Alabama Football: Slade Bolden should see increased role in 2020

(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Alabama football is going to need to see some receivers step up in 2020. One player is flying under the radar, and his name is Slade Bolden.

Alabama football had the deepest wide receiver corps last season with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle all in the mix. With half of those names now playing in the NFL, someone is going to see an increased role. Slade Bolden will certainly be in that mix.

Bolden is a redshirt sophomore out of West Monroe, Louisiana. He only caught 2 passes last season, but he still has a role in this offense. He makes a difference in special teams coverage, and he took plenty of snaps as a wildcat quarterback. He was mostly used in read option plays to convert on fourth downs, but this could be where his role increases in 2020. I could easily see Nick Saban trusting him more as he gets more reps under his belt. This year, a snap to Bolden took a snap away from Tua. With the quarterback position under more question, it would not shock me at all if he got some wildcat snaps to switch things up on some drives.

The one aspect to Bolden’s game that could be utilized is his arm. What makes his read option so dangerous is that it is always secretly a triple threat. He will almost always run for the first down, but he has the arm to extend the play. In fact, his arm talent is more than that. After all, he was a quarterback in high school. I’m sure there will be multiple deep ball trick plays that involve Bolden throwing the ball in the playbook next season.

All of these things add to Bolden’s game, but he’s a receiver first and foremost. His primary trait is speed, so he will fit into Alabama’s offense nicely.

There are plenty of wide receivers waiting for their opportunity to make an impact in 2020. He will be competing with John Metchie, Tyrell Shavers, and three freshmen for reps, and there is only one starting role available. Even if Bolden is not the official starter for Alabama football, I like him in the rotation at receiver.

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If you put Slade Bolden on the field, all I know is that the defensive coordinator should be nervous. He might make the simple play for the first down, but he could also be involved in some trick play on a deep ball.