Stoic as ever, DeVonta Smith got a new presentation ahead of the CFP press conference on Wednesday morning.
Now, and for the rest of his life, the “Heisman Trophy winner” will precede his first and last name at ceremonial moments like this. After an emotional response to his win on Tuesday night, Smith kept his poker face and deflected all the next morning questions into the previously scheduled media session to preview Monday’s national title game.
He said the whole experience was great, “but now it’s over and now it’s the state of Ohio.”
And unlike a traditional Heisman victory accompanied by a long night in Manhattan, Smith said he was back home and “entitled to sleep” after his historic night.
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His Alabama teammates could have been a little more excited about the whole thing.
Third-placed quarterback Mac Jones said Smith was “a little shocked” when his name was called during the ceremony.
“It’s like a video game, man,” Jones said. “You’re up there and you see your teammate win the Heisman Trophy and you feel it’s just one of the best things you can do, to have the chance to be with him, especially in a crazy kind of year that has been, and be the first guy to congratulate him. “
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Jones was caught up in the reaction of friends in the family who watched remotely in Amite, Louisiana. The quarterback noted that “the whole town was really in there” by watching the broadcast with Smith’s parents.
Jones was sitting directly next to Smith at the time as fellow receiver John Metchie was watching ESPN from home. His degree of surprise was a little lower.
“I said it a long time ago that Smitty is the best college football player this year,” Metchie said. So surely seeing him win was great. I am extremely proud of him. “
Tight end Miller Forristall found himself in a unique position during the ceremony as the current or former teammate of three of the four finalists. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence was a high school teammate in Cartersville, Georgia.
Forristall said he describes Smith as a fighter “in the ultimate sense”. He has continued to fight against everything that has happened to him and is a great teammate.
“That’s how I described it to my high school coach the other day,” Forristall said. “He asked me about DeVonta Smith. He wanted to know: He is the same high school coach as Trevor Lawrence. He leaves, man, I want to cheer for Trevor, but tell me about this DeVonta Smith. I said he is a great teammate and this is something that strikes me, not only as a guy who is incredibly talented and a great player, but also a great teammate. “
Smith can also have a bad poker face.
He deflected any questions about honor from the moment his Heisman title began its rise.
Don’t be fooled by that look, the Heisman has turned him on more than he might think.
“Yes, of course it is,” said offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood. “He’s super excited about this. He is grateful. But one thing about Smitty, he’s a great player, but he’s also a teammate and a better person. “
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Jones cracked a smile as he looked back on his time playing with his decorated teammate.
They were both part of the announced 2017 recruiting class, though neither was headlining. The two return to the high school circuit when they first built the chemistry that made both legends in this unusual 2020 college football season.
Jones smiled as he looked back at how far they came to the stage as Heisman co-finalists.
“I think about fields and things like that,” Jones said. “Smitty and I were the two skinniest guys out there throwing the ball at each other, so it all started there. But he worked very hard and deserves everything that has happened to him. “
Part of this is a new title, like Mr. or Coach. Starting Tuesday night, Smith will be “Heisman Trophy winner …” and his teammates love him.
Michael Casagrande is a reporter from the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or turned on Facebook.
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