There really isn’t much more to say about what DeVonta Smith accomplished, and what he meant to the Alabama team, in the 2020 season. He had 31 more catches and some 650 more yards than anyone else in the country, and his 23 receiving touchdowns were four more than the second highest total but 11 more than Kyle Pitts, who was second in the Power Five. In relation to his peers, he may have just put up the most dominant WR season in college football history.
There is so much more to his story, of course.
Ever the quiet sort, DeVonta was overshadowed a bit early on by classmates Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Jeudy in particular was billed as the next big thing, and Ruggs kept catching TDs. Smith finished his freshman season with only 8 catches for 160 yards. Boy, did he make the most of them, though.
Most folks probably don’t remember that it was DeVonta on the receiving end of this one.
Hey, remember that time when Alabama’s 2017 season was hanging in the balance, in Starkville? Guess who stepped up with the dagger to keep alive what would be a magical championship ride?
Jalen Hurts with the clutch drive vs Mississippi State (2017) pic.twitter.com/x4HOnpvkrg— Alabama Diehards (@AlabamaDieHards) April 7, 2020
Then, of course, perhaps our favorite highlight of all time.
In all three cases, it was the quarterback who received all of the accolades, yet there was Smitty just doing what he does: his job, in exemplary fashion, and quietly.
Smith had his first 100 yard game in his sophomore year against Mizzou, and while there was only one ball to go around to a ridiculous number of weapons in 2019, he had some massive games. He went for 136 and two scores against South Carolina early in the season, and who could forget his 11 catch, 274 yard explosion against Ole Miss, complete with five touchdowns? He also offered a taste of what was to come by embarrassing vaunted LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. in a losing effort, to the tune of seven grabs for 213 yards and two scores.
Smith could have gone pro after his junior season and no one would have faulted him. He had a shot to go in the first round even in a crowded field, though it wasn’t a sure thing. Instead, he decided to come back to school, get his degree, and try to improve his stock. Questions about his slight build aside, he most certainly accomplished that. Smith is a lock to go in the first at this point, the question is simply how high he can climb.
Smith leaves Alabama as its all-time leading receiver by more than 500 yards and a full 15 touchdowns over Amari Cooper. He has a Heisman and bookend national titles, and did it all with class while providing quiet, workmanlike leadership. He hath writ his name in Crimson flame and will go down as the favorite player of countless Alabama fans. DeVonta, we are going to miss you.
Well done, sir.