On Tuesday night, Smith added a Heisman Trophy to his shelf — the first wide receiver in more than 29 years to do so.
But six years ago, Smith had doubts about whether any of it was possible. He broke his collarbone in an early-season practice during his sophomore high school football season and pondered whether his best path forward was through a different sport.
“I always wanted to play basketball, and I was just really just frustrated with everything,” Smith explained before last week’s Rose Bowl. “And I just didn’t want to play no more.”
Smith, now listed at 175 pounds, was at least 30 pounds lighter at the time. He was hurt diving to make a catch and wondered if his slim frame was made to withstand the catches, collisions and contact that would come at the next levels of a sometimes-brutal sport.
On top of almost becoming a basketball player, everyone forgets that DeVonta Smith spent some time at defensive back when he first got to Alabama, and has dabbled in playing with them in multiple offseasons ever since. Coach Saban has even mentioned in a press conference that he’d probably be one of the best defensive backs on the team, and is an emergency option.
The dude is just phenomenal.
Dawgs247’s Rusty Mansell looked back on what he remembers about Smith.
“I saw him at a 7on7 one time in Atlanta, and I swear the kid didn’t weigh 145 pounds,” Mansell said. “There was no way. But he made every single play. And was talking junk all day, like in a good way. You could tell he was an ultra competitor.”
And while Smith never hyped up his recruiting process much, early commitments often don’t close doors on other schools.
This is a cool timeline from 247 on Smith’s recruitment.
“Sark has done a marvelous job here,” he said. “He’s very well organized. He works very well with all the people in the organization, players and coaches alike. He’s a good play caller on game day. He does a really good job of preparing the players game plan wise for each and every game, and he’s just done a great job.”
As of Monday, Sarkisian is the only on-field assistant coach that’s accepted a new job for the 2021 season though staffers like Butch Jones, Major Applewhite and A.J. Milwee have new gigs lined up for next season.
Alabama won national titles in 2015 and 2017 when defensive coordinators Smart and Pruitt had already accepted head coaching jobs.
“Most of the guys in the past have been able to do that and been effective, and it’s not been a distraction for us,” Saban said Monday. “We’re going to try to help manage it every way that we can so that it’s not a distraction for us this year.”
Here’s to hoping the whole coaching transition thing goes a lot better than it did in 2016 and 2018.
One advantage, I think, is that the Early Signing Period has pretty much become the default Signing Day for recruits. So since Texas pretty much has their 2021 class wrapped up, I don’t think there’s too much immediate pressure on Sark to try and get some last second recruiting done.
Across the street from the room DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy, the Alabama basketball team did something fairly rare itself.
The 86-71 win over Florida didn’t just give the Tide a four-game winning streak, it ended a streak of home futility against the Gators that dated back nearly 15 years. The last Coleman Coliseum win over Florida came in February of 2006 before losing eight straight on that floor.
It was a good response after upsetting top-10 Tennessee on Saturday.
Alabama (8-3, 3-0 SEC) hasn’t lost since a Dec. 19 visit from Western Kentucky and they did it Tuesday without one of the stars of that run.
And how about that?? I won’t quite let myself get too hopeful just yet, but, man, Alabama’s hoops squad has made an about-face the last few games. They were absolutely amazing last night, especially with Quinnerly out and Herb Jones playing much of the game in foul trouble.
“When he was ready, he was ready to go,” Grier said, “and he did a nice job of working himself throughout the season.”
Tagovailoa completed his rookie season completing 186-of-290 passes for 1,814 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Tagovailoa also ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. His 87.1 passing-efficiency rating ranked 26th among the NFL’s quarterbacks, between the Dallas Cowboys’ Andy Dalton and the San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Mullens.
The Dolphins hold four of the first 50 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. They’re scheduled to make selections at No. 3, No. 18, No. 36 and No. 50. While Grier said competition makes every position better, he added Miami wouldn’t be trying to replace Tagovailoa with the third pick.
“We also want to be clear that Tua’s our starter,” Grier said, “and we’re very happy with his development so far.”
The season finale was an ugly game for Tua, but also was against a much superior team in the Bills that also forced just as many turnovers out of much more established NFL QBs like Russell Wilson. Those things are going to happen to any starting NFL QB, and it’s honestly good for Tua to have it happen now so he can learn from it going forward.