SEC Media Days are upon us, and the Alabama Crimson Tide is making headlines before Nick Saban has even stepped up to the podium.

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Derek Stingley Jr., the junior corner from LSU, spoke praises for Devonta Smith, Alabama’s latest Heisman winner.

“He’s a great player. He taught me a lot, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in the league,” Stingley Jr. said.

The one-on-one battle between the defensive back and the Crimson Tide receiver was one of the most anticipated storylines surrounding the last two Alabama-LSU games.

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While usually, Stingley Jr. can be vocal about his skills and coverage, Smith performed well in the games against the “Bayou Bengals.”

The 2019 edition of the game, which featured intensive national coverage, including former President Donald Trump attending the game, ended in a shootout LSU victory. Regardless of the result, Smith, guarded by Stingley Jr., finished with seven receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Stingley Jr. only recorded one tackle.

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In 2020’s matchup, Alabama rolled over the Tigers after the game got postponed earlier in the season. The Crimson Tide took down LSU 55-17, and Smith once again had a dominant performance. Less than a month before he won the Heisman Trophy, Smith posterized Stingley Jr. when he made a circus catch in the endzone to extend Alabama’s lead. He finished the night with eight receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

Since then, Smith has moved on to the NFL, and Stingley Jr. is expected to be one of the most dominant defensive backs in the country.

Stingley Jr. and the Tigers will open the season in the Rose Bowl on September 4 when they take on the UCLA Bruins. The defensive back will get his shot at redemption against the Crimson Tide when LSU travels to Tuscaloosa on November 6.

 

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