DeVonta Smith, Bama’s Best Receiver
The Crimson Tide has been blessed with a long and rich history of great football players including great receivers. DeVonta Smith has been a dangerous downfield weapon for the Crimson Tide ever since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2017. Smith only has a handful of games left to play for the Crimson Tide, but with the short time left he can submit himself as the best receiver to ever to play for Alabama.
Nick Saban has coached some great receivers already at Alabama, Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Marquis Maze, ArDarius Stewart and he even coached D.J. Hall. David Palmer and Freddie Milons were outstanding receivers at the Capstone prior to Saban's era. However the former 4-star receiver from Amite, Louisiana has already made his case that he is the best of them all.
Smith came to Alabama with a two other receivers who were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy. He was often overshadowed by the speed of Ruggs or the route-running of Jeudy but Smith will go down as the best of the three for the Crimson Tide because of his ability to show up in big moments.
It was Smith on the receiving end of Tua Tagovaioa's 2nd&26 overtime pass to win the 2018 CFP National Championship as a true freshman. He hauled in seven receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns against the LSU Tigers last season in a high profile game in 2019. As a senior he pulled in 11 receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns against highly-ranked Georgia in 2020.
Smith is already tied for the school record in touchdown receptions in a career (31) with Amari Cooper. He turned in the 2nd most in a single-year as a junior, recording 14 receiving touchdowns. He has eight so far this season, putting him eight behind Cooper's record of 16 in a single-season. Smith owns both the most and the second most touchdowns in a single-game, scoring five touchdowns against Ole Miss in 2019 and four touchdowns against Mississippi State in 2020.
Smith is 595 yards away from Cooper's all-time receiving yards record of 3,463 yards. His junior season was good enough for third all-time in single-season receiving yards with 1,256 yards, he will likely finish the season with another top-10 mark in single-season receiving yards. Smith has the Crimson Tide record for receiving yards in a single-game when he put up 274 yards against Ole Miss in 2019. He also owns two other top-10 games, he put up the sixth most yards in a game against LSU in 2019 when he went for 213 and his 203 yard performance against Mississippi State in 2020 was good enough for ninth most in a single-game.
The electric receiver is known for having the best hands on team, he currently sits fifth all-time in receptions with 174 for his career. He tied the Alabama record for most receptions in a single game with 13 against Ole Miss in 2020.
Smith's name is all over the record book and his contributions to 2nd&26 will live forever. He will get more opportunities in the offense for the remainder of the season with Jaylen Waddle's unfortunate injury. He still has four more regular season games and the post season to make more big plays in big games and add to already impressive stat sheet and make the claim that he is the best receiver in Crimson Tide history.