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Giger’s Heisman vote: Smith tough but right choice

Photo by Alabama Athletics: DeVonta Smith

This is my ninth year voting for the Heisman Trophy. I also vote for the Wooden Award, and helping decide the top college football and basketball players each year is a privilege I hold very dearly in my journalism career.

This year’s Heisman vote was tough for me for one reason: Both Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith of Alabama had sensational seasons, and either would be a deserving Heisman Trophy winner.

Jones’ numbers would have won over my vote in just about any other season: 4,036 passing yards, 36 TDs, only four interceptions and a staggering 77.0 completion percentage.

But this season, Smith was even better. And he received my first-place vote for the Heisman.

Smith was named the Heisman winner Tuesday evening. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence came in second and Jones third. Florida QB Kyle Trask was fourth

I gave Lawrence a lot of consideration, but I just don’t believe he had the numbers this year alone, and the Heisman is not a career achievement award.

Smith has 105 catches for 1,641 yards and 20 TDs, an amazing season that made him just the third wide receiver to win the Heisman (joining Desmond Howard and Tim Brown). Smith has a chance to improve his numbers in the national championship game for Alabama, as does Jones.

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The deciding factor for me was just how dominant Smith has been on his own, going out and putting up remarkable numbers, even though the defense knew he was going to be the primary target.

Jones has a tremendous offensive line and great running back in Najee Harris, so he really wasn’t under a lot of pressure at all this season. Smith, though, had to do everything himself when it came to getting open and destroying defenses, which put him over the top for me.

Trask was my No. 3 choice. He had an incredible season, but I gave the edge to Jones when it came to all the quarterbacks.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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