La Salle Coach Shares Thoughts on What Alabama is Getting With 2021 DB Devonta Smith
It has been a stellar week so far, for the University of Alabama football program on the recruiting trail with the additions of 2021 three-star defensive back Devonta Smith and four-star defensive end Dallas Turner.
Smith announced his decision this past Monday night to roll with the Crimson Tide and Bama Central caught up with La Salle High School coach, Pat McLaughlin, to get his thoughts on what the Cincinnati, Ohio native is bringing to Tuscaloosa.
"Alabama is getting a great kid off the field," McLaughlin said. "He is really good in the classroom. A hard-worker. A leader. Someone who puts the team above themselves. He can play multiple positions. He'll play corner, safety, receiver, and return kicks for us. So he is very versatile. He is a play maker every time he gets on the field."
Originally an Ohio State commit, it did not take Smith long to figure out what was next for him, when he de-committed from the Buckeyes on June 25. McLaughlin says the COVID-19 pandemic has affected things greatly, but feels confident that the six-foot-one, 185 pound corner has ended up at the perfect place for him.
"I think he has handled the recruitment really well," McLaughlin said. "I think these guys in the 2021 class are at a disadvantage because they have not been able to take visits. Everything has been virtual up until this point. It took longer for the relationship to build with Alabama because of that, but I do think he is at the right place for him."
At La Salle, Smith has talent all around him, especially in the defensive backfield with three-star safety Jaylen Johnson, who is an Ohio State commit, three-star corner Iesa Jarmon, a Cincinnati Bearcat pledge, and three-star corner Jaymar Mundy.
"All of our secondary this year is going to play Division 1," McLaughlin said. "We kind of knew pretty early on that it was a special group. Devonta just kept learning and growing and, even as a freshman, you could see he was going to be a special player."
With his decision out of the way, Smith will look to build off of a 2019 campaign that saw 72 tackles, five interceptions, and two forced fumbles. McLaughlin noted that his leadership capability might be the best attribute of his game.
"We are expecting him to be a leader and do the same things he has been doing," McLaughlin said. "As a junior last year, he was elected team captain by his peers. He really began to excel in that role, and not that he was not a good leader before, he just became more vocal. He held his teammates accountable. He has a lot of eyes on him now, and I think he is going to have a great senior season."