Matt Leinart knows the kind of pressure DeVonta Smith is under as he prepares to play for a national championship after being named the Heisman Trophy winner.
Only a few people on the planet know what it’s like to compete for a national title after being named the most outstanding player in college football.
Matt Leinart faced that pressure when he battled Oklahoma following his 2004 Heisman Trophy victory. Alabama’s DeVonta Smith is going to join the club on Monday.
While it might be a worry for some, Leinart is confident Smith has the temperament to make sure it doesn’t negatively impact his play.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) January 8, 2021
“Judging by his personality, his humility, this will not affect him. He’s going to go out there. He’s going to be a problem for Ohio State’s defense. He’s been a problem for every defense he’s faced this year,” Leinart said on FS1’s CFP national title preview show. “I don’t expect him to carry any added weight or any added pressure. He’s got a great head on his shoulders. He’s a great talent and a great young man.”
DeVonta Smith will look to walk in Matt Leinart’s shoes
Leinart successfully managed to navigate the so-called “Heisman Trophy curse” when his USC Trojans blew out Oklahoma in the 2005 BCS national title game.
Smith needs to channel the same competitive fire that fueled Leinart to an explosive, title-winning performance.
The big difference for Smith is how new his Heisman Trophy-winner status is. Leinart won the award in early December with nearly a month for the novelty to wear off before he played in the Orange Bowl. Smith has less than a week to process the life-changing honor.