Alabama Football: John Metchie is ready to be WR1

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football has a new star receiver ready to take over

Almost every Alabama football team has one star receiver. In the Nick Saban era, Julio began this tradition. It was continued with studs like Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley. Recently, the Tide have had as many as four receivers with WR1 capabilities.

With DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle declaring for the NFL Draft, it is time for a new era at receiver in Tuscaloosa, and it starts with John Metchie.

Metchie’s stardom began at the A-Day game before his freshman year, but his role was limited in 2019 due to the talent above him. In 2020, he began as WR3. Once Jaylen Waddle went down with an injury, Metchie stepped up as the second option in the Tide’s offense. While Smith received the lion’s share of targets, Metchie still had 6 touchdowns and almost 1000 yards. 

This is great, but it is a lot tougher to be the top receiver on the depth chart. Metchie benefited from practically no double-teaming and lax coverage due to the other weapons on the field. Defenses were either doubling Smith or stacking the box to stop Najee Harris. He will now be the top option, so the defensive game plan will focus on stopping him.

Still, he is ready for the challenge. Metchie has the speed to break free downfield. He can make contested catches. His footwork is not on the same level as Jerry Jeudy, but he is still smooth on the line. Some might view him as undersized, but he can hold his own on the field.

Metchie has the traits necessary to be WR1, but he is also in a good situation. Alabama football will have a solid running game once again. Jahleel Billingsley will take some pressure off of the receivers with his dynamic abilities at the tight end position. While there isn’t a ton of experience at receiver, Alabama is bringing in a great recruiting class at receiver for the second straight year.

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Despite a new quarterback and the loss of a Heisman-winning wide receiver, Alabama football fans have a lot to be excited about in 2021. John Metchie is part of the reason why.