Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith won the 2020 Heisman Trophy on Tuesday, becoming the first receiver since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991 to win the most prestigious individual award in sports.
But viewers of Tuesday’s virtual ceremony might have seen copies of the trophy standing at the ready at Clemson and Florida, as well. Unlike in previous years, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to hold the ceremony in person. Because of that, the Heisman Trust tasked the trophy’s manufacturer, Jostens, with creating copies for each of the four Heisman finalists — Alabama’s Smith and Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Florida’s Kyle Trask — should their name be called.
“We knew right away regardless of where the finalists were, that we needed to have a trophy there for every finalist so that once the winner was named he would have a trophy,” Tim Henning, associate director of the Heisman, told USA Today. “That was never even up for debate.”
But only Smith got to hoist the trophy at the end of the night. What did the other finalists do with their copy?
Per USA Today, each school was also mailed a self-addressed envelope to send the trophy back to New York City. So that explains what Clemson and Florida have to do with their copies of the trophy. (Of note: Henning said that none of the trophies is a replica).
“We don’t have nor have we ever produced a replica Heisman Trophy,” Henning told USA Today. “All the trophies are authentic.”
Unlike his fellow finalists, however, Alabama didn’t have to mail Smith’s back.
Another interesting facet of Tuesday’s virtual ceremony: Jostens needed only to create three copies of the trophy, because Alabama boasted two finalists; in the case of the Crimson Tide, the Heisman Trust merely mailed one trophy as well as an interchangeable nameplate depending on who would win. It also came with a small hardware kit containing a Phillips head screwdriver to change out the generic nameplate.
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