Nick Saban signed an exceptional recruiting class to the University of Alabama in 2017, especially with the talent he brought in at wide receiver.
Of the five weapons he took, people will always remember the main three. The trio of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith was a special group. All three displayed a different element of greatness and each one played a role as freshmen in rescuing the Crimson Tide to a national championship in the 2017 season.
Despite the amazing abilities of Jeudy and Ruggs, it is Smith who stands as the greatest to ever play at the position. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder came back for his senior year to improve his NFL Draft status and win a national title. He has achieved one goal and has paced an offense that looks to hit on the other.
A native of Amite, La., Smith has been mesmerizing all season.
He has amazed coaches, teammates, fans and national media pundits with his consistency to make big plays. His decision to play this year made life easier on his quarterback, Mac Jones, and the two are consensus All-Americans and Heisman finalists.
On Tuesday, Smith became the first receiver since Desmond Howard (Michigan, 1991) to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy.
He beat out Jones, Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Kyle Trask (Florida) for the honor. Prior to winning the award, Smith was honored as SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, CBS Sports Player of the Year and Associated Press Player of the Year.
Since 1998, he was the first-ever receiver to win AP Player of the Year. Seventeen of the 22 previous winners ended up getting the Heisman too. Smith led Alabama and college football for receptions (105), receiving yards (1,641) and touchdowns (20).
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He averaged 15.6 yards per catch and 136.8 yards per game.
The crafty veteran posted eight 100-yard performances, including six with Jaylen Waddle out (ankle). He had a pair of 200-yard outings, while putting on a clinic in the SEC Championship Game and Rose Bowl Game. Smith was the Most Valuable Offensive Player versus Notre Dame, catching seven passes for 130 yards with three scores. In getting the Tide to a 31-14 victory, he tied a Rose Bowl Game record for touchdown catches. His showing versus the Gators — 15 catches, 184 yards, two touchdowns — won him the Heisman, but his output against the Fighting Irish placed lasting images for college football fans on his greatness.
Smith joins Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015) as the third Heisman winner in school history, and first receiver to capture the honor for Alabama.
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