When the first round of the 2021 draft gets underway in under two weeks, wide receiver DeVonta Smith likely won’t have to wait long to hear his name called.
The Heisman Trophy winner is widely projected to be a top 10 pick after catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards with 23 touchdowns. He also ran in a TD and returned a kick for a score in 2020.
If there’s been any knock on Smith, it’s been his size. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has dismissed those concerns, saying Smith’s performance speaks for itself.
Smith, who says he weighs 170 pounds at 6-foot-1, feels that way now, too. But that wasn’t always the case.
During an interview with Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion, Smith said he was doing 100 pushups a day in high school in an effort to get bigger.
“In high school I used to feel some type of way when people would tell me that [I was small],” Smith said. “But now, I really don’t care. If somebody says that, I’m just gonna look at them and laugh. I mean, it is what it is. At the end of the day, I know that when I get on the field and line up, I’ll do what I’ve gotta do.”
Smith noted that in some ways he’s been able to take advantage of defensive backs underestimating him.
“I feel like some people approach it [thinking], ‘Oh he’s too little, so it ain’t much I’ve gotta do,'” Smith said. “But then when we get out there, it’s a whole different story. It’s not what they expected. So now it’s like, they’ve gotta react to me.”
As fast and explosive as Smith is, there’s every reason to expect his play will translate to the game’s highest level.