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Nick Saban Defends DeVonta Smith's Size: "He really plays this game really, really well"

Saban expressed his thoughts about Smith's weight amidst concerns that the receiver will not be able to perform at the NFL level

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football coach Nick Saban brought down the hammer regarding his opinions of wide receiver DeVonta Smith's size.

Smith won both the Heisman Trophy and the Biletnikoff Award for being the nation's top wide receiver for the 2020 season. Despite being widely considered as one of this draft class' top wide receiver prospects, Smith has undergone much criticism about his size.

Measuring in at 6-1 and reportedly weighing 170 pounds, Smith's size has been a concern expressed by both media and NFL scouts. However, Smith has overcome his size by providing some of the most dynamic play at the wide receiver position in recent memory.

During Monday's meeting with the media, Saban expressed his opinion of Smith's size to critics.

"I would first off have to say that I think his performance speaks for itself," Saban said. "I'll be honest with you, when we recruited DeVonta Smith he weighed 159 pounds. I wished he was bigger. And now he weighs 170 pounds and I think people at the next level are probably saying 'I wish he was bigger.' But saying all that to say this: there are bigger people who don't perform anywhere near how he performs. There are people that are bigger than him that don't have the competitive spirit that he has nor the competitive toughness. 

Smith opted out of weighing in at the Senior Bowl due to him still recovering from a hand injury that required surgery. Over the months since the Crimson Tide won its 18th national championship in Miami, Smith has repeatedly shied away from reporting his weight. It is clearly a matter that has him concerned despite his accolades from his time at Alabama.

To Saban, however, the topic is a non-issue.

"Tell me how many receivers are tougher than he is — that block better, that play more physical than he does — so I think maybe there's a time when you say 'This guy really overcomes the fact that he's not the biggest guy in the world and he really plays this game really, really well,'" Saban said.

"I don't think anybody can argue that fact."