Alabama offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian inherited a perfect marriage between Tua Tagovailoa and his four wide receivers, and he’s taking full advantage of opportunities.
In a matchup where Tagovailoa had career-highs in passes completed (28), passing yards (444) and touchdowns (five), Jerry Jeudy was not the leading weapon.
The consensus All-American and Fred Biletnikoff Award winner from 2018 finished fourth on the team in receiving.
He did an exceptional job blocking for his teammates in a 47-23 win for the Crimson Tide over South Carolina, so the game showed how much each target has developed a relationship with Tagovailoa in relation to the contest. An off day for Jeudy, in terms of receiving, was a lottery moment for the trio of Najee Harris, Henry Ruggs III and the leader, DeVonta Smith.
He may be the underrated, but Smith refreshed the minds of college football on how the “2nd and 26” connection remains alive and well.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder had National Football League scouts taking notes, as he recorded his third career 100-yard receiving performance.
Smith showcased precision in his route running, technician hands and a couple of deceptive moves – including one that iced a Gamecocks’ defender for a 42-yard touchdown.
Alabama on the slant is proving to be impossible to stop. pic.twitter.com/oEXYAFvDPh
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 14, 2019
Hailing from Amite, La., Smith tallied career highs in receptions (eight) and yards (136) with two scores on an average of 17 yards per catch.
While the 42-yard catch and burst to the end zone was his longest play, six of his eight catches went for either first downs or touchdowns.
Smith was targeted 12 times; the most by any receiver in the game.
Despite his size, he is known for his blocking by current players and former standouts.
After the game on last week, Tagovailoa said all of Alabama’s receivers deserve attention and when it comes to Smith, the junior quarterback called him ‘one of the toughest guys we have.’
“He does not miss practice,” Tagovailoa said of Smith. “When he gets hurt, he still pushes through it. DeVonta is DeVonta. He is just good.”
Smith does not want to admit to the Crimson Tide becoming purely a passing team.
He is very optimistic about the rushing attack coming into form and sees Alabama finding its offensive balance soon. However, with the aerial game working quite well, he is not complaining about seeing the ball more and credits the vision of Tagovailoa for the passing game excelling.
Smith, Tagovailoa and the rest of the Tide will host Southern Mississippi this weekend at 11:00 a.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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