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DeVonta Smith Does It Again

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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In a storied season that was absolutely unbelievable, Smith's grand finale was almost unrealistic.

There has never been a playmaker quite like DeVonta Smith.

The Heisman winner just had one of the greatest performances in national championship game history, leading Alabama to yet another title in claiming his second. Three years after his walk-off reception against Georgia, arguably the most iconic catch the game has ever seen, Smith set a new big stage standard against Ohio State. He needed only a half to do it. Somehow, Smith caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns over the first two quarters alone. Both were championship game records.

Smith came back for a senior season with more work to do. That final year came with 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns, a rushing score, a punt return for a touchdown, the most receiving yards in a single season in the SEC, the most receiving touchdowns in a single season in the SEC, the most receiving yards in a career in the SEC, the most receiving touchdowns in a career in the SEC, the Heisman Trophy, the Biletnikoff Award, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Paul Hornung Award, AP College Football Player of the Year honors, unanimous All-American recognition and a national championship with a MVP.  

In a storied season that was absolutely unbelievable, Smith's grand finale was almost unrealistic. Before Monday night, just two players this millennium, perhaps longer, perhaps ever, had recorded a bowl game performance with at least 12 catches, 215 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns; Smith did that, in the national championship game, in the first two quarters alone. He was simply unstoppable, outgaining and outscoring the entire Ohio State offense in the first half. All of Smith's three touchdowns came in the second period.

Unfortunately, a hand injury ended Smith's night early in the third quarter. In just half an outing, however, he was able to have one of the greatest championship game performances of all-time. Smith was able to return to the field midway through the fourth quarter and reflect on his greatness while celebrating another national title. Even on the sidelines, Smith remained directly in the spotlight, a distinction he consistently earned.     

Arguably still his signature showing despite the time missed, the big plays on the big stage were simply more of the same for Smith. He had 167 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia, 231 yards and three scores at defending champion LSU, 15 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the SEC Championship Game versus Florida and three more scores in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Notre Dame. All of this came well after Smith changed the game was a true freshman. On Monday night, Smith was at his absolute best. 

Smith's remarkable three-game postseason, which was really two and a half games, came with 34 catches for 529 yards and eight touchdowns. He had a year's worth of production in less than a month's worth of play.

It was a season for the ages for Smith, the greatest of all-time. He wasn't just the best player on the field Monday, he was one of college football's best players ever.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports