DeVonta Smith shares origin story of his clutch gene


Andy Weidl really learned about DeVonta Smith at the same time as the rest of us.

On the biggest stage.

Just a few months before he was promoted to Eagles director of player personnel, Weidl was in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for National Championship Game back in 2018 when a relatively unknown freshman caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

With the Crimson Tide down 23-20, Tua Tagovoila dropped back on 2nd-and-26 from the 41-yard line and threw a dagger down the left sideline to a streaking Smith for the game-winner. It was just Smith’s eighth catch of his rookie season.

But he was ready.

“I think that was just a tell tale sign, it foreshadowed what was to come in his career,” Weidl said on the Marks & Reese show on 94WIP earlier this week. “The big plays, the big moments that he showed up for his team.”

Maybe it was a surprise for the college football world that Smith was able to make a clutch play in the National Championship Game as a freshman, but it probably didn’t surprise those who knew him best. These are the moments Smith thinks he’s built for.

On the latest Takeoff with John Clark podcast, Smith shared the origin story of his clutch genes:

“I’ve been doing this all my life, no matter what the situation is, basketball, football. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I want to be in that moment,” Smith said. “The one time that I did kind of like shy away from it, one of my teammates, actually my best friend, we played basketball together. Playoff game, we lost by two. Last seconds, I passed the ball to somebody for an open jumper. They missed it. Right after the game, he came to me and he was like, ‘You know that’s your moment.’ He was like, ‘I don’t care if they had four people on you, I still wanted you to shoot it because that’s your moment. That’s what you live for.’

“So that’s when I just felt like I’m built for this moment, this is what I’ve been doing. I’ll never shy away from it again.”

There’s no denying the production Smith had at the collegiate level. There’s a reason he won the Heisman Trophy, after all. But there’s also no questioning whether or not he’ll show up on the big stage.

Just take a look at some of his notable big-game accomplishments:

  • As a freshman, caught a 41-yard game winner in National Championship Game over Georgia in overtime. Had just seven catches all season before that.
  • In 2018, as a sophomore, Smith had 12 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown in two games in the College Football Playoff.
  • In 2019, as a junior, he had 3 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.
  • In 2020, he had 15/184/2 vs. Florida in SEC Championship game. He had 7/130/3 vs. Notre Dame in CFP semifinal. And he had 12/215/3 vs. Ohio State in National Championship Game. A week after winning Heisman, Smith set record for receptions and receiving touchdowns in a title game. He was also named Offensive MVP of the game.
  • Over the past two seasons, Smith played in 10 games against ranked opponents. In those games, he averaged 8.0 catches, 137.2 yards and 1.7 touchdown per game.

“This is a big-time player,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. “The stage is never too big for him. I can't wait for all of you guys and our fans to see him and get to know him.”

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube

Contact Us