Alabama teammates Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask were announced as finalists in the Heisman Trophy Thursday night.
Unlike in 2019, when LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was the prohibitive favorite to win, the voting numbers were much closer with no clear front runner emerging from the field. The Heisman Trophy will be awarded in a virtual ceremony on January 5th, starting at 7 p.m. on ESPN. ET.
Make your choice among the finalists in Alabama. Broad receiver Smith made his case clear last month, stepping out with teammate Jaylen Waddle and showing off his ability to make explosive games in space. Smith leads the country with 98 receptions and 1,511 yards while receiving 17 touchdown passes.
Quarterback Jones said this of his teammate: “He’s the most electrifying player in college football. He means the most to us here in Alabama football. You can watch the games and see what kind of person he is, how he plays. “
Smith hopes to be the first non-quarterback to win the Heisman since Alabama, who trailed Derrick Henry in 2015. The youngest recipient to win the Heisman was Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.
Jones, a Redshirt junior, started four games last season after Tua Tagovailoa was injured and put in a dazzling performance against Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. But he had to beat former five-star contestant Bryce Young to win the starting job for that season.
And then he was gone, showing his comfort in the system and collecting yards, touchdowns and points. Jones has the best skill players in college football around, and that includes Waddle – an early Heisman hopeful until an ankle injury forced him into the season in late October.
In the last four games of the season, Jones and Smith have made it clear that they are among the best players in the country and put an exclamation mark on that statement in a 52:46 win over the Gators in the SEC championship game.
Jones threw for 418 yards and five touchdowns, and Smith had 15 catches for 184 yards and two points. In total, Jones has thrown 3,739 yards and 32 touchdowns with just four interceptions to lead Alabama No. 1.
Only one school has teammates graduated 1-2 in Heisman’s history: 1945 Army (Doc Blanchard won them and Glenn Davis finished second).
After teammate Najee Harris announced on Thursday that he was fifth in the vote, Alabama became the first team with three players in the top five in the Heisman vote since Army in 1946.
Smith and Jones are also finalists for the Maxwell Award, which is given to the nation’s best player.
So is Lawrence, 34-1 as a starter in the Tigers. He is only the second player in Clemson’s history to become a Heisman finalist and join Deshaun Watson (2015 and 2016). Although Lawrence’s stats aren’t as productive as Jones’, Lawrence only wins. He also proved how valuable he is to the Tigers in their 34-10 win over Notre Dame in the ACC championship game last weekend.
Lawrence missed the first matchup with the Irish while recovering from coronavirus. Clemson lost in double overtime. In the rematch, Lawrence had a total of 412 yards of attack and scored three touchdowns in a game that was never really close.
After the game, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney began lobbying on behalf of his quarterback. “Here’s what I would say it would be a shame if the Heisman didn’t give their name to Trevor Lawrence,” Swinney said. “I know this has become a statistical award, but when you’re watching college football and you don’t know this is the best player in the country? I don’t know what you’re looking at.”
In nine games this season, Lawrence has thrown 2,753 yards with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions, and added 211 yards of rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground.
Trask put together one of the best seasons in Florida school history, and that says something considering three Heisman winners played quarterback there. In 11 games, Trask threw a school record of 43 touchdown passes, leading the nation by 11. Trask also leads the nation in passing yards per game (375.0) and set a school record of 4,125 yards – including a school pass. Record five 400-yard passing games.
Despite having thrown 408 yards and three touchdowns against Alabama, Florida lost the game 8-3. Two straight end-of-season losses, including one against LSU, could have affected his chances of winning.
Also announced on Thursday were players who made it into the top 10 in the Heisman vote. They are: No. 5 Harris; No. 6 Iowa State runs back to Breece Hall; No. 7 Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields; No. 8 BYU quarterback Zach Wilson; No. 9 Notre Dame Quarterback Ian Book; No. 10 Florida close end to Kyle Pitts.