Alabama’s DeVonta Smith demolishes doubters on way to NFL

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Photo used with permission from Google Commons

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban excites the crowd as he enters the stadium for a home football game. Saban has been supportive of DeVonta Smith.

Since arriving on Alabama’s campus in 2017 as a scrawny 6’1” 160-pound kid from a run down neighborhood in Louisiana, DeVonta Smith was doubted: “He’s too small,” “He doesn’t have what it takes to play football beyond college.” These messages from reporters, coaches, and even close friends are what fueled Smith to become arguably the best player in college football, a potential top 10 pick in next year’s NFL draft, and a superstar for years to come.

Ever since Smith’s early playing days at Amite High School, he has been doubted by scouts and coaches for his weight and lack of strength. Smith has made it his goal to prove them wrong, and to inspire kids to defy the odds. In his speech after being awarded the Heisman Trophy on Jan. 5, awarded to the best player in college football, Smith wanted to spread his message to the youth that even if you’re not the “biggest and strongest, just keep pushing because I’m not the biggest,” said Smith.

I am happy for Devonta, he worked so hard.”

— Christina Smith-Sylve

Even though Smith had to deal with skeptics, he has a great supporting staff that have believed in him and followed him on his journey to becoming a superstar. Smith’s mother, Christina Smith-Sylve, has been with him through his ups and downs, and has always believed that he would be great one day. “I’m very proud. I am excited. I am happy for Devonta, he worked so hard. His hard work and his dedication paid off for him,” Smith-Sylve said in an interview with Josh Auzenne of WAFB 9.

In addition to Smith’s mother, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has praised him over the years. Saban started recruiting Smith since his junior year in high school, and has stuck with him ever since, knowing that he was going to be a superstar one day. “I love Smitty. I think he’s an outstanding player for our team. He’s probably done as much this year for our team as any player that we’ve ever had. He’s a great leader on the team. It’s not fair to compare him to somebody else that you didn’t even see, but I don’t think there’s many players in the country that have done more for their team than Smitty does for our team,” Saban said to a group of reporters after Alabama defeated LSU on Dec. 5. 

With the NFL draft just a few months away, Smith has displayed his talents to the best of his abilities on the biggest stages. Led by Smith, Alabama finished this season undefeated, and capped it off by defeating Ohio State in the national championship games. “No job is too big. If you put your mind to it, you can do it, and just keep believing in God, and you’ll get where you want to be,” Smith said in a final message to a group of reporters inside the Alabama locker room following the win that ended his unbelievable college football career.