Julio Jones. Amari Cooper. Calvin Ridley. Jerry Jeudy. Henry Ruggs III.
Each of these recipients is talking to the best to ever play the position in Alabama. The fact that each of them played under coach Nick Saban is a clear reminder of the quantity and quality of the elite players he coached in Tuscaloosa.
But Saban might not have trained better than DeVonta Smith – something the Amite, La., Native made a strong case for Saturday.
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Smith made an eternal homecoming in the 55:17 Alabama No. 1 win, earning eight receptions for 235 yards and three points against LSU just 60 miles southeast of his hometown. That includes an absurd first half in which he scored seven passes for 219 yards and three points.
And he didn't even reach the mark Jeudy set for him before the matchup on Saturday:
In any case, Smith's performance should be more than enough to include him in the Heisman Trophy discussion, no matter how talented quarterbacks Kyle Trask, Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence play. He now has 80 receptions for 1,309 yards and 15 touchdowns this year, with at least two games left.
"Smitty is obviously an excellent player for us," said Saban after the game about his star recipient. "Just love him as a person and love him as a player and he's a great competitor. And I'm sure that means a lot to him."
The senior showed everything one could want from the position against the Tigers: elite hands, elite speed, elite agility, elite vertical – you name it, he had it. He scored in games of 65 and 61 meters, the latter of which enraged LSU coach Ed Orgeron. But it was a 20 yard score that showed off his elite skills best.
Quarterback Mac Jones, who is himself generating Heisman discussions this season, apparently tossed a ball from the back of the end zone into third and tenth places. But Smith created enough space between himself and the defender to jump in the air, hold the ball with one hand, and play with two, giving Alabama an insurmountable 45-14 lead.
Of course, Smith isn't worried about challenging the Heisman.
"If I'm in the Heisman race, I'll be there," he said. "I'm not really focused on it. I'm ultimately here to win a championship. That's why I came back."
Anyway, if Smith's touchdown wasn't "outstanding" – as the Heisman's criteria dictate – then 2020 was nothing. The same goes for his game all season.
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But back to that game, the fact that he drew the ball over Derek Stingley Jr., arguably the best cover corner in the country, only adds to its mystique. It's this style of portrayal – like Tua Tagovailoa to Jaylen Waddle against Tennessee in 2018 – that creates an eternal legacy.
And as a newcomer, he already had second and 26th place.
His Alabama predecessors had legendary fights against LSU defenders: Jones had Patrick Peterson; Cooper had Eric Reid; Ridley had Jamal Adams and Tre & # 39; Davious White; Jeudy and Ruggs had Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit. To that end, it may be appropriate that the only Louisiana player in the group had the best game against LSU.
What's next for Smith? He has a handful of single season and career records that he can pursue, if he even cares about them. He already has Alabama's single game markers for yards (274) and touchdowns (five), both wagered against Ole Miss in 2019. He also has the SEC career record for touchdowns (38). It only takes him two points and 419 yards to break Cooper's 2014 single-season records (16 touchdowns, 1,727 yards). Smith will take Alabama's career to record highs with just 46 more – including Coopers.
Then there is of course the hardware: the Biletnikoff Award is an achievable goal, the Heisman Trophy less so. Even then, an invitation as a recipient is proof enough of his excellence. Oddly enough, Cooper was the last recipient to receive this award. The question also arises as to whether Smith is really the best who has ever played the position for the Crimson Tide. As brilliant as he has been all season – the last four seasons, in fact – that could be hard to say for sure.
But it will be hard to refute the argument Smith made on Saturday.