith wins the Heisman, he will be just the fourth receiver to win the award. The most recent was Michigan’s Desmond Howard back in 1991.

Odds at BetMGM: -165

Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

Kyle Trask, the national leader in passing yards and touchdowns, is the University of Florida’s first Heisman finalist since Tim Tebow. Trask led Florida to an SEC East title while putting up ridiculous numbers: 4,125 yards and 43 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 69.7.

Along the way, Trask averaged a whopping 375 passing yards per game while topping the 400-yard mark five times. He also threw for four or more touchdowns in seven of Florida’s 11 games, including twice tossing six touchdown passes in a game.

Though his candidacy will likely be impacted by Florida losing its last two games, it has been a remarkable rise for Trask. Trask started his first game since he was a high school freshman in 2019 after Feleipe Franks (now at Arkansas) was injured. He took full advantage of his opportunity and is considered one of the best players in the sport.

Odds at BetMGM: +4000

Other top 10 Heisman finishers revealed

In addition to revealing the remaining contenders eligible to win the award, ESPN revealed the players that rounded out the top 10 in Heisman votes.

5. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Najee Harris blossomed into one of the elite players at his position in the last two years. In 11 games this year, Harris leads the nation with a whopping 24 rushing touchdowns to go with his 1,262 yards (third-most in the nation) and 5.9-yard average. The senior also has 32 catches for 316 yards and three scores.

All three of Harris’ receiving touchdowns in 2020 came in the SEC title game victory over Florida. Harris had a monster performance, putting up 178 yards and two touchdowns rushing while catching five passes for 67 yards and those three scores.

With Harris finishing at No. 5, the 2020 Alabama team became the second team ever with three top-five Heisman finishers.

6. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Iowa State running back Breece Hall leads the nation with 1,436 rushing yards and helped the Cyclones reach the Big 12 title game for the first time. Hall, who also has 19 touchdown runs, topped 100 yards rushing in eight of Iowa State’s 11 games. Hall also scored at least two touchdowns in eight of Iowa State’s games. Entering bowl play, Hall is averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

7. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Justin Fields finished in the top 10 of the Heisman voting for a second straight season. Fields finished third in 2019, his first season in Columbus after transferring to OSU from Georgia. Fields has thrived under Ryan Day with the Buckeyes and has led OSU to a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff berth in both of his seasons with the program. In six games in 2020, Fields has thrown for 1,521 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 72.6% of his passes.

8. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Zach Wilson dazzled in his third season as BYU’s starting quarterback and helped the Cougars go 11-1. Along the way, Wilson threw for 3,699 yards and 33 touchdowns with just three interceptions while completing 73.4% of his passes. Wilson also finished the year with 254 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Now Wilson is projected to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in the 2020 NFL draft should he choose to leave school.

9. Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame

Ian Book has more wins as a starting quarterback (30) than anyone else in Notre Dame history and now he has a top 10 Heisman finish. In 2020, the fifth-year senior has the Fighting Irish back in the College Football Playoff for a second time in three seasons. Book led the way for an undefeated regular season while throwing for 2,600 yards, rushing for 430 yards and combining for 23 touchdowns.

10. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Kyle Pitts emerged as the nation’s best tight end in 2020. Pitts made a name for himself in 2019 when he caught 54 passes for 649 yards, but it was clear early in 2020 that he elevated his play to a new level. Pitts went for 170 yards and four touchdowns on eight catches in Florida’s season-opening win over Ole Miss. It set the tone for a year where Pitts caught 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games. That’s an average of 17.9 yards per reception.

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