Exciting wide receiver DeVonta Smith is a big reason why his football team is playing for the college football championship. However, he certainly started out small when he joined the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Smith has a Heisman Trophy to his name and soon will be reaping financial rewards in the NFL. He’s leaving behind a little bit of advice for youngsters who aspire to follow in his impressive footsteps.
DeVonta Smith has had a magnificent season
DeVonta Smith is finishing his college football career on a high note. Aside from winning the Heisman Trophy this month, he’s on the Alabama Crimson Tide team battling Ohio State in the College Football Playoff title game.
He enters the Jan. 11 contest with one championship ring to his credit courtesy of one of the most memorable plays in the brief history of the college playoffs. A freshman at the time, he caught Tua Tagovailoa’s overtime touchdown pass to beat Georgia, 26-23, in the culmination of the 2017 season.
Smith, just the third Alabama player to win the Heisman, has put up monster numbers this season. Despite the season being limited to 12 games before the playoff final because of the pandemic, Smith rolled up 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns as quarterback Mac Jones’ favorite target.
DeVonta Smith made great strides with Alabama
The potential was always there, but DeVonta Smith made enormous strides during his time in Tuscaloosa. Enrolling at Alabama in 2017 to play for Nick Saban after a high school career in Amite City, Louisiana, Smith only got on the field for eight games as a true freshman. He made eight catches but scored three touchdowns.
As a sophomore, Smith made 42 catches for 693 yards and six touchdowns to set the stage for his breakthrough 2019 season. As a junior, he made 68 receptions for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns. Smith then delighted his team’s fans by announcing after the season that he would return for his senior year.
He broke the Southeastern Conference record for career touchdown catches with 43 to go along with his 223 grabs for 3,750 yards.
The first receiver to capture the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard in 1991, Smith is projected to be a first-round selection in the 2021 NFL draft.
The Alabama receiver delivers great advice
DeVonta Smith was a skinny 6-foot-1 and 160-pound prospect when he arrived at Alabama. Even now, he is listed at just 175 pounds. Smith has heard detractors say each step of the way that he is too small to play major-college football or dream of reaching the NFL.
Wisely, he has used the words as motivation instead of letting them beat him down.
“It made me want to just do everything more physical and be a bigger version of what I am,” he said, according to The Athletic. “Everybody thinking I’m so small, showing everybody that I’m not the person you can bully.”
Winning the Heisman Trophy gave Smith the platform to offer inspiration to teens who want to achieve what he has accomplished.
“To all the young kids out there that are not the biggest, not the strongest, keep pushing, ’cause I’m not the biggest — I’ve been doubted a lot because of my size,” he said. “It just comes down to, if put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big. Keep believing in God.”