After losing three safeties to 2023 NFL Draft entry, position battles in the secondary are wide open for Alabama Football this offseason.
There are several players that are popular names amongst the safety competitions, including true freshman Caleb Downs, seniors Malachi Moore and Kristian Story, and recent transfer addition Jaylen Key.
However, there is one dark horse candidate that should not be overlooked. Junior safety DeVonta Smith enters his third season in the Alabama Football program, and looks to make a legitimate push for a starting role this year.
The first thing most college football fans will notice about Smith is that he shares his name with Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
The elder Smith won a Heisman at Alabama and is one of the beloved players to come through the program in recent memory, setting a near-impossible bar for his namesake. The younger DeVonta Smith committed to Alabama on the heels of Smitty’s historic 2020 season as a 4-star recruit in the class of 2021.
Obviously, it is futile to make comparisons between the two players. Still, the connection between them will likely always be referenced, even though they play on opposite sides of the ball.
In 2023, safety DeVonta Smith hopes to establish himself as a contributor on the Bama defense and begin to carve out his own legacy in Tuscaloosa. Smith has appeared in 19 career games through his first two seasons, primarily serving on special teams.
Could Smith work his way into a prominent role within an Alabama secondary that is suddenly feeling a little crowded? Given his two years of experience within the program, he has an advantage over some of his peers, although the playing field may have been leveled with the introduction of new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
Still, with very little returning production at any of the safety spots, Smith has as good a chance as anybody to establish himself.