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Alabama's DeVonta Smith Wins 2020 AP College Football Player of the Year Award

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2020

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) warms up before the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Atlanta. Heisman Trophy finalists Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith have been selected to The Associated Press All-America team, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, leading a contingent of five Alabama players on the first-team offense. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The Associated Press honored Alabama star DeVonta Smith as its college football player of the year for 2020.

Smith is the first wide receiver to win the award since its inception in 1998. The senior has caught 98 passes for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games. 

SEC Network @SECNetwork

The AP College Football Player of the Year: @AlabamaFTBL's DeVonta Smith 🏆 https://t.co/R3HtXMAPHR

Because of his impressive production, Smith is generating significant Heisman Trophy buzz and is one of four finalists for college football's top individual award. The AP's Ralph D. Russo noted the AP player of the year collected the Heisman in 17 of the last 22 years.

Should he go on to lift the trophy, Smith's "Heisman moment" will likely be remembered as his performance in a 55-17 win over LSU on Dec. 5. He caught eight passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns. He probably could've had 300 receiving yards if Alabama's 45-14 halftime lead hadn't allowed Nick Saban to call off the dogs in the second half.

Smith also showed out in the SEC title game, posting 15 receptions for 184 yards and two scores.

Quarterbacks have dominated the Heisman Trophy conversation. Nine of the last 10 winners played the position. 

As a result, wide receivers haven't factored much into the equation. Any credit and praise heaped on a pass-catcher will often be shared by the guy throwing him the passes. Desmond Howard in 1991 is the last Heisman-winning wideout.

Smith has the talent and numbers to buck that trend.

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