DeVonta Smith Named AWSA Amateur Athlete of the Year
Even after a legendary, record-setting career at Alabama, the accolades continue to pour in for DeVonta Smith.
Smith, who was taken in the first round of this year's draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, was named the 2020 Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Smith becomes the seventh Alabama player to take home the award in the Saban era, joining a cast of former Crimson Tide stars, many of which are current NFL stars. Mark Ingram won the award in 2009, kicking the trend off, and Trent Richardson took it home in 2011. Then, starting in 2014, the Crimson Tide took home four straight with Amari Cooper, Derrick Henry, Jonathan Allen and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
After a two-year hiatus in which Auburn's Casey Mize and Derrick Brown took home the honors, the award is returning to an Alabama legend.
Smith joined the Crimson Tide in 2017 as a four-star wide receiver out of Amite City, LA, and instantly found his way onto the field, seeing time in eight games his freshman season, and catching possibly the most memorable pass in Alabama history to secure a national championship win over Georgia. In his sophomore year, Smith began finding his stride, seeing time in 13 games and racking up nearly 700 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
2019, Smith's junior season, was his breakout year. The junior receiver hauled in 68 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading the team in both categories and outperforming names like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs in the process.
A decision to return for his senior season meant Smith would finally have a chance to shine outside of Jeudy and Ruggs and he took complete advantage of it. Smith shattered school, conference, and NCAA records en route to a Heisman trophy and National Championship blowout victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes, further cementing his status as a premier receiver in the 2021 Draft.
The Eagles selected the Alabama receiver with the 10th overall pick, securing at least some help for their young quarterback. Early reports from minicamp and OTAs seem to indicate strong showings from Smith, who has been paired up with another former Crimson Tide player in Jalen Hurts. The Eagles picked an absolute star in Smith, and he is likely already one of the team's top options at receiver, if not, the top option. After a brutal last few seasons in Philly, Smith should work to bring a breath of fresh air to an otherwise stale offense.