Heisman Winner DeVonta Smith on Draft Prep, NFL Idols and His “Madden” Rating Expectations
The former Alabama gamebreaker was just the fourth wide receiver in history to win the Heisman
The last time we saw Heisman winner DeVonta Smith on the national stage, he was torching Ohio State for 215 yards and three touchdowns as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 52-24 win over the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium.
Smith, who finished with that eye-opening stat line despite not playing in the second half of Alabama’s blowout win after dislocating his finger, will be back in the national spotlight on Thursday night at the NFL Draft in Cleveland, where he is almost certain to be selected with an early first-round pick.
The fourth wide receiver in history to win the Heisman after finishing his senior season with 1,856 yards receiving and 23 TDs, Smith recognized the need to be proactive about taking care of his body during his time at Alabama. That being the case, the 22-year-old, who reportedly weighed in at 166 pounds at the NFL’s medical checkup in Indianapolis earlier this month, has signed on as the newest athlete ambassador for booming tech wellness company Therabody, whose products we have written about extensively.
As part of the training he is doing with former wideout Yo Murphy ahead of the draft, Smith has been prioritizing recovery to keep his body ready for playing football on a daily basis as well as to diminish soreness and muscle fatigue.
“I’ve been training this past year and putting a lot of work in to grow my game and keep getting better,” Smith tells InsideHook. “I’ve been using Theragun since I was introduced to it by the trainers at Alabama. It’s become part of my daily routine before and after workouts and games to warm up and recover and also on rest days to help me unwind.”
Another thing Smith has been doing to help himself unwind is playing video games, specifically Madden NFL 20. Though he isn’t in the game yet, Smith does have some preferred players. “All my teammates from Alabama that are in the league now,” he says. “It’s important to support the Tide.”
Which isn’t to say Smith doesn’t want to see himself in the game in the near future: “I’m definitely looking forward to having a Madden rating once I’m in the league,” he says. “I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I already know it’s not high enough.”
Clearly confident in his abilities (and why shouldn’t be he be?), Smith mentions the best of the best when discussing wide receivers past and present he looks up to.
“I’ve always been a fan of Jerry Rice,” he says. “He’s the greatest in NFL history and an absolute legend in the game. I’ve always studied the way he used his speed to overmatch defenders. He was also always about winning, and winning as a team, which is something I really look up to him for. Aside from Jerry Rice, I also loved watching Randy Moss. He had no weaknesses in his game and nobody had a chance guarding him. He was an absolute game-changer. In the league currently, Keenan Allen. My game is similar to his.”
And though he’s talking before the draft, Smith plans on letting that game speak for itself in the NFL.
“I think it is more about what I do, not what I say,” he says. “The hard work I put into the game will speak for itself in how much I care about my team and winning as a team. Success as a team is what it is all about. So, I can’t wait to hit the ground running and have a successful season. I’m just excited about what’s ahead for so many reasons. I am going to be in a new city with a new team, and even though there are a lot of unknowns it’s the most exciting time of my life. I can’t wait for the work ahead.”
But before the work comes Thursday’s draft. “I’m honestly just excited to have the opportunity to share this moment with my family,” Smith says. “I’m sure we’ll go out to a nice dinner afterwards, but the most important thing is that I’ll be with my family during this exciting time in my career. “
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