“TOUCHDOWN, ALABAMA WINS!” was the call made by the ESPN commentator and analyst Chris Fowler following the 41-yard game winning touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Devonta Smith to win the 2018 National Championship Game.
Three years ago, Tua threw a dime to this year's Heisman Trophy winner to cap off the 2018 national championship game. pic.twitter.com/sOKKoaKCS0
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) January 8, 2021
This decorated moment in college football history is what forecasted the eventual success of Devonta Smith.
Following his freshman season at Alabama, Smith was hopeful to have a breakout year that would propel him into the All-American conversation.
However, this did not happen.
Although Smith contributed to the Crimson Tide’s offense in a meaningful way with 693 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns, he appeared to be overlooked by the national media.
Because his teammates that were a part of his position group were players that would go on to be first round draft picks.
Speed demon Henry Ruggs and deep-ball threat Jerry Juedy had seasons that were immaculate. They both had the ability to be a #1 option for most NFL offenses.
In addition, the highly coveted recruit out of high school Jaylen Waddle was thought to be a talent unlike any other.
Therefore, Smith was considered to be the fourth best option on a championship caliber team.
No wonder he was so easily disregarded in his sophomore campaign.
Oh, and not to mention they had some guys named Joshua Jacobs and Najee Harris that were pretty good too.
Smith’s junior year was really where he began to excel and reverse the narrative that he wasn’t just a sidekick, but instead a superstar caliber player.
Smith led the Tide to an excellent 11-2 season and racked up 1,256 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
In one of the more impressive games of Smith’s career, Smith torched the Ole Miss defense with 274 yards receiving on just 11 catches.
And if you thought this was a fluke, think again.
Smith made a boisterous statement five weeks later in the biggest game of the year against #2 ranked LSU.
He accumulated 213 receiving yards while averaging 30 yards per reception. Shutting down the notion that his performance at Ole Miss was just one lucky game.
Following the season, it was rumored that Smith would declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, and rightfully so.
NFL talent evaluators agreed that if Smith were to enter the 2020 NFL Draft he would be an easy late 1st or 2nd round pick.
However, this draft class was absolutely loaded at the WR position.
Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Chase Claypool, and Tee Higgins made up the star-studded class.
The opportunity to join one of the best wide receiver classes in years was tempting, but ultimately wasn’t enough to persuade Smith to forego his senior season at Alabama.
Smith decided to return to campus for his senior year in hopes to further raise his draft stock, and compete for another national championship.
… and man was this decision the right one.
Heisman Trophy Campaign
Devonta Smith’s senior season at Alabama may be the best individual season by a wide receiver in the history of college football.
When Jaylen Waddle went down with an ankle injury in week four of the season, Smith was called upon to be the Tide’s primary receiver and go-to guy on offense.
Smith exceeded expectations, and even that statement is undermining the overall effect Smith had on Alabama’s offense.
Smith went on to have a breathtaking nine performances in which he had 100 or more receiving yards.
He also went on to break a substantial amount of records.
- Smith holds the record for SEC receiving yards in a single season- 1,856
- Single season touchdowns- 23
- The FBS record for most career touchdowns- 46
- The amount of receiving yards in the College Football Playoff- 345
- Receiving yards in a single half- 215
And the list goes on to what seems like is never-ending.
He did these things even after opposing defenses continuously doubled him all year long.
Smith capped off his amazing statistical career with winning the Fred Biletnikoff award for the nation’s best receiver, the 2020 Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Player of the Year award, The Maxwell award, and the 2021 National Championship.
This adds to an already unrivaled resume, and has positioned him to be on the Mount Rushmore of college football.
Simply put. Smith is outright dangerous with the football in his hands.
He is the most unstoppable player I have ever seen since Reggie Bush at USC in 2005.
His success at Alabama is unparalleled to anyone in recent and historical memory.
So, at least for now. I don’t see how anyone could place Devonta Smith second.
just a sports casual who happens to write about the NBA and college football. Primarily based in Atlanta, GA. UGA undergrad.