Daniel Jeremiah continues to acquaint fans with the best college football players of 2020. Next in line is the Alabama receiver Devonta Smith.
In 2019, the most talented receiver group I have ever seen played in Alabama. Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy were selected in the top 15 of the latest NFL draft. In addition to them, there were other players in Crimson Tyde last season who deserved to be selected in the first round. One of them is Devonta Smith, who became the best in the number of touchdowns and yards collected.
Height and weight. 185 cm, 79 kg
Statistics for the 2019 season. 1256 yards (68 receptions, an average of 18.5 yards), 14 touchdowns
Viewed matches. All episodes in which Smith was targeted
What did you like. Smith stands out for his smooth running, he is mobile, works well on routes. It can act both inside the field and at the edges. Due to the speed and sharpness, Devonta beats the press cover. He can read the actions of the defenders and free himself from custody at the key moment of the rally. The presence of such a receiver greatly simplifies the life of the quarterback team.
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Thanks to maximum concentration and the work of his hands, Smith confidently fixes the ball even in clusters of players. For him, it is not too important how he flies - Devonta can catch him below, behind, at the hip. Catching the ball, Smith uses his mobility and almost always leaves the first defender, who is trying to stop him. He looks thin, but has the physical strength to lose his grip. This makes it useful in screening passes when he picks up a significant number of yards after taking the ball.
What needs to be added? Smith’s grades can be seriously affected by two things - his lean physique and the lack of truly elite speed. Moreover, he does much more on the field than can be expected from him. He won’t be prevented from gaining about ten pounds in weight, but now he is a player who is ready to go professional. Alabama expects Smith to run 40 yards in less than 4.5 seconds, closer to 4.4. This is not something special, but a rather high indicator. For example, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas showed the same time.
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The main conclusion. In Alabama's receiver housing, full of NFL-level talents, Devonta Smith has always found the opportunity to prove himself. As a rookie, he made a victorious touchdown in the playoff finals against Georgia. In last season's main game against LSU, he did everything in his power to help Alabama - seven receptions for 213 yards with two touchdowns. In that game, he was the only Crimson Tide receiver who managed to beat the star cornerback Derek Stingley several times. Everyone likes guys who can make big play at the right time. Devonta Smith is one of them.
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With whom can it be compared? Among the current NFL players, I could not find a suitable candidate. However, at some points he recalled Marvin Harrison. It is wrong to compare a member of the Hall of Fame and a student, but there really is a common between them: physique, work on routes, endurance, technique of working hands. Harrison was a more explosive player, but Smith's playing style is similar to him. Perhaps, in terms of physical data, Devonta even wins a little. By the way, at first in Alabama they considered him as a cornerback. Of course, I do not expect Smith to give Harrison's cosmic figures on the next level. But a regular hit in Pro Bowl with proper support from the team is almost guaranteed to him.