Alabama superstar DeVonta Smith posted one of the greatest wide receiver seasons in the history of college football in 2020. In 13 games, he caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns, en route to the Heisman Trophy and national championship.
At first glance, Smith doesn't jump off the page as an elite football player capable of taking that type of beating, but 117 catches in an all-SEC season, plus two College Football Playoff games, speaks for itself. Even with that production, his very slender 175-pound frame has raised questions about how he'll react to facing NFL defenses.
In a new interview with Bleacher Report's Master Tesfatsion, he said that comments about his size bothered him in high school, to the point where he used to do push-ups whenever he had a spare moment, even in class.
"Just throughout the day, I'd be in class and drop down and do some... Just trying to get bigger, just knowing that everybody is looking at me like 'Oh, he's small,' so it was just like, doing some push-ups here and there isn't going to hurt you."
He's moved past it though. Now, he thinks his size actually lulls defenders into a false sense of security, which he immediately exploits with his incredible speed and route running.
"In high school I used to feel some type of way when people tell me that, but nah, I don't really care. I mean, somebody say that, I'm gonna look at them and laugh. But I mean, it is what it is. At the end of the day I know that when I get on the field and I line up, I'm gonna do what I gotta do.
"I feel that some people approach it like, 'Oh he's too little, so like, it ain't much I gotta do. But then we get out there, it's a whole different story, it's not what they expected. So now it's like, they gotta react to me."
That has certainly been the case at Alabama, where he led the Crimson Tide in receiving and touchdowns in back-to-back years, despite playing with the likes of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle. DeVonta Smith still has some doubters, largely due to his size, but betting against him at the next level doesn't seem wise at all.