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DeVonta Smith on Heisman Trophy, Nick Sirianni on Snap Counts for WRs

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner gave some thoughts on the award while his coach explained why Smith had the fewest reps among his trio of pass-catchers vs. Jets

PHILADELPHIA - It couldn’t have worked out any better for DeVonta Smith.

The Eagles are on a bye and that means for the third straight week, the rookie wide receiver will head to the New York City area, only this time it won’t be to play a game like the previous two weeks when his team played the Giants and Jets.

This time, it will be to see who succeeds him as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

Smith said last week he is planning on attending Saturday’s ceremony. Had the Eagles had a game on Sunday, that wouldn’t have been possible.

The finalists for the most prestigious award in college football were released on Monday.

There were three quarterbacks – Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, and Alabama’s Bryce Young – and one defensive player, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson.

“It’s just a blessing (to be nominated),” said Smith. “Whoever it is, those guys who are finalists, just knowing they’ve been working hard to get to that point. When you work as hard as those guys are working, and you get there, it’s just like you know that you’re doing everything the right way, and the way things are supposed to be done.”

Smith made it clear who was getting his vote. That would be former teammate, Young.

Everybody has an opinion on who should win. Mine would be Hutchinson, a game-wrecker with 13 sacks this season and someone who could be the first overall pick this spring.

MORE: There is no Quarterback Controversy: It's Jalen Hurts' Job

Except defensive players never win this award.

 Actually, two have if you count Syracuse’s Ernie Davis in 1961 who was also a halfback/fullback in addition to a linebacker. The other was cornerback Charles Woodson, who won the award in 1997, but even his resume was spiced with punt returning duties.

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Then there’s the wide receiver position. There isn’t a single one of those nominated.

Last year, Smith became the first WR to win the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.

“I would say it’s pretty hard just because everybody pretty much labels it as a quarterback award,” said Smith. “The next person would probably be a running back or something like that. So, I mean, just for a receiver or anyone like that, it’s hard. If you’re a receiver and you’re going to win it, then your quarterback has to be doing something right, too. So, it’s hard to win it as a receiver.”

Despite dominating the college landscape last season with 24 total touchdowns and 117 catches for 1,856 yards with Alabama, Smith still notched just 66.81 percent of the points possible, the lowest number for a Heisman Trophy winner since 2015 when then-Alabama RB Derrick Henry won with 65.73 percent.

Still, Smith won, beating the other three finalists in 2020, all of whom were quarterbacks – teammate Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, and Florida’s Kyle Trask.

DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith

In his rookie season with the Eagles, Smith has 50 catches for 701 yards and four touchdowns. He has, however, been limited the past two weeks as the Eagles split their games in New York, going 1-1, as Smith had just four receptions for 37 yards in the two games combined.

Against the Jets, Smith played the fewest number of plays among the trio of receivers head coach Nick Sirianni has ridden with this season.

Quez Watkins had 55 snaps, Jalen Reagor 48, and Smith 44.

Asked why on Monday, Sirianni said: “We were in 13-personnel and we were running some good things out of 13-personnel and we were having some success in the run game and in the play-action game. And with who we wanted in there on 13-personnel with what we were asking them to do in 13-personnel, that was Reagor. That's where Reagor got a lot of those snaps.

“And so that's just the way it went. Not going to apologize, we didn't punt until the last series of the game and so that's just the way it went that game and that's the flow sometimes. So, that's kind of why it went that way, though.”

MORE: Gardner Minshew Leads String of Standouts in 33-18 win over Jets

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.