30 best Alabama football players to play for Nick Saban

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13): Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13): Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Crimson Tide
DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Best Alabama football players under Nick Saban: 6. DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith is one of the most dynamic players to ever hit the Alabama football field. His greatness is fresh in our minds, playing up to this level in 2019 and 2020. He put together one of the great wide receiver seasons of all time in college football. Smith won the Heisman Trophy at the wide receiver position. The only other pure wide receiver to win the award was Tim Brown.

However, Smith’s greatness can be traced back to his freshman season in 2017. He only had eight receptions that season, but he averaged 20 yards per reception and scored three touchdowns. Things only got better from there. He increased his stats every year from there. Things hit a fever pitch for the Alabama offense in 2019, and Smith was the star about to break through the roof.

That season, Smith led all Alabama wide receivers in yards and touchdowns. This was a team with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle on the roster. He was still the star among them. He had 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns. We’ve seen this with Alabama skill players before. There was no way that Smith could top this ridiculous season, right?

Spoiler alert: not only did he top it, but he blew the previous season out of the water. In 2020, Smith had 1,856 yards receiving, 23 touchdown receptions, and he added a rushing touchdown. It wasn’t just a season of accumulating stats. He was one of the greatest big-play makers ever. He missed the Auburn game with an ankle injury and returned against Florida for the SEC Championship Game. Think that slowed him down? Nope. He had 15 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He then had 7 catches for 130 yards and three touchdowns in the college semi-finals. In the National Championship Game, he broke records against Ohio State. He had 215 yards receiving and another three touchdowns. It was one of the best performances in a big play we’ve ever seen.