Alabama NFL Draft Prospects

Chad Johnson “f-cking loves” DeVonta Smith and believes he has the “IT” factor to be special

DeVonta Smith with a catch and run for a touchdown in Rose Bowl versus Notre Dame
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

He won the nation’s best wide receiver award, the Heisman Memorial Trophy, a Southeastern Conference Championship, and a College Football Playoff National Championship last season at the University of Alabama.

After a mesmerizing senior year, DeVonta Smith declared for the NFL Draft. When he has not been training, he’s been inking major deals such as signing with Klutch Sports Agency. A lot of people have debated and are still discussing who is the best receiver in this year’s draft class between Smith and Ja’Marr Chase. Some have taken the former Louisiana State University standout because of his size, but Chad Johnson went out of his way to endorse Smith on Twitter and show his support of him.

RELATED: Javon Baker has an opportunity to emerge in spring practice for Alabama with John Metchie limited

According to Johnson, also known as “Ocho Cinco,” Smith has the “IT” factor you cannot teach.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder dominated college football last year. He rewrote Alabama’s single-season record book for receiving yards (1,856) and touchdowns (23) while catching 117 passes. Smith led all receivers in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for catches, yards, and scores. Two of his nine 100-yard performances came with Jaylen Waddle healthy; however, the Louisiana native maximized his production when his teammate was injured. His other seven matchups where he eclipsed the century mark for receiving yards — including the games versus Auburn, LSU, Florida, Notre Dame, and Ohio State — came with Waddle sustaining and recovering from an ankle injury. Smith set records in all three postseason/playoff games for the Crimson Tide.

RELATED: Alabama Football 2021 Spring Preview: RB Brian Robinson Jr.

He set an SEC Championship record for receptions (15), tied a Rose Bowl record for touchdown catches (three), set a CFP National Championship record for catches (12), and set a CFP national title mark for touchdowns (three). Smith torched the Buckeyes for 215 receiving yards in the first half, leading Alabama to a 52-24 victory. In his All-American season, Smith would also become the Tide’s all-time career leading receiver. He concluded his tenure surpassing Amari Cooper for catches (235), receiving yards (3,965), and touchdowns (46). Smith is the SEC’s all-time career leader for yards and scores too.

Johnson, like Smith, was not the most physical receiver out of college.

A native of Miami, Fla., Johnson entered the 2001 NFL Draft at 6’1″ and 192 pounds. The former standout at Oregon State University had the footwork and route concepts to school all defensive backs. His feet, hands, and routes led to Johnson playing 12 years in the National Football League. He spent 10 seasons (2001-10) with the Cincinnati Bengals, earning six invitations to the  Pro Bowl and being a three-time first-team All-Pro. During his career, Johnson achieved seven 1,000-yard seasons at receiver.

Smith possesses the same abilities with his hands, feet, and route combinations. He has always been told he’s too small, but he still dominates the opposition. Johnson sees big things at the next level from Smith, regardless of who takes him in the draft.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Facebook Comments

To Top