2020 Heisman Finalist Notes

The Heisman Trophy in the lobby of the old Downtown Athletic Club

Notes and nuggets on the 2020 Heisman Trophy finalists.


* Alabama WR DeVonta Smith would be just the second No. 6 to win the Heisman, following Baker Mayfield (2017).

* Alabama QB Mac Jones would be the third No. 10, following Robert Griffin III (2011) and Troy Smith (2006).

* Florida QB Kyle Trask would be the fifth No. 11 to win the award (which would tie Nos. 14 and 20 for the most), following Matt Leinart (2004), Andre Ware (1989), Steve Spurrier (1966) and Terry Baker (1962).

* Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence would be the fourth No. 16 to win the Heisman, joining Chris Weinke (2000), Jim Plunkett (1970) and Gary Beban (1967).

* Trask would be the 10th winner born in Texas. Jones would be the fifth winner born in Florida. Smith would be the second player born in Louisiana. Lawrence would be the first winner born in Tennessee.

* Jones and Smith give Alabama 10 Heisman finalists since 1982 (eight since 2009). Trask is Florida’s eighth finalist (which includes two appearances by Danny Wuerffel and three by Tim Tebow) while Lawrence is Clemson’s third finalist selection (Deshaun Watson was named finalist twice). Oklahoma has the most with 11.

* This is the first time Alabama has multiple Heisman finalists and it is the second year in a row (and the third time in the last five years) there are two from the same school. Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Chase Young were both finalists in 2019.

* If either Jones or Smith win, they would be Alabama’s third Heisman winner (RB Mark Ingram 2009, RB Derrick Henry 2015). Jones would be Alabama’s first quarterback winner while Smith would be the first wide receiver to win since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991 and the first non-QB/WR since Charles Woodson in 1997.

* Trask would be Florida’s fourth winner (QB Steve Spurrier 1966, QB Danny Wuerffel 1996, QB Tim Tebow 2007). Lawrence would be Clemson’s first winner.

* Smith is the ninth WR named a Heisman finalist, the first since Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook in 2016 and Alabama’s third WR finalist (Amari Cooper, 2014 and David Palmer, 1993). The other five WR finalists were Larry Fitzgerald (2003), winner Tim Brown (1987), Raghib Ismail (1990), winner Desmond Howard (1991) and Randy Moss (1997). The only other wideouts to finish in the top three voting are winner Johnny Rodgers (1972) and Howard Twilley (1965).

* If Smith wins, his 1,511 receiving yards and 98 receptions in 2020 would be the most by any Heisman winner in either category, topping the current record holder, Desmond Howard (950 receiving yards on 61 receptions in 1991). Smith’s 17 TD catches are two less than Howard’s record total.

* If Jones wins, he’d be sixth first-year starter (full season) to win the Heisman since and including 2007. His 202.3 passer rating would be the fourth-best in Heisman history.

* If Trask wins, his 46 combined TDs (43 passing, 3 rushing) would be tied for eighth most among Heisman winners.

* The first Heisman finalists in 1982 were Herschel Walker, John Elway and Eric Dickerson.

* There have been three finalists invited 11 times, four finalists 12 times, five finalists 12 times, six finalists twice and eight finalists once (in 1989). No more than six finalists (in 1994 and 2013) have ever attended the ceremony. This is the second year in a row with four finalist.

* Including fifth-place finisher RB Najee Harris, Alabama boasts three of the top five vote-getters for just the second time in Heisman history and the first since Army did it in 1946 (HB Glenn Davis first,  FB Doc Blanchard fourth, QB Arnie Tucker fifth).

* A top 3 finish by Trask would be Florida’s seventh since Steve Spurrier won the Gators’ first in 1966. Danny Wuerffel finished third in 1995 a year before he won. QB Rex Grossman was second in 2001 while Tim Tebow was third in 2008 a year after he won.

* Before 2020, there have now been 159 players invited to New York as Heisman finalists since the practice was first instituted in 1982.